We’ve flown through Fourth of July and sailed through Seafair. But everyone in Seattle knows the sun will be shining another couple of months, with sunsets that stretch clear into the late evening. And what is a better way to celebrate the back half of summer, than grilling on the rooftop of your building?
You may or may not remember that you have a handy gas grill up there, with great views and plenty of room to cook for, entertain and delight your guests. So over the next two weeks, we thought we’d provide some tips and recipes to take your barbecue past the burgers and hot dog stage and into something completely memorable.
Tips from an Expert
Before we get started with some recipes and other helpful resources, let’s get some grilling advice from an expert. Andrew Brays is the owner of Pinky’s Kitchen, one of the finest places to enjoy barbecue in the Puget Sound. Pinky’s is located in a little truck in Wallingford, but the small location packs huge flavor. Pinky’s has giant smokers where they season their meats for a long period of time, but we asked Andrew for his number one tip for using a gas grill.
“Here’s a general tip to help every beginner. Keep an eye on the “hotspots” on the grill. Inevitably most non-commercial grills have hotspots and things will cook unevenly especially, when trying to sear at high temperature. Keep an eye on them and be ready to shuffle things around to get even cooking and sears. Also, when cooking steak use a internal thermometer probe (they are cheap and easily available) if you want to really be sure you are doing rare, med rare, med and well done requests. The thermometer is also great for chicken and sausages. Pull the meat immediately as soon as it hits 165 (or less if you want rarer meat) to stop it from drying out.”
Seattle Barbecue Recipes
Next, we found some Puget Sound recipes that will make you look more like Bobby Flay than Ronald McDonald. Here are some links to some great recipes from Seattle’s famous restaurateur, Tom Douglas.
Besides his grilling tip, Andrew provided us a recipe that’s not on his menu at Pinky’s. As a native Australian, he knows a little about Shrimp on the Barbie. Here’s his authentic Australian recipe.
- 2lbs Easy-peel headless shrimp
- Jar of Mama Lils Honkin Hot Peppers
- 4 TBSP oil from the Mama Lils jar
- 1 head cilantro
- 15-20 medium to large Garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup orange juice with pulp
- 1 TSP salt (or to taste)
- 4 limes halved
- Metal or soaked wooden skewers
- To make fresh whole shrimp easy peel, simply remove heads and snip open their backs using scissors down to the tail. Clean under running water if necessary. Prepping them this way enables the marinade to permeate and the shells easy to remove when eating.
- Cut the stalks off the cilantro just under where it starts to bushel.
- Rough chop all the ingredients EXCEPT the lime in a food processor using the pulse, or fine chop by hand. You want a consistency that is a little runny and not too combined so the ingredients still stand alone. A medium to fine chop.
- Place prepped prawns in a zip lock and add the paste. Mix it around well by squeezing the bag to get the paste into all the nooks and crannies of the prawns.
- Place in fridge for 2 to 4 hours. (If you are pressed for time 1/2 hour works.)
- On a tray double skewer the prawns (don’t refer to the picture they are not single skewered). But this is VERY important because the cook time is fast and if you are dealing with hot and cold spots on your grill you want to be able to flip them and move them without them spinning. To double skewer like in the picture but you put two skewers parallel to each other through the prawn about 1/2 inch apart.
- Heat your grill to as high as it will go. You want to char the shells before the prawns are overcooked ideally. If you can’t get it hot enough for a rapid char, don’t worry. It’s more important to just pull the shrimp off before they overcook.
- Place skewers on grill. There should be a definite sizzle. Cook for two to three minutes a side depending on the prawn size. Flip them the first time when the colour has changed half way through and hopefully the shells have charred. You may need to shuffle them around. The prawns are cooked the minute the opaqueness is gone in the centre of the prawn.
- While they are cooking, liberally squeeze lime juice over them.
- When cooked, remove skewers and serve in a bowl with a bowl for shells. Grab plenty of napkins and some extra lime wedges.
Where to Get Meat
Bill the Butcher. Bill the Butcher at 3600 NE 45th St is trying to create an extremely short food chain, that is kind to animals, good for the consumer and rancher, safe for the environment and profitable for our stakeholders. They have a full range of grassfed meat for your eating pleasure.
What night on a rooftop deck with a gourmet meal would be complete without the perfect bottle of wine? Again, if you want to go a class above your typical grocery store, we suggest a trip to your neighborhood wine store where you can ask the proprietor for a selection hat will go perfectly with you menu.
Carrying an extensive selection of wines from around the world, McCarthy and Schiering/ at 6500 Ravenna specializes in Washington and Oregon wines. (Please, no Oregon wines at a pre-Husky party.) They also find small individual estates of France, Italy, Germany and Austria, and new world wines from California, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Argentina, so you may not have heard of a lot of bottles on their shelves. Plus, they have the experience to back up their claims, recognized in 1998 by Food and Wine magazine as “retailer of the year,” named one of the “50 best Wine Stores in America” by GQ magazine in 2004, and also one of the “top 10 small specialty shops featuring wines from Piedmont and Tuscany.”
Next week we’ll bring you some recipes for Specialty Cocktails from your local neighborhood bars. If you have a favorite recipe or BBQ tip to share with the community, tell us in the comments below.