Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This past weekend I traveled to Florida to pick up a boat that my father in law was giving us, thanks Pop! I decided on the way back that I would make a few stops. Having seen it on food tv shows over the years, I decided that one of my stops would be Lexington BBQ in North Carolina. The location is referred to as Lexington #1 or as the locals call it, Honey Monks. Not sure why it is called #1 as this is the only location that I have heard of.
After a bit of a search to find a spot to park the truck and trailer , I was finally inside. It an old looking place, rustic very plain but really clean though. You basically seat yourself any where you would like. It was a Monday afternoon and wasn't that busy. Sat down and ordered some good ole sweet tea. The tea was real good and and not as loaded up with sugar as some of the other southern sweet teas I have had. I really didn't look at the menu since I knew I was coming there for the pork. The pork come two ways, coarse chopped and finely chopped. My waitress recommended the coarse chopped, she told me that was the most popular . The platter comes with coleslaw, french fries and hush puppies.
About two minutes after ordering my platter had arrived. The platter had a generous portion of pork that was lightly sauced with a vinegar sauce. The french fries were crinkle cut frozen type. The coleslaw was finely chopped with a vinegar sauce. The hush puppies came in a little boat on the side. A styrofoam cup filled with the same vinegar sauce was also brought out.
The pork was cubed and chunked with some bits of bark. The meat was perfectly cooked, very juicy and tender. The vinegar sauce really complements the meat but does not over power it. You really taste the pork flavor and a nice hint of hickory smoke. The hush puppies were good, I must add that I am not big fan of them to begin with. The were plain and not greasy at all. The coleslaw was a very good, just the right mix of vinegar and spices. I barely touched the crinkle cut fries.
The service is what puts this place over the top. The staff is very friendly and seem very genuine. Every few minutes any one of them, not just the one who took you order, would come by asking you if you wanted a refill or if you wanted more food. After my meal I had the chance to talk briefly with one of the cooks. I told him it was my first time eating there and how much I enjoyed it. He told me " You'll never be the same ever again" he was right.
Overall I would have to rate this as one of the best BBQ meals I have ever had at a restaurant. After this experience I will also admit from now on I will be using vinegar sauce on any pork that I am cooking for myself. Vinegar on pork, the way it ought to be.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
- BY SUSANA ENRIQUEZ |firstname.lastname@example.org
- 6:35 PM EDT, June 24, 2009
Al Horowitz describes the scent wafting from his eatery in Massapequa Park as the "sweet aroma of barbecue." But people who live near Smokin' Al's say the smell isn't so sweet when you smell it every day.
"It's a nice smell when you smell it for the first time," said Josephine Strassel, 43, who lives across the street. "But when you have to smell it from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, it's nauseating."
Since the restaurant opened in November, Horowitz has been locked in a battle with the village and his neighbors over the smoky scent of slow-cooking pork, brisket and ribs, as well as all the traffic the business draws.
Horowitz said he tried to address the odor concerns by installing a $10,000 double-filtration system over his barbecue smokers. But village officials say it's not enough and have issued him four summonses - three in the past two months for failing to do something about the odors.
He is scheduled to appear in Village Court on July 17.
Mayor James Altadonna said Smokin' Al's was given a certificate of occupancy with the caveat that there be "zero odor or minimal odor."
"It's an ongoing problem for the people who live around the restaurant," Altadonna said.
Horowitz said he had considered installing an air-cleaning system that would mostly eliminate the odors. But a price tag of about $200,000 and an installation process that would require him to close for up to two weeks discouraged him.
At this point, Horowitz said, he has done everything he is willing to do.
"I never promised that there would never be a smell," he said.
His attorney, Gary Weintraub of Huntington, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, saying that the village code neither defines what a noxious or offensive odor is nor how it constitutes a public nuisance.
He also filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Nassau County, asking that the village code be deemed unconstitutional because of its vagueness and an injunction be issued against further summonses.
For residents, the problems go beyond the smell.
Tim Terranova, who lives next door to the restaurant, said customers not only park in front of his house and block his driveway, but also occasionally park in his driveway - which never happened when an auto-parts store or flower shop occupied the space.
"It's unliveable here," said Terranova, 55. "That restaurant has ruined the neighborhood."
To free up parking for customers, Horowitz said he purchased $40 municipal parking permits for his staff.
Horowitz said the complaints - which he hasn't experienced at his six-year-old Bay Shore restaurant - have left him weary.
"I'm a barbecue guy," he said. "It's what I love to do. I don't love getting into lawsuits and battles."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Gentleman Jack enlists professional bartenders to create the perfect cocktail
LYNCHBURG (pop. 361), Tenn. (June 9, 2009) – The search for the perfect cocktail is a quest as old as the cocktail itself. And this summer, Jack Daniel’s is on the hunt for the perfect match for Gentleman Jack® Rare Tennessee Whiskey – served shaken, stirred, on the rocks or straight up – it just has to be in a Manhattan glass.
“Creating a perfect cocktail is as much an art as creating a premium whiskey like Gentleman Jack,” said Mark Grindstaff, Jack Daniel’s Marketing Director. “The twice-mellowed, smooth flavor of Gentleman Jack lends itself to the harmony found in a well-blended cocktail, and this is a chance for our country’s best bartenders to prove they know just what that drink should taste like.”
Professional bartenders, age 21 and up, can submit their entries online at www.gentlemanjack.com/bartender. All cocktails must include no more than five ingredients, including Gentleman Jack® Rare Tennessee Whiskey, and be served in a Manhattan glass. Judging will be based on taste, creativity, drink name and ease of preparation.
“There are plenty of good cocktails out there. We’re looking to find a great one,” continued Grindstaff. “A cocktail that’s savory and as simple as the wisdom we’ve followed for generations when making Jack Daniel’s whiskey – ‘Every day we make it, we’ll make it the best we can.’”
Semi-finalists will be visited by the Perfect Gentleman tour bus and be treated to a party celebrating their cocktail creation in their home market as well as awarded a selection of premium gifts. Ten finalists will have their cocktail recipes featured in the Gentleman Jack Perfect Cocktail Guide that will be featured at retail in February 2010. Two grand prize winners and their guests will enjoy a Perfect Manhattan weekend in the legendary borough of New York City, complete with luxury accommodations and a photo shoot for a Gentleman Jack national promotional campaign.
All recipes must be submitted with photo (see entry details) by June 30, 2009. For complete contest details visit www.gentlemanjack.com/bartender.
First introduced in 1988, and unlike any other whiskey in the world, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey (80 proof) is charcoal mellowed twice, once before and once again after the maturation process. The result is an exceptionally smooth whiskey with a rich, rewarding taste. A taste elegant enough to mark an important occasion, distinctive enough to preserve a memory and refined enough to give as a gift.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
After a less than stellar experience sampling food at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party I made the long 2 block walk over to RUB . Prior to this visit I had only been to Rub on two previous occasions. The first was a group visit with a bunch of the BBQ Brethren posse. That visit consisted of a family style dinner with just about everything on the menu. My second visit was a quick lunch where I had a pastrami reueben sandwich.
You would think the place would be empty with such a huge event going on just two blocks away? Hell No! It was packed!! We waited a good 20 minutes (in the rain, NY is the new Seattle lately) for a table. I was really looking forward to some burnt end more than anything. No such luck as they were sold out. The ribs were also sold out, a new batch was due out shortly though. We decided on a pastrami platter, fried onion strings and beans as sides. The pastrami was good, a bit dry though. The onion strings are really addictive. The beans were OK, to much of a tomato taste to them. While waiting for the ribs we ordered some smoke-fried chicken wings. These were awesome! The sauce was perfect and the meat juicy. They weren't very crispy and could of used a little more time in the fryer but were outstanding regardless. RUB's owner Andrew brought us out a sample of brisket. Two words.... Brisket Nirvana! I would have to say these slices of brisket were as good, maybe even better than what I have eaten at brisket mecca hill country. Perfectly cooked with a bit of fat still attached to the bottom with a nice caramelized rub that put it all together. The ribs finally came out, at that point we were stuffed. Sampled one rib and took the rest to go. It was nice seeing old friend and new addition to the RUB crew Matt Fisher as well.Overall it was the high lite of the day and blocked out all of my disappointment of the block party. Guess next time I will call in advance and ask them to put aside some burnt ends
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Dr BBQ Ray Lampe did a pork demo Saturday afternoon at the Block Party. It was in conjucnction with the pork trailer. As usual Ray was very entertaining and informative. The location was not the greatest. Right in front of the demo trailer was the line for one of the vendors leaving only about 4 feet of space to gather around and watch the demo. The demo was "Rays Tropical Pork Sandiches" from his latest book "The NFL game day cook book" He also did a little demo on making your own rub. Samples of the pork were also given out to the crowd.
Ray's Tropical Pork Sandwiches
"Create an island-inspired blitz by marinating your chops with pineapple juice, coconut milk, key lime juice and guava paste. If you're looking for a lean and mean dish, include healthful ingredients like pork tenderloin, which is as lean as a skinless chicken breast."
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
- 8 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
- 8 sandwich rolls
- 8 slices pineapple
- 8 slices red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut rum
- 1 tablespoon Key lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon guava paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch nutmeg
Preparation:To make the marinade: Whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Put the pork chops in a zip-top bag or a glass bowl and pour the marinade over them. Toss to coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, tossing occasionally to coat evenly.
Prepare the grill for cooking over direct medium-high heat. Grill the chops, turning once or twice, until done to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
Place each pork chop on a bun. Quickly grill the pineapple slices for 1 minute on each side and put them on top of the pork chops. Top each with a slice of red pepper to serve.
Makes 8 sandwiches.From: The NFL Game Day Cookbook © 2008 by the National Football League. Used with permission of Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco. Visit www.ChronicleBooks.com
Monday, June 15, 2009
I did find a purpose for myself being there. Along Madison Avenue a handful of picnic tables were set up so that folks would have a place to sit and eat instead of standing on a sidewalk, although sitting in the park on bench would be nice as well. I commandeered an entire table for ourselves for the day. It really worked out great as the group that I was with were able to strategically go out and hit the lines for food and come back to the table and eat throughout the afternoon. Occasionally we had some requests from some real nice folks to sit and join us to eat when we had the room. Who says NY'ers aren't friendly? Thanks to the "team" I was able to sit and wait as they went out for food, then have it delivered to me so I could eat without having to stand on a single line the entire day. (and they thought I was bored ha!) Now about the food:
We had pulled pork sandwiches from just about every vendor that was offering it. For the most part I did not care for any of it. Maybe my expectations were a bit to high. I did take in to account that the pitmasters were cooking for large crowds and most likely could not produce the quality they could at their own joints. That being said none of them were as great as I would expect, none of them were that good either except for one. That was Ed Mitchells, it is made up from entire chopped hog and then just mixed with some vinegar. I like the simplicity and the texture of all the parts of the hog chopped then mixed together. The vinegar was not overpowering. Most of the pork sandwich offerings came with a side of beans and coleslaw. I didn't care for for any of the beans and coleslaw with the exception of the coleslaw from Ubons BBQ. I didn't take any notes but it basically tasted great and was way above the others.
The lines at the event are interesting to watch. Why would you go to a local restaurant vendor when you can get food from a pitmaster that you will only get to try once a year? Just because some of the pitmasters are legendary and hail from some the country's BBQ mecca states does not mean you are going to get great food or food as good as you might get if you visited them in there home towns. Mike Mills (17th street bar and grill) had the worst ribs that I had of the day. They were baby backs that were over-sauced in some sort of yellow/orange nasty looking slather.I do not care much for babybacks to begin with because of the somewhat "hammy" taste and these were amongst the hammiest I have ever tasted. The ribs from Bakers were dry, had a nice taste to them. The ribs from Pappys were OK but nothing special.The best ribs of the day were from NYC's Blue Smoke. The had a nice smoke on them and very nice tasting sauce but were a bit tough.
Salt Lick from Texas had one of the longest lines I had seen of any of the other vendors. They were offering a platter with sliced brisket and sausage. They sold out of the brisket early and were only selling sausage towards the latter half of the day. I had the opportunity to sample some sausage from one of our table guests. Everybody I spoke to about the brisket did not really care for it. The brisket I did have was from Ed Wilsons , Fairfield CT. It was really good. I did not sample Hill Country's brisket as that is available anytime I am in NYC.
Overall it seems like a great event that is very well organized. I wish they had chicken vendor and would like to see some chili as well. Afterward we made our way to RUB for a great meal that I will give my take on Wed.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Mike Davis of Lotta Bull BBQ recently won Grand Champion at the Stagecoach Music Festival BBQ Championships in CA and also GC'd in Taylorville Illinois at the BBQ, Blues and Cruise. I heard from some very reliable sources that he was not at the awards ceremony to accept the GC award at either contest. I do understand that people have other commitments and emergency's can also happen but come on, seriously?. I do not personally know Mike and have never met him but from what I can tell he is a very well respected cook out there on the circuit. That being said he should also be setting an example to other cooks and by blowing off the awards I call Lotta Bull Shit! As an organizer,sponsor or cook I would be really insulted by his actions. If you know beforehand that you cannot be at a contest until after after awards because of a prior commitment then don't bother going to the event at all. Congrats on the wins Mike, you are my hero
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Anthonyy Bourdain, world-renowned chef, host of the Travel Channel’s "No Reservations" and author of "Kitchen Confidential," has named Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ restaurant as one of his “13 Places to Eat Before You Die”.
Bourdain dished up the KC honor in a story in the June issue of Men’s Health Magazine in an "Eat Like a Man" series of articles.
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, in Kansas City, Kan., was named along with restaurants in New York, Chicago, Napa Valley, Seattle, and restaurants in Great Britain, Spain, Singapore and Japan.
Oklahoma Joe’s opened in a gas station at 47th & Mission in 1996 and in 2005 opened another restaurant at 119th & Strang Line Road in Olathe.
13 Places to Eat Before You DieAnthony Bourdain
Any seasoned traveler can tell you that the "best" meals on the planet are the result of an ephemeral confluence of circumstances. A table at the most expensive restaurant in the world does not guarantee a truly great meal. That said, if you're planning on dying in the near future and want to knock off a list of final, glorious dining experiences, these places would make a very respectable binge. Start with one. Make a reservation today. Go on an empty stomach. Trust me: This is livin'.
1) St. John (London) If I had to die with half a bite of anything hanging out of my mouth, it would probably be the roast bone marrow in Fergus Henderson's plain-white dining room at St. John. Scooped out and slathered onto a crust of toasted bread and sprinkled with sea salt, it's simple yet luxurious. The menu is proudly English, a rebuke to anyone still laboring under the impression that English food sucks. Famously pork-centric and focused on traditional offal and game dishes, St. John is as wonderful for what it does as for what it doesn't do: compromise. It specializes in good ingredients from "happy" animals that are treated with love and respect. Henderson has become a reluctant spiritual leader to a whole generation of chefs--and even the old-guard guys love to stop by for crispy pig tails, ham in hay, or a properly roasted bird. This is one of the truly bullshit-free zones on the culinary landscape.
2) elBulli (Girona, Spain) It's the hardest reservation in the world. And everything they say is true: It's an adventure, a challenge, a delicious and always fun acid trip to the farthest reaches of creativity. Brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià and their team are the most influential and creative people working in food--and this surprisingly casual restaurant on a sleepy cove on Spain's Costa Brava is probably the most important restaurant of our time. Love it or hate it, if you have the opportunity to wangle a reservation, do it. It's like seeing Jimi Hendrix's first show. Forget any preconceptions you might have. Is it good? Yes. More important--is it fun? Yes. Yes. Yes.
3) The French Laundry (Napa Valley, California)
4 Per Se (New York City) The best sit-down, multicourse, white-tablecloth meal of my life was at the French Laundry. And subsequent meals at Per Se, also run by chef Thomas Keller, were no less wonderful. There's no better way to go than the full-on tasting menu, a once-in-a-lifetime marriage of the best ingredients, creative thinking, and high standards, along with the personal imprint of the most respected chef in the world. How can Keller be at both restaurants at once? It doesn't matter. Pick one. Fast for 2 days, stretch your stomach with water the day of, and then see how they do it at the very top. It's a level of perfection in food and service that few even try to approach.
5) Sin Huat Eating House (Singapore) It's grimy looking, the service can be less than warm, the beer is served in a bottle (often with ice), and the tables sit halfway into the streets of Geylang, Singapore's red-light district. But the crab bee hoon--giant Sri Lankan beasts cooked with a spicy mystery sauce and noodles--is pure messy indulgence. The whelks, steamed spotted cod, prawns, scallops (in fact, any seafood available that day) are all worth having. Warning: It looks cheap, but it's not.
6) Le Bernardin (New York City) This is the best fish joint . . . anywhere. And it's relevant and fun, despite its formal service and fine-dining ambience. The grand tasting menu is a stripped-down thing of relatively austere beauty. And whatever they're doing this year or this month is always, always interesting.
7) Salumi (Seattle) It's a sandwich shop with a couple of tables, and a true mom-and-pop--even if they're the mom and pop of famous chef Mario Batali. Anything cured, anything braised, any of the limited hot specials . . . in fact, anything the Batalis make is worth grabbing with both hands.
8) Russ & Daughters (New York City)
9) Katz's Delicatessen (New York City) Russ & Daughters started as a pushcart nearly a century ago, and it now serves some of the last traditional Eastern European Jewish-style herring and smoked belly lox, sable, and sturgeon. And since you're close, walk down a few doors to Katz's to remind yourself how pastrami is done right. This is what New Yorkers do better than anybody else. And here's where they do it.
10) Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain) Victor Arguinzoniz grills unlikely ingredients over homemade charcoal: baby eels, imperial beluga caviar, oysters. (The fresh chorizo and prawns work, too.) Theoretically you can't grill a lot of this stuff, but a handcrafted series of pulleys that raise and lower each item makes it possible. Eat here, and no one is eating better.
11) Sukiyabashi Jiro (Tokyo) The best sushi on earth? Maybe. Jiro Ono is more than 80 years old, and he's been doing old-school Edo-style sushi his whole life. Every piece of fish is served at precisely the right temperature and the rice and seaweed alone are blackout good. Ono will ruin sushi for you from anywhere else.
12) Hot Doug's (Chicago) This place convinced me the Chicago red hot is, in fact, superior to the New York hot dog. And it's home to two great innovations in American gastronomy: the "foie gras dog" and the weekends-only practice of cooking French fries in duck fat. It's proof that food doesn't have to be expensive to be great.
13) Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue (Kansas City, Kansas) People may disagree on who has the best BBQ. Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It's the best BBQ in Kansas City, which makes it the best BBQ in the world. Anthony Bourdain is the host of the Travel Channel's No Reservations.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
June 3, 2009
It’s summer BBQ season again, and 60 million households are expected to fire up the grill over every holiday weekend this summer. Together, they’re expected to release about 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. As large as this number is, it doesn’t take into account the fact that lots of us will be taking advantage of sunny weather throughout the summer and grilling on other occasions, too.
These six simple tips will help make your own cook out a little bit greener and healthier this summer. So invite your friends, fire up the grill, and enjoy some delicious food and beverages.
1. Use a propane, gas, or electric grill. These three grills burn more efficiently than charcoal or wood, which means cleaner air for you to breathe and fewer pollutants released into the atmosphere.
2. Use natural charcoal. If you do choose charcoal choose a natural lump brand—you can find a great list of brands over at greenyour.com. Avoid briquettes, which can contain coal dust, sodium nitrate, sawdust, starch, or limestone. These can all release toxic byproduct. Briquettes soaked in lighter fluid are the worst offenders—they release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs that contribute to smog when burned.
3. Lay off the lighter fluid. Petroleum-based lighter fluid releases harmful VOCs, too. To get your grill going, use a chimney starter, electrical charcoal starter, or another do-it-yourself fire starter.
4. Buy only what you need. Count up your guests, and buy food only for that number to ensure that leftovers don’t go to waste.
5. Focus on the food. Your eco-minded guests will certainly appreciate grass-fed beef burgers, pesticide-free lettuce, and especially home-grown tomatoes. Organic beer or wine will also reduce the impact of your meal, and serving filtered water from a pitcher instead of bottled water will keep your guests hydrated while minimizing trash. Pick up some mushrooms from the farmer’s market or veggie burgers for a meat-free meal that will really reduce the impact of your food.
6. Ditch the disposables. Use reusable plates, cups, and silverware instead of paper or plastic disposable ones. If you’re using plastic utensils, consider collecting them at the end of the night and washing them for reuse. Or find some compostable utensils made of potato or cornstarch.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Try a free bottle of Country Bob's All purpose sauce. Fill out form here and they will send you a coupon to redeem at retailer that sells the sauce. After an email to the company I found out that the product is unavailable here in the Northeast but they do have deal :
I am sorry but it is not. We are a very very small company and just don't have the monies to market it there! But we have a special for folks like you! $16.95 for 6 bottles or $56.00 for two cases which includes shipping. Just tell them deal 1131 when calling. Al Malekovic
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Sometime around the end of March I was walking through the local Costco. As usual something caught my eye in the section where all of the outdoor stuff is. It was an outdoor grill with a an entire kitchen around it. I spent a good twenty minutes checking this thing out. It had everything that I was planning to build in my backyard this summer. A nice stainless grill with a searing burner and a rotisserie. Granite counter tops, a sink, a mini refrigerator, a griddle plate and side burner, I was in love!. The best part about it was I didn't have to build anything, it was all there. Just plug it in and play. I went home without purchasing it and had it on my mind for days. I even went to the Costco by my job and visited it during one of my lunch hours. Then those magical words came out my wife's mouth, "Why don't we just go back and get it" I always knew I married the right girl.
It was Saturday April 4th and I had emptied out my van to head over make the purchase. It came in three really heavy boxes that barely fit in my van. A little bit of maneuvering and we got it in my truck, only hanging out the back a foot or so. I got home and decided that even though it was placed in my truck at the store via forklift, that my wife, my son and I could get it out of the truck and on my porch. It had to be carried through my house to the backyard so I figured to get them at least on the porch. I was going to call a few buddies the next day or so to help me carry them to the backyard. The first and second box, 200+ and 480+ respectively didn't seem to be that much of a problem and were on the porch in no time. The last box was the largest of the three weighing in at 600 pounds. I figured what the hell, I have lifted heavier than that before. We got it to the porch where we tipped it over and I lifted up on one side(it had to go up 3 steps) to slide on the porch. It was a bit of a struggle but we did it. The next step was where it went horribly wrong. I was standing on the bottom step and gave it a shove to get it to slide across the porch and then all of the sudden it felt like somebody hit me in the back of the ankle with a sledge hammer and something snapped. It took my breathe away as I looked around thinking something had fell on it. I knew something was terribly wrong as the first step I took I fell forward. That snap was my Achilles tendon being torn in half right above my heal. Wanna talk about painful? Well the rest of the story could take up a few more paragraphs and I don't want make this any longer but here I sit healing very well 8 weeks later.
Oh, back to the original point of this post. Since that day I have not touched that grill up until yesterday. I wasn't really up to it most days lately , maybe a little afraid of it, maybe even a little bit angry at it. I know, I know its a grill but when you are stuck in a house for 8 weeks, things in the head get a little screwy. To christen the grill I marinated up a few steaks. I used two different Lawrys marinades I had picked up on sale.I had never used them before. One was the steak and chop, the other Hawaiian . To marinate, I used (for the first time as well) a Reveo Marivac Food Tumbler thingy that I picked up from George of the WATG? cooking team recently. I forgot to pay him that weekend and also to mail the money, oops sorry George. Maybe he will remind me when he comes by my cooking site at New Holland PA to trim my chicken at 2AM :) I went to fire up the grill, the only problem was I had no clue how to light the infrared searing burner. After about ten minutes of trying I gave up and just cooked over the regular section with flames. I figured it out today after some over the phone instructions from the manufacturer. It was simple thing, I wasn't holding the turn knob in while pressing the ignitor. The steaks came out great! Maybe I am not such a novice after all? We also threw on some corn and I made up a batch of Keri C's Hog Apple beans. We were divided on the marinades, I preferred the Steak and Chop marinade, the rest of the family liked the Hawaiian. Overall I prefer just salt and pepper typically, without using a marinade at all. Sorry, no plated pictures. We are eaters, not photographers.