Grill like the pros at Home
Set against the backdrop of a picturesque sunset or a carefree weekend in the company of family and friends, there's something special about grilling in the summertime. Erin and I were pleasantly reminded of this recently when invited to a cookout at the beautiful Salisbury, MD home of Mike and Jill Nichols.
At their residence carved along the breathtaking banks of the Wicomico River, the Nichol's graciously entertained us and an intimate gathering of dear friends who all helped to prepare and cook various aspects of the evening’s feast as if we were at their home. This was to be a memorable evening that celebrated camaraderie, the arrival of summer and the versatility of the grill.
On this night, the menu, comprised of items such as a Caprese tomato and mozzarella salad, a pineapple boat marinated in butter, brown sugar and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, a tuna loin encrusted with breadcrumbs, pistachios and black pepper, as well as peaches and halved bananas topped with vanilla ice cream and brown sugar served over slices of pound cake, for starters, was perfectly prepared in its entirely on two Weber grills.
"The grill is not just for chicken and burgers anymore," said Mike Schneider, owner of Pemberton Appliance Company, who helped coordinate the evening’s festivities. "Normally, you wouldn’t think about putting fruits and cakes on the grill, but they can accommodate just about anything you want to cook."
"You can do anything on the grill that you can do in your oven," said Derek Yobst, the regional representative for Weber Grills who manned the charcoal grill from start to finish on this night. Mike and Jill own a 6-burner Weber Summit built-in gas grill that is strategically positioned for maximum functionality in their outdoor oasis. This all stainless steel model features snap jet ignition that propels gas to the igniter and fires the grill with one turn of a knob. It also comes complete with a smoker box, infrared rotisserie and battery operated grill lights located on the handle that illuminate the grilling surface at night.
Another highlight is the unit's Flavorizer bars - a series of stainless steel grids located below the cooking surface that return added flavor to the product being cooked. "The juices that fall from the meat are going to hit those super heated bars, instantly vaporize and infuse the meat with flavor," Schneider said. The Summit also includes a self contained, removable drip tray that captures anything that falls from through grilling surface. "You just pull it out. It makes for the easiest cleaning imaginable on a grill," Derek said. "Especially if you are cooking different foods from one night to the next." The 6-burner Weber Summit Grill retails for $2,400.
Carefree weekends in the company of family and friends, there's something special about grilling in the summertime
A number of items that evening were prepared on one of Weber’s most popular grills - the Performer, which features charcoal heat with a gas ignition. "You light it, close it for 10 minutes and then use like a gas grill," Derek said of the Performer. "It gives you the convenience of gas without hassle of lighting charcoal."
The Performer is available in three colors, black, green and blue, and retails for $299. Weber sells about 1,500 of these models in Yobst’s territory every year.
"Due to the way our burner tubes run in the gas grill, and the shape of the charcoal grill, this combination gives you the ability to surround the food with heat," Derek said. "We have a porcelain coated enamel surface that reflects heat in our gas grills, which is the same as in residential ovens, that allows the heat to rise and spin inside the grill. This method allows for less BTUs, which means less gas - which is an advantage today due to the escalating prices."
Yobst also said he prefers Cowboy Lump Charcoal, which burns hotter and provides a mesquite taste to the food. "I can tell you that any food will taste better cooked on a charcoal grill than on a gas grill," Derek said. "It takes longer to warm up, but it gives you more smoke in your grill. Smoke is key to outdoor flavor. If you are not generating enough smoke, you are losing out when it comes to flavor."
All Weber grills, made continuously in Chicago since 1952, feature a limited lifetime warranty for a minimum of five years. Some parts and models are covered for as many as 10 years. In November, Weber will introduce two new models - an island grill with three fashionable components that will act as a stand-alone built-in and an electric grill capable of producing 500° of heat. Yobst expects both editions to be popular sellers on the Eastern Shore.
Original content from Coastal Style Magazine July - August 2008