Grilled pears and ice cream!

Grilled up pears are tasty!When it comes to dessert, I am usually not a fan. I just like dinner too much, so when that’s over all I am so full all I really want is some some quiet and a glass of good bourbon on the deck… Which I guess is why I go for dessert that are easy to make. This one was super easy, but the feedback from my dinner guests was awesome, so here – you can have it too. This dessert is very little work if you prep the glaze beforehand, which is perfect, because spending your time by the grill while everyone else is chilling after dinner is never fun!

What you need for 4 people:
4-6 pears, nice and ripe, but still firm
A box of quality vanilla ice cream
0.5 cup of good bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
A couple cinnamon sticks
1 tsp hot chili flakes, or more, depending
0.5 cup of 100% natural maple syrup
The juice from half a lemon
3-4 tbsp of brown sugar to taste

How to make the glaze (can be made ahead):

  • Put everything except the pears in a saucepan
  • Heat it slowly and let it simmer 10-15 minutes to reduce it
  • Optional but tasty: Caramelize the sugar. This can be hard without a candy thermometer, so you might need one. Just make sure you don’t burn the sugar, because that’s not tasty.
  • Remember, this stuff will thicken when cold. Try and get a thick syrupy consistency at room temp, that will make it easier when glazing time comes

How to grill the pears:

 

  • I grilled my pears whole. That was not the best idea. What you should do and I willDSC_2047 next time; peel the pears and cut off the stem, quarter them so you can easily slice out the core
  • Grill them over direct heat first to get some beautiful sear marks
  • Place in a grill pan over indirect, pour/brush the glaze on. Turn and scoop some glaze over them every 10 minutes. I had a dome temp of about 150-160C (300-320F)
  • Mine were done after about half an hour. You want them to be soft but not mushy
  • Serve with some quality vanilla ice cream and pour the glaze over as a sauce. Tasty!
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Great winter BBQ activity: Cold-smoke some cheese on your kettle!

Ecological Brie, Camembert, some Port Salut, and some mature Cheddar, ready for the smoker.

Ecological Brie, Camembert, some Port Salut, and some mature Cheddar, ready for the smoker.

I’m a big fan of the French kitchen, and I’m also a big fan of go big or go home. And what could be more gluttonous and over the top than going with a nice plate (or cart if you have one) of cheese for dessert after a BBQ feast? You tell me. Anyhow, it’s cold here now, freezing every single day, so it’s real easy to keep the kettle low in temperatures. This makes the weather perfect for smoking some cheese, because you really don’t want it to melt all up in your kettle now, do you? This was my first go at smoking cheese, so I bought some different ones they had at the local supermarket, just to do a test. In the pic above you can see the candidates, and since most of you don’t know Norwegian, I will explain. There are two soft cheeses, both Norwegian, ecological versions of French staples Brie and Camembert. Then there’s a Norwegian version of Port Salut, and a good Mature Cheddar from England. A hot tip btw is taking a picture like this of your arrangement, so you know which cheese is which when they come back in the kitchen. Take note that the cheese will taste best if you do the smoking some time before eating. I did it the day before, and they came out great. We found the hard cheeses came out best, which makes sense since the soft ones have this protective layer on the outside. Maybe next time I’ll try slicing the soft ones lengthwise into two circular “bowls” and see if that makes them smokier. A lot of people recommend Pepper Jack and Monterey Jack cheeses, so if you can find those where you’re at – I’d go for those! Gouda should also be a good alternative.

This is what they looked like after 2 hours of cold-smoking using hickory chips

This is what they looked like after 2 hours of cold-smoking using hickory chips

What you need:

  • Cheese for smoking
  • Some lump charcoal, or briquettes
  • Smoking wood chips (I used Hickory, but Pecan or others should be great for this too)
  • Honey, maple syrup, dried fruit and some crackers could be useful for serving. For drinks I’d go with some strong, sweet Trappist style craft beer (Chimay, Rochefort), or some dessert wine.

Preparations:

  • Make a very small fire on your kettle all the way off to one side. Make it as small as possible, just enough to keep the chips smoking. As the goal here is cold-smoking, this would best be done in winter, and if the sun is shining, keep the kettle in the shade!

The setup for cold-smoking cheese

How to do it:

  • Unwrap cheese
  • Place on cold side of smoker on a clean rack
  • Make sure you keep the smoke going all the time. I smoked the cheese for about 2 hours, and it seemed about right
  • I mellowed the cheese in the fridge overnight, wrapped in plastic. Some people claim the smoke flavour will spread better through the cheese after a couple of days or even a week. Didn’t have time to test this claim yet, but if you do, let me know what you think!
  • Remember to take your cheeses out of the fridge a couple of hours before eating, fridge-cold cheese is not awesome.
  • Enjoy!

Deliciousness!

BBQ Gallery – III

Gallery

This gallery contains 18 photos.

Here it is! The third installment in my popular BBQ Gallery series. Enjoy!

Bourbon and maple syrup glazed grilled peaches

Peaches are right up there with pineapple as a great fruit to grill for dessert. I also think they work well with the taste of some good small batch bourbon, cinnamon and the sweetness of maple syrup. So here’s a quick and easy dessert suggestion that lets you exploit the rest of the heat from the charcoal after grilling dinner for your guests. This recipe will serve 8 people. Grill’em up and serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.

What you need:
8 peaches
A box of quality vanilla ice cream
0.5 cup of good bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve and it worked great)
A couple cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp ground chili flakes
0.5 cup of 100% natural maple syrup (if it says breakfast, maple flavoured syrup or anything really but 100% natural maple syrup, steer clear of it, it will be cheap corn syrup with artificial flavouring…)

How to make the glaze (can be made ahead):

  • Put 0.5 cup of good bourbon, 0.5 cup of maple syrup, 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 tbsp freshly ground chili flakes in a saucepan
  • Heat it slowly and let it simmer 10-15 minutes to reduce and get rid of some of the alcohol (so you won’t set fire to your grill)

How to grill the peaches:

  • Slice your peaches in half and take the pits out. Brush the flesh side with some of your glaze, and grill them over medium-low direct heat flesh side down to get some nice grill marks, turning 45 degrees at “halftime”
  • Flip the peaches, brush liberally with your glaze on the flesh side, grill another 10-15 minutes over indirect heat
  • Serve, with vanilla ice cream. Any leftover glaze can be used as a sauce.
  • Enjoy!