Celebrity chef, food entertainer, author, professor, product developer, entrepreneur or “Godfather of the grill” – however you refer to or interact with Chef Ted Reader, at the heart of it all is his love of everything barbecue. Mouthwatering steaks and t-shirt wrecking burgers set this chef’s soul ablaze. His passion for cooking over an open flame fueled Reader’s cookbook Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes To Grill Great Everyday Meals.
“I wanted to write a book that shared my love of cooking on a grill,” says Reader. “Whether it be from a gas grill or over hot delicious charcoal. I wanted to share recipes that make me excited. Things I do in my backyard.”
Over 135 favorite recipes are featured in Gastro Grilling, but Reader is constantly changing things up on his own grill, tweaking each dish so that nothing is ever the same twice. He believes chefs should have fun, love what they do and always have sea salt, garlic and onions on-hand in the kitchen.
After authoring over a dozen cookbooks and creating a tasty line of Ted’s World Famous BBQ sauces and seasonings, Reader is now dedicated to helping grilling beginners master the culinary barbecue arts. His instruction includes easy-to-follow recipes, simple ideas that deliver fabulous results and preaches grill-side fortitude.
“Be patient. Practice. Low in slow or hot and fast, be patient,” says Reader. “Have fun and make it tasty. It’s not how you travel the road as long as it ends up delicious!”
Reprinted from Gastro Grilling: Fired-Up Recipes to Grill Great Everyday Meals (Pintail; March 26, 2014)
Images: © Mike McColl
Recipes: © Ted Reader, 2013
I love burgers! I love ’em so much I wrote a whole book on the subject. I even went as far as securing a Guinness Book of World Records entry for the World’s Largest Commercially Available Hamburger. At that time, my record stood at 590 pounds (268 kg). For me, the quest for the ultimate burger has been lifelong. Until now! But first my story.
Years ago, I wrote a recipe for Better Butter Burgers. They were pretty darn tasty and fans have told me for years that they love that burger. Well I like it too, but I wanted it to be even better. But in order to do that, I needed to (1) grind my own meat and (2) not grill it but “stone grill” it. Even heat, buttery sizzle, no big greasy flare-ups, just nice and easy cooking on a stone. Trust me, this recipe rocks. MAKES 12
WHAT YOU NEED: Cooling rack; Cookie sheet; Meat grinder with grinding blade and 1/8-inch (3 mm) grinding plate; Grilling stone
3 lb (1.4 kg) beef chuck
2 sticks (8 oz/225 g) cold butter
Honey Mustard Onions
2 large sweet onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Drizzle of canola oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) prepared yellow mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
1 oz (30 mL) Canadian Club Small Batch
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1 tbsp (15 mL) mirin
3 tbsp (45 mL) Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
12 slices Swiss cheese (optional)
Go to your local butcher and get a few pounds of beef chuck. Unwrap the beef chuck and pat it dry with paper towels. Place beef on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet and place into the refrigerator for at least 4–6 hours (overnight is best) to allow the meat to air dry a little. This reduces the moisture in your ground meat and allows for a burger that is not too wet and sloppy.
Set up your meat grinder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cut the beef chuck into 1- to 2-inch (2.5 to 5 cm) chunks. Cut both sticks of cold butter into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes. Keep the butter cold, as it will grind more easily. Grind the beef chuck and the cubed cold butter together, alternating between a few chunks of meat and a little butter. This way the butter grinds right into the meat. When all the meat has been ground once, give it a quick stir or mix and then grind it again. Place ground meat back into the refrigerator and allow it to rest.
While the ground beef and butter mixture is resting, prepare the Honey Mustard Onions. Slice the onions and place them into a bowl. Add the garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with a little canola oil. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey and whiskey. Set aside.
Prepare the Woozy Mop. In a bowl, combine garlic, pepper, salt, mirin, Worcestershire sauce and canola oil. Stir; this should be a little slushy. Set aside.
Fire up your grill to 350–450°F (180–230°C).
Place your grilling stone directly over your fire source. The stone should sizzle when you drop a little knob of butter onto it. Be careful not to overheat the stone because it can still burn your food.
Open grill lid and drop a teaspoon (5 mL) of butter onto the hot stone. As it melts and sizzles, add the onion mixture on the stone. Using a pair of tongs, spread the onions into an even layer. Let the onions sizzle for a few minutes, then give them a stir with the tongs. Turn them so they start to brown on all sides.
Drizzle sautéed onions with the mustard mixture. Stir and season to taste with a little salt and black pepper. Set onions aside in a small bowl or a corner of the stone. Keep warm.
While the onions are sautéing, scoop the ground meat mixture into 3- to 4-oz (85 to 115 g) balls. Don’t overpack them, gently press the meat together. Drop another few cubes of butter onto the hot stone and top with 4 to 6 burgers. Using a flat, sturdy spatula, press the balls of meat to flatten. Don’t squish them too much, just a little so that they are flat on the top and thick in the middle. Stone grill butter burgers for 3–5 minutes, until the burgers are browned evenly on the bottom side. Flip the burgers over, adding a cube or two of extra butter if needed.
Baste a little Woozy Mop mixture over the top of each burger. Continue
to stone grill the burgers for 3–5 more minutes, until just cooked through and still juicy. When the burgers are almost done, toast your buns on the grill or grill stone for 1–2 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
Place burger on bun, top with sautéed Honey Mustard Onions and add your favorite burger garnishes. Some of my favorites are melted Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, thinly sliced raw jalapeño peppers and thinly sliced raw red onions.
• Do not squish or press the burgers while they are cooking. Leave them be. Every time you want to push, press, squish and/or cut the burger, go have a sip of your beer or cocktail instead. This will make for a juicier burger.
• This recipe calls for grinding your own beef. If you do not have a meat grinder readily available, you can still prepare this recipe. When using butcher- or grocery store–bought ground beef, you will need to soften the butter slightly before mixing it into the cold ground beef. This will allow for an even coating of butter on the meat. Proceed with the same cooking procedure.
To learn more about Chef Ted Reader, stop by his personal website http://tedreader.com/