Earlier this month, tens of thousands of thirsty Canadians descended on Toronto’s CNE fairgrounds for the 2012 Festival of Beer (see pics below). While quenching their thirst (and beating the heat) was top priority for some, eating was definitely on the agenda as well. The well-equipped Napoleon Grilling Tent featured appearances from some of Toronto’s top chefs. Ted Reader, the self-proclaimed BBQ guru was on hand to demo an appetizer and main course to a slightly inebriated audience of eager home cooks. We caught up with Ted and grilled him for a couple of tips for your next BBQ.
1. Clean your grill. A clean grill is a healthy grill (and it gets hotter!)
2. Have FUN! Because fun equals flavour. And fun and flavour makes your belly happy and you should be happy with the food that comes off your grill.
3. Be patient. Patience is extremely important. Otherwise, things either burn or come off the grill undercooked.
4. Slow down and enjoy it. If slowing your pace is a challenge, look at it this way: the longer it takes to cook, the more beer you get to drink!
5. Make it tasty! Remember: high heat - lid open; low heat - lid closed.
“Have fun, make it delicious, keep your beer cold, have some patience and remember that it is all about the flavours that you create for your friends and family because life can be tasty.”
Ted Reader's Schneiders Smoked Sausage n Cheddar Stuffed Jalapeño Lollipops
Total Time: 2 hr including refrigeration resting time
Prep Time: 15 min
Skill Level: Intermediate
Sometimes you have to think outside the bun – way outside. Jalapeno peppers stuffed with ground cheddar smoked sausage, wrapped in bacon and served on a pepperette stick. It requires a bit of work but the end results will have your guests screaming for more. Don’t rush the grilling process as you want the bacon to be crisp and the inside to be nice and hot.
5 Schneiders® Grill’ems® Fully Cooked Smoked Sausage Cheddar, each cut into 4-5 chunks
¼ cup (60 mL) Cream cheese
1 cup (250 mL) Shredded Cheddar cheese
24 Large green jalapeno peppers, seeded
24 Schneiders® Pepperettes Original Sausage
24 Slices Schneiders® Bacon
24 Tooth picks, soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes.
24 4 to 6 inch (10 to 15 cm) Square sheets of aluminum foil
2 tsp (10 mL) Ted’s World Famous BBQ Bone Dust BBQ Seasoning or your favourite BBQ seasoning
Place Grill’ems® sausages in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add cream cheese and cheddar cheese and blend until well mixed. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Rinse hollowed out jalapenos under cold running water to remove any remaining seeds. Stand
peppers cut side down on paper towel to drain.
Using a small spoon, stuff each jalapeno with the sausage and cheese mixture, pressing gently to fill the jalapeno. Using the handle of a very small wooden spoon or a chopstick, push it into the center of the stuffed jalapeno to make a hole. Insert a pepperette into the center of the stuffed jalapeno to make a meat stick jalapeno stuffed lollipop. Repeat with remaining jalapenos.
Lay a slice of bacon on a flat work surface and run your fingers across the entire length of the bacon to stretch it by almost one third. Wrap each smoked sausage stuffed jalapeno lollipop tightly with the stretched slice of bacon making sure to cover the entire surface of the jalapeno, leaving the pepperette stick exposed. Start by wrapping the bacon at the base of the pepperette, where it meets the jalapeno, and wrap down to the tip of the jalapeno. Secure with a toothpick ensuring pepperette and bacon are both pierced. Repeat with remaining stuffed jalapenos and refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour.
Set grill up for indirect cooking (1 burner not turned on) and preheat remaining burners to approx. 400°F (200°C), about medium to medium high heat.
Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the end of the pepperette end of the lollipops, nice and tight. This will keep the pepperettes from burning and drying out on the grill. Place over the unlit burner, close lid and cook for 10 minutes. Turn jalapenos, close lid and continue to cook for another 15-18 minutes to allow the bacon to begin to crisp. Once the bacon just starts to crisp, move the lollipops over a lit burner and grill, turning gently and frequently, for about 15 minutes until the bacon is fully cooked and crisp and the jalapenos are tender and the stuffing is hot.
Season lollipops with a little BBQ seasoning. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with your favourite BBQ sauce for dipping. Yeah Baby! It’s a meat stick heaven!
For more Grill recipes from Ted Reader check out his newest book: Beerlicious – The Art of Grillin’ & Chillin'
Jennifer Myers is a Toronto based web designer/art director who loves food, design and travelling.
by Jennifer Myers