Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Grill top paella/gumbo sort of thing

It was labor day last Monday, and what better way to celebrate working than having a BBQ and cooking all day. Even though this is still work I think I can let it slide. I also don't BBQ like everyone else. First, let me say that i don't own a BBQ, I do however own one hell of a smoker, I also own my own grill grate, don't ask. Second, Just like every other man, I think I am one hell of a BBQ/griller. But not like every other man, I actually know how to grill. I have read books and burned my fare share of stuff. I understand the fire, I know how to build one, I know how to maintain one and I know how to cook over one. Building a fire in a group can be one of the most frustrating experiences a person can ever have. Fire techniques are like Ass holes, everyone has one. An let me tell you everyone likes to share there technique weather or not asked for.

So on this day my friend Bill built and maintained the fire,and he did a fine job. He did get his fair share of abuse but the fire stayed hot and everything did get cooked. On this day I undertook something a little brave for the grill. I undertook a Paella/Gumbo sort of thing. It all started in a snobby super market on the way to Hog Island Oysters(where we had the BBQ). I wanted to cook something that stayed with the seafood theme of oysters, but would feed a lot of people. So i grabbed some shell-on-shrimp next I made my way down and got some Calibres sausage(I don't know if this is a real sausage or just a name the store came up with). I picked some up some pre-made Spanish rice from the Deli counter. Next I wanted canned tomatoes and clam juice but they where both way to pricey for me to buy in this boutique super market. So I settled on a large can of Manhattan clam chowder. i figured the tomato-fish base would have to substitute. A friend grabbed a large red pepper and some beer and that was that or so I thought. As I continued the 1.5 hour drive up to Hog Island I had a hunch that no one brought charcoal so we made one more quick stop in Point Reyes station. I ran into the small store and gave it a once over and to my surprise they a few extra things I needed... and It was cheap! I got three chicken legs and thighs for just over $2.00 an onion and a box of Zateran's crab boil all this and a bag of charcoal for under 8 dollars.

Skip ahead two hours and the Grill is on and ready to go. I diced up the onion and read pepper and put it in a disposable chaffing dish and that dish went on the grill. I also but the sausages on the grill to Firm up a little so I could slice them later. I let that cook for a while until the onions just began to brown then I threw the sausages and a little Pacifico beer in the pan and covered it. Meanwhile I put the chicken legs and thighs on the grill, skin side down, and let them cook for a while. After flipping them a couple of times I pulled them off and along with the Grab boil spice and the Manhattan clam chowder added the chicken to the chaffing dish. I let that come to a boil then added the sausage , a pound of shrimp and then covered the whole thing with the rice a few slices of lemon and some sprigs of parsley I let the whole thing cook until the shrimp was just done. I pulled the dish off and shredded the chicken into the dish.

I have to say I thought I was going home with pounds of this stuff. Everyone was full and the weather was getting bad, but much to my surprise the entire thing got eaten. It was such a mish-mash of stuff thrown into a pot I was actually surprised it turned out well. But hey i guess you can't go to wrong with grilling on a bay, in the sun, on labor day.


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