wild grills middlesex county

Wild Grills Middlesex County

wild grills Middlesex countyIn the most popular version of the myth, Prometheus is chained eternally to a hill, perpetually doomed to repeat the same day over and over again as punishment for illicitly providing mankind with fire: theretofore the exclusive property of the gods.

Though the whole eagle-eating-liver thing must have been a drag, it no doubt paled in comparison to the torture he felt when the first wafts of grilled meat began floating his way, with him unable to go down from Mt. Caucasus and partake in the miracle he had set in motion. Because, as any guy knows, there is nothing (well, maybe a few things…) which gets the red blood pumping quite like the smell of a big ol’ slab of ribs, a ribeye, a burger, a turkey leg, or a juicy all-beef frank slowly sizzling over a bed of hot coals.

Although we guys have allowed ourselves to be lead astray a time or two over the interceding millennia (see needless religious rituals—the failed decades-long “George Foreman Grill” experiment and witches burning at the stake, for example), it was probably our pre-rational affinity for the sensation of charred meat which led us afoul, rather than any species of misguided ideology.

From the luau to the hibachi, from the pit to the porch, from the “assembly required,” 20-buck corner store contraption to the professional-grade BBQ smoker, the grill has become as unmistakable a symbol of guy-ness as chemical warfare. Even though the mechanics of the grilling process have changed little over the past 10,000 years, the form in which the technology is presented has undergone a drastic evolution.

Recently, we visited a handful of the more prominent grill dealers in the area in order to uncover some of the newest developments in grill technology. We found a number of interesting developments in the evolution of the grill. Chief among these is the fact that really nice grills are no longer limited to merely imbuing burgers and hotdogs with that unique grill taste.


The Fornetto Wood-Fired Smoker

At Nashville Billiards and Patio, owner Glenn Gilchrist and his associates. offer a species of one of these newfangled super-cookers: The Fornetto Wood-Fired Smoker. This multi-purpose cooking contraption, which comes in a pair of variants spanning the $1,700-$2,200 spectrum, can be used to grill, smoke and bake. “You can cook anything in it,” Gilchrist boasted.

At first glance, the formidable Fornetto—with its glossy black body and dark red trim—seems to have more in common with a steam locomotive than with an outdoor grill. Made of solid cast iron, the machine can withstand temperatures as high as 750 degrees, a necessary prerequisite for one of the features which serves to differentiate it from the average run-of-the-mill charcoal grill: the ability to bake pizzas. In fact, each of the grills we reviewed can be used as a pizza oven, which goes to show just how influential the whole urban-pizza movement has become.

"Everybody’s into the pizza oven thing. They really like it. It cooks a pizza like nobody’s business," Gilchrist said.

The Fornetto runs on charcoal, but Gilchrist advises against the use of industrial-grade briquettes, which are too often composites of whatever happened to be on the sawmill floor at the end of the day. No, the Fornetto is in its finest form when it is being heated by 100% organic lump charcoal ("from Paraguay," explained Gilchrist) which, when combined with one of the many lines of wood chips produced by the Fornetto folks, infuses whatever is being cooked with a unique smoky goodness.

The Fornetto can also be used as a smoker. With air controls on both the top and bottom of the machine (in terms of physics, these are identical to those found on any average charcoal grill), as well as a thermometer on the outside of the cooking door, the temperature can be adjusted in order to reach that "low and slow" cooking condition required for ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and the like.

Nashville Billiards and Patio, open Monday thru Saturday (cause hey, even Zeus rested on the seventh day), is located in Nashville at 827 8th Avenue South.


Kamado Joe

Ancient Japanese cooking technology meets the suburbs in the showroom of Thompson Station’s Riverbend Nurseries in the form of the "Kamado Joe," the nursery’s arsenal of state-of-the-art ceramic cook pots that share in the same multi-functional essence which has become imperative in today’s modern grill scene.

With a reinforced ceramic body and steel cooking surface, the Kamado Joe gets hotter than a contestant on a modern Japanese game show. The woodchip-and-charcoal heating process promises to deliver the happy endings that those shows notoriously lack.

"I worked in the food industry for a number of years and had become a bit jaded. But I have been very impressed by the capabilities of the Kamado Joe," explained Riverbend’s Carolyn George.

These capabilities include the ability to apply direct heat, through the single-shift fire compartment of the Kamado Joe. This is the method commonly used to grill steaks or burgers or chops or the like.

The Kamado Joe can also be manipulated to employ indirect heat, via the addition of a ceramic cooking plate. In this manner, the grill can essentially be used as an oven, as the tamper atop the frame of the grill as well as the oxygen portal below may be adjusted to reach consistent temperatures required for baking. "You can control the temperature," said George, "you just have to dicker with it a little bit. It is not an exact science, and it takes a little practice. But once you get it down, you are in for a real treat."

The 100% natural wood charcoal allows for a unique smoky flavor which you cannot get from the bag of coals down at your local store. Natural charcoal contains none of the filler found in commercial charcoal, which means that none of that chemically-questionable stuff which binds together the disparate elements found in industrial-strength charcoal make their way into the food.

"The incredibly enhanced flavor which comes from the natural charcoal is the principal advantage of the Kamado Joe. I generally cook either beef or pork on the Kamado, and I never even have to use salt and pepper," explained George, who oversees the promotion of a line of Kamado Joes which run from $899 to $1,429.


The Big Green Egg

The Nashville Hearth and Grill Shop, located at 535 West Thompson Lane in Woodbine, is one of Nashville’s leading distributors of the quickly-becoming-iconic "Big Green Egg" (BGE) grilling apparatus. The store also sells several lines of gas grills. (But let’s be honest, gas grills are not "grills," in the man-defeats-nature kind of way. They are a rather overly-benign half measure, and should not be considered in the same breath as even the lowliest charcoal oven.)

The Big Green Egg line of outdoor grills has become the industry standard for the new wave of cross-disciplinary collier products. According to Daniel Sandlin, Certified Gas Specialist at the Thompson Lane outpost, this is due, at least in part, to the security promised to purchasers of the verdant meat machines. "The main thing is that there is a lifetime warranty on all the ceramic parts."

Then there are all the extras. "As far as accessories go, if you’ve thought of it, they offer it," said Sandlin regarding the cottage industry of customizable accoutrements which has grown up around the grill. From whole lump charcoal to extra large aprons, the BGE folks offer just about anything that the outdoor cooking enthusiast could want to compliment his grill.

All of those advantages are great, but the real key is the flavor. "I tell people who have never eaten meat cooked on a Big Green Egg that they may not be ready to take the plunge. It is such a different flavor, and the juiciness of the meat is so pronounced, that some people are taken aback when they first try it," said Sandlin regarding the Egg’s ability to induce any given meat with mouthwatering flavor and moisture.

And, if you must, there is also an accessory designed for baking cookies.

 

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wild grills middlesex county