As the dog days of summer fade into fun-filled fall weekends, I couldn’t be more excited for the long-awaited arrival of football season! And, whether you’re in the backyard hosting a hard-hitting “homegate” for family and friends, or parked stadium-side throwing down a tailgate fit for a rowdy crowd of the hungriest home team fans, all agree – good games require great spreads!
To kickoff this cookout I’m grilling a grid iron feast alongside my friends from Eckrich Meats, featuring their Original Skinless Smoked Sausage Ropes, because not only are they entirely gluten-free, versatile and easy to cook, but made with the perfect balance of toasty spices and all-natural flavors.
The kettle grill was loaded with a full chimney of lump charcoal, cherry and oak wood, then I charred these sausages to tender, smoky perfection. In the final moments of cooking, each sausage was brushed in one caramelized layer upon another of a sweet and tangy Carolina-style wholegrain golden mustard barbecue sauce. Stuffed in a buttered and toasted artisan brioche bun, then dressed with charred summer corn, pickled shallots, and freshly prepared kale slaw. Plated with two handfuls of crispy salt and vinegar kettle chips and served with a handcrafted, ice cold northern Michigan lager! Life definitely doesn’t get much better than this!
To be the MVP of your next homegate or tailgate, visit www.eckrich.com for this recipe and hundreds more! Also, click here to find where you can buy a variety of Eckrich products locally. -Cheers, David
p.s. I’d love for YOU to win Eckrich’s “Road to the National Championship” Sweepstakes. As the Official Smoked Sausage and Deli Meat of the College Football Playoff, Eckrich is inviting fans to enter for the chance to make a 15-yard throw for $1MM during some of the biggest football games of the season, including the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship. Visit www.eckrichfootball.com for details and to enter for a chance to WIN!
RECIPE: Carolina-Style Sausages with Charred Sweet Corn and Tangy Homemade Kale Slaw 6 Eckrich Smoked SausagesHomemade or your favorite store-bought brand of golden barbecue sauce 2-4 ears sweet corn on the cob, husk removed, par-boiled and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper 6 artisan-style brioche buns, lightly buttered 10-12 shallots, dicedHomemade or your favorite store-bought kale-based coleslaw
1. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high heat. If cooking with charcoal, ignite a full chimney of briquettes – when coals are glowing and just ashed over, dump into a pile on the bottom of the grill floor and spread out evenly. Allow the grill grates to warm for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking. 2. Lay the sausages evenly across the grill grate. With the grill lid open, char on all sides until just cooked through. In the final minutes of grilling, caramelize layer upon sweet and tangy layer of barbecue sauce over the sausages. Remove sausages from heat and set aside to cool. 3. Simultaneously, grill the par-boiled and seasoned sweet corn on all sides, rotating intermittently, until charred evenly on all sides. Set aside to cool. Then, carve the kernels from the cob and fold into the prepared coleslaw. 4. Lightly grill the brioche buns directly on the grill grates, 30-60 seconds per side. 5. Load the sausages into the buns, dress with additional barbecue sauce, shallots and coleslaw. Plate alongside your favorite flavor of fried kettle chips and serve!
After a long, hard winter, the first spring weekend in Michigan has arrived and it’s all the reason I need to get outside and fire up the barbecue! Sunshine, blue skies and the essence of smoky hardwoods in the air – outdoor cooking season has formally arrived. And, what better way to open up our backyard kitchen, then by throwing down a grate full of gorgeous Australian grassfed racks of lamb.
These beautiful hunks of lamb were frenched across the bones and scored in cross-hatch fashion through the trimmed fat cap. The lamb was then rested at room temperature for 2 hours, then seasoned in a homemade activated charcoal-coffee-garlic rub – yielding an incredible, rustic presentation, layers of brilliant texture and a unique flavor profile complimenting the mildness of the grassfed lamb.
With the grill lid open, the racks were positioned, fat cap-side down, directly over a thick bed of glowing charcoal and smoky hardwoods, searing and encrusting the exterior of the lamb for 4-6 minutes. Once encrusted, the racks were flipped bone-side down and positioned to the cooler, indirectly heated portion of the grill with the bones situated away from the heat source. Over the next 10-15 minutes, the lamb was basted in olive oil and slowly prepared to sweet, tender perfection.
Carved into chops, garnished with an aromatic parsley chimichurri and a birchwood-smoked fleur de sel, then plated for a crowd and served with two handfuls of ice cold Pure Michigan lagers! -Cheers and long live the adventure, David
Charcoal-Rubbed Australian Grassfed Rack of Lamb with Parsley Chimichurri
2racksAustralian grassfed lamb, frenched and trimmed
3tablespoonsolive oil, plus additional to baste
4tablespoonsactivated charcoal powder
2teaspoonsblack sea salt and freshly ground black peppercorn
1teaspoonfinely ground coffee beans, unflavored
Fleur de sel, to garnish
Homemade or store-bought parsley chimichurri, to garnish
Remove lamb from refrigeration up to two hours prior to grilling and rest on the counter, elevating to near room temperature. 30 minutes before laying lamb to flame, preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, score the fat cap in crosshatch-fashion, brush entirety of the rack with olive oil, then generously season with charcoal, salt and pepper, coffee and garlic powder.
Position lamb fat-side down over direct heat and with the grill lid open sear until nicely charred. Flip rack to bone-side down and move lamb over to indirectly heated portion of the grill. Close the grill lid and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, basting intermittently with olive oil, until internal temperature reads 125-130F. Remove lamb from heat, transfer to a cutting board and rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
Slice the racks into individual chops and dress with parsley chimichurri. Plate for a crowd alongside and serve with an ice cold lager.
If this isn’t Heaven, it’s certainly somewhere close. What an incredible weekend hunting absolutely enormous King Salmon upon the deep blue, icy waters of Lake Michigan. And, by the grace of our Good Lord, with a bit of luck, an overabundance of patience and a degree of perseverance, our bounty was great!!
This freshly-harvested 22-pound wild salmon was butterflied with it’s pin bones removed, then seasoned with minced chilies, smoked paprika, roasted garlic, wildflower honey, fresh citrus and red onion, then finished with a splash of robust olive oil, shredded white crab claw meat, a dusting of smoked fluer de sel, and an aromatic selection of seasonal herbs from our backyard garden.
Positioned skin-side down directly atop the chef-grade, stainless steel grates of my All-American Twin Eagles Grill, this breathtaking beast covered all 42″ of grilling surface! The grill’s burners were dialed within 10% of their lowest setting in each cooking zone, elevating the grilling chamber to a steady 225F. Because this grill system was innovatively-designed to deliver both direct and radiant heat with precision and consistency from corner-to-corner and wall-to-wall, I was able to ensure from teeth to tail, this fish was prepared to tender, flaky perfection!
After gently removing the whole fish from the grill and resting for 15 minutes, the thick fillets were sliced and served over a rustic bed of Mediterranean-style ancient grains and paired alongside a beautiful glass of northern Michigan cabernet sauvignon. Life just doesn’t get much better than fishing and cooking out with family and friends!! -Cheers and long live the adventure, David
Fresh chives and parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish
Kosher salt and ground black peppercorn, to taste
Prepare salmon, by cleaning, scaling and butterflying the freshly-harvested fish. Pat dry the meat and skin with paper towel, then rub the meat olive oil, chili, paprika, garlic, cayenne, salt, freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of honey. Rest on the counter until near room temperature. 15 minutes prior to cooking, preheat the grill to low (225-250F).
Place the salmon skin-side down directly atop the grill grates. Toss the slices of onion and fennel in olive oil and dress dress the fish, followed by lemon and orange, then top with shredded crab meat. Season additionally with salt and pepper. Close the grill lid, basting intermittently with olive oil, until the internal temperature in the fattest part of the fillet reaches 135F, approx 45 minutes.
Remove salmon from the grill grates and rest under a tin foil tent for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs, season additionally to taste, then plate in 6-8oz portions atop a rustic bed of cous cous and ancient grains. Pair with a beautiful cabernet sauvignon and serve.
The crown jewel of American summer cookouts – heirloom whole chicken, brined, stuffed with aromatics and barbecued upright over a… beer can. That’s right, a beer can!! These beautiful birds are not only show-stoppers atop the grill grates, but if simply prepared following the easy-breezy instruction below, I guarantee juicy, succulent and smoky chicken, every single time!
These chickens were marinated overnight in a brine bath of lager beer, brown sugar and kosher salt. Hours before hitting the grill, the chickens were removed from the brine, rinsed, patted dry with paper towel, rested upon the counter until near room temperature, then rubbed in a a robust olive oil and bold blend of kosher salt, ground black peppercorn and toasted cumin seeds, dried chilies, roasted garlic and onion, smoked paprika, brown sugar, lemon zest and a garden of minced fresh herbs.
Perched comfortably over a craft-brewed Belgian-style Ale, both birds were rested carefully upon the indirectly-heated grill grates of my Twin Eagles Grill, then slowly barbecued and intermittently basted in browned butter until sweet and savory, tender perfection. This Twin Eagles Grill is perfect for beer can chicken because of it’s broad capacity to cook low and slow or high and hot. Also, it’s ultra-efficient briquette-cooking system distributes heat consistently and evenly from side to side and wall to wall, while the below-grate burner dividers allow for control of heat distribution across multiple cooking zones. And, that’s a recipe for success!
These beer can birds were rested after cooking for 15 minutes, carved in half, served with the crispy skin on, over skewers of charred seasonal vegetables and all washed down with an ice cold and golden Pure Michigan brew. Life just doesn’t get much better. -Cheers, David
24-5 poundwhole chickens, trimmed and giblets removed
Your favorite homemade or store-bought BBQ rub
Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
Fresh parsley and thyme, to garnish
Zest of 2 lemons
In a large heavy-bottom pot bring water, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and allow the water to cool to room temperature. Immerse chicken in the cooled water, pour in beer, cover and refrigerate for 8, up to overnight. Remove chicken from brine at least 3 hours prior to cooking, rinse under cold water and pat entirely dry with paper towel. Discard brine. Place chicken uncovered back in the refrigerator for 1 hour to further dry and tighten the skin.
Remove chicken from refrigerator 2 hours prior to grilling and rest on the counter to begin returning the bird to room temperature. Meanwhile, drizzle the chicken with olive oil inside and out, then massage a liberal amount of dry rub, salt and peppercorn into all portions of the chicken. Open a room temperature beer, drink (or discard) half the contents, then slide the whole chicken onto the beer can.
Preheat the grill to low-medium heat and simply place the beer can-stuffed chicken over the coolest, indirectly-heated grill grates – balancing the bird upright upon the beer can and it’s 2 legs. Slowly roast the chicken for 60-90 minutes, intermittently rotating and basting the bird every 30 minutes with browned butter, until internal temperature in the dark thigh meat reaches 165F and juices run clear.
Carefully remove the chicken from the grill (attentive to the scolding metal beer can positioned inside the chicken) and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with tin foil and rest for 15-20 minutes before discarding the beer. Carve in serving portions, season additionally to taste, garnish with lemon zest and fresh herbs, then plate alongside seasonal vegetables and an ice cold craft brew.
These beautiful steaks were rubbed in a robust blend of seasonal herbs, ground dried chilies and toasted spices, then marinated over night in an airtight container to further infuse and amplify flavor. Before cooking, the steaks were rested at room temperature for 20 minutes, then laid directly to flame, searing for 5-6 minutes per side at 750°F of direct heat atop my Twin Eagles Grill, rotating and flipping the meat intermittently, until 125°F internal temperature.
Once removed from the heat, these hunks of beef were rested uncovered for 10 minutes allowing the muscle fibers to reconstitute and juices to redistribute throughout the steak. Carved on a bias across the grain and finished with a dusting of fluer de sel, these cuts of flank were dressed with a homemade heirloom tomato-wild strawberry salsa al fresco and paired with an array of charred seasonal vegetables, then all washed down with two handfuls of golden, ice cold Pure Michigan lagers. -Cheers, David
Toast first four spices over medium heat in a dry, heavy-bottom skillet. Prepare until just golden brown in color and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Add all spices into a food processor, coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. Work the spices down to a coarse powder. Drizzle in olive oil and seaon to taste with kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn. Use immediately, or reserve in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
Ancho Chili and Toasted Spice Rubbed Australian Grassfed Flank Steaks
3-4Australian Grassfed Flank Steaks
Ancho Chili and Toasted Spice Rub (or your favorite homemade steak rub)
Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
Freshly chopped cilantro and parsley, to garnish
Trim excess fat from steaks, rinse meat in cold water, and pat dry. Rest on counter until near room temperature. Massage with Ancho Chili and Toasted Spice Rub. Package in a resealable air-tight plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
Remove steak from refrigeration, discard plastic bag and excess liquid. Rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat grill to high heat. With grill lid remaining open, lay steaks over hottest grill grates and sear 5-6 minutes per side, then begin flipping and turning intermittently to beautifully char the exterior and prepare steaks to 125F internal temperature. Remove from heat and immediately rest over a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
To plate, slice the steak in 1/2" cuts across the grain and on a bias. Season additionally to taste and dress with a homemade heirloom tomato and wild strawberry salsa al fresco. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve.
David Olson is a nationally-recognized American Culinary Federation (ACF) Chef, television personality and social network influencer, award-winning recipe developer, live fire grill master, international adventurer, and the creator behind, “LiveFire Republic”…
Simply incredible!! Freshly harvested Copper River Coho Salmon. Rubbed in an earthy blend of chipotle peppers and sweet paprika, toasted cumin, roasted garlic and onion, pink peppercorn and an aromatic garden of finely chopped herbs. Smoked to flaky, tender perfection, then caramelized in a blend of brown sugar and wildflower honey, and finished with the zest of meyer lemon and orange. Best served alongside family, two handfuls of ice cold amber ale and a beautiful Michigan sunset!! -Cheers, David