Sunday, June 24, 2012

Love People. Cook them tasty food.

If ever there was a mantra to live by! I got that bumper sticker and a whole lot more when my wife and I visited Penzey's Spices manufacturing facility outside Milwaukee, WI last week. We went there to meet a GrillGrate customer, and wound up meeting a great company- a real American story. Our timing was perfect too.
Rob,  Quality Control by day, Grill-Master every Wednesday
For the past 15 years every Wednesday Penzey's grills lunch for their employees. When they started the Wednesday tradition they were feeding 50 people, now its over 200 who dine in a comfortably furnished dining room. And they serve sandwiches on Tuesday, soup on Friday and donuts on Thursday morning- all free to the employees. 

George Van Valkenburgh,  GM of Penzey's gave us the nickle tour and by the time we got outside to the Eight smoking Weber grills, Susan and I were overwhelmed by everything we'd seen and heard.    

Love People. Cook them tasty food. Penzey's lives it in every aspect of the company:
  • Penzey's has established relationships with small growers / farmers around the world and ship spices whole to the US to preserve freshness. Spices are not ground until they are ready for production. The entire production is done in house. Grinding, blending, packaging, labeling-- even photography. I recognize those sear marks!
  • Penzey's offer a summer job to every child of every employee who wants a job. “We'll find them something to do” explained George.
  • A magazine quality catalog is published 8x a year that features heart-warming stories from customers, their recipes, photos, even drawings from their children! It's a great read. Each issue has 15 new recipes including two letters from Bill- second generation owner and chairman of Penzey's. 
A company favorite Turkish Kabobs
Is Love a spice? It is at Penzey's! Penzey injects a healthy dose of love into everything they do.  Bill signs off his letters in the recent grilling issue with two great thoughts:
  1. Kindness works.
  2. Love People. Overcome Obstacles.
Thank you George, Rob and everyone at Penzey's for sharing your great story with Susan and I. Just like a good meal, if your still thinking about the experience the next day or two- you know if was mighty good!

Love People, Cook them tasty food.

Sign up for the Penzeys Spice Catalog: Love to Cook, Cook to Love.

Thanks Penzey's for sharing the love with Susan and I. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Grill Steaks like a Champion! The Steak You Save Just Might Be Your Own!

There is little room for error when grilling steaks. Alton Brown says it succinctly- “fire is bad!” It does bad things to food not just from a health standpoint but from a taste standpoint too.  Burned is not better!  Perfectly seared steaks are caramelized not singed. The natural flavors and juices can easily be overshadowed by char or a sooty taste. Nor do we want to see the exterior of the steak scorched while the center is purple! 
Bumper to Bumper Rare!  Grate Customer in  Germany.

Everyone has their own definition of a perfect steak.  For me it's bumper to bumper rare to medium rare!  
Brett Gallaway's Formula to Grill Steaks like a Champion:
Time to take them off for a brief rest.
  • GrillGrates
  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Good Piece of Meat 
  • Liberally salt steak and allow to sit out of the refrigerator
  • Bring steaks to room temperature, as the salt opens the meat and brings the myoglobin to the surface (not blood- see Meathead's review on this subject)
  •  After 20 minutes, blot the surface of the steak dry removing some of the salt.  (Many people suggest oiling steaks- we don't.  We oil fish filets for grilling but not steaks.)
  • Pepper and season to taste. Go easy on the seasoning. Note if the steak seasoning has salt in it be careful not to over-salt.  Most of the time we just use salt and pepper on steaks.
  • Continue to bring to room temperature and allow seasoning to penetrate the meat.  
  • Get your GrillGrates HOT! 500F-650F (not 800F unless you want crunchy sear marks)
  • Lay steaks at an angle on the GrillGrates and note your time.
  • In TWO minutes LIFT and TWIST 90 degrees to create a cross hatch (do not turn yet)
  • In TWO more minutes TURN to reveal nicely seared and diamon marked steak- cook to finish
  • Use an Instant read to measure internal temp. Pull steaks 10 degrees lower than target temp. I pull my steaks at 125-130F anticipating them to rise to 135-140F
  • REST the steak for 2-3 minutes, (Meathead has debunked the resting period for steaks.) 10 minutes for extra thick steaks (do not tent with foil- as they will cook more and overshoot doneness)
  • Serve, Observe and Listen for guttural sounds of gastronomic joy!
For More Steak Tips: watch Brett Gallaway of United Steaks of America Cook Team in this recent video created by Walmart. 
Four of Five Money Winners at the 23rd Annual World Championship Steak Cook Off grilled their steaks using GrillGrates.  

Thanks Brett! 
PS- Brett & his Team have won more than a dozen championships in the past three years!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ouch, I Stuck the Hamburgers on My GrillGrates Bad!

I am trying to better utilize the GrillGrate Blog and make this a place to find more detailed information, ask questions, and join discussions about using all things GrillGrate! In addition to Grate recipes and other news from time to time I want to share stories and I hope you will too.

The other night we had friends over we had not seen in a while and I was not as attentive to the grilling job, I didn't want to miss the conversations. I pre-heated the grill and frankly don't remember how long it was pre-heating but it was hot! My grill was pegged over 750 on my vent hood dial. I open the lid and turn down the gas and rejoined the conversation. The stuffed burgers were made before our guests arrived and I was not even on auto-pilot, there was no pilot!

I grabbed the burgers and went outside to the grill and did not use any grill spray or canola even though I had just thermally blasted the GrillGrates clean and dry like a self-cleaning oven. They needed a little slicking up. After depositing the first burger- I knew but just kept going! I was in denial or in a trance as I rejoined the conversation. 

A few minutes later I grab my GrateTool and when I went to flip the burgers-- they were like cement to the GrillGrate. No wiggle was going to loosen up this mess. The Tool did rescue me a little bit since the burgers did not disintegrate they just lost an ounce of flesh stuck to the rails. Reverse sear anyone? I was not laughing at myself then as I am now but I did manage to take a picture to tell on myself. Further to the point, this is not the first time I've stuck hamburgers on my GrillGrates. The last time was a video shoot- I knew it then as soon as I did it too. Brand new GrillGrates fresh out of the box- HOT with no seasoning what so ever, and no grill spray or canola by yours truly.

Morals and Lessons from the story:
  1. Don't let the GrillGrates totally lull you to sleep! Pay a little attention.
  2. Use Weber Grill Spray, Pam or Canola oil the first couple of times you use GrillGrates so you won't stick your first hamburgers
  3. If you burn off your seasoning, see #2!
  4. RTFM... Read the Freakin Manual. Something I and many men(especially) are guilty of not doing unless we hit a problem...
I watched this video and winced when I witnessed another unsuspecting soul stick his hamburgers good.  He falls under # 4 and we had a good chuckle about it. Thanks Mike! We decided to yellow highlight that one sentence in the user guide!  As Paul Harvey famously said. Now you know the rest of the story!

Monday, June 4, 2012

GrillGrates Dominate World Championship Steak Cook-Off in Magnolia, AR

Magnolia, AR May 19th 2012

Four of the five money winners in the hotly contested World Championship Steak Cook-off® grilled on GrillGrates, the award winning new grilling surface.   
WTF Team 2012 World Championship $4000 First Place
The 23rd annual competition saw 78 teams competing for the $4000 grand prize and money was paid through fifth place. The WTF Team (Walker Tree Farm) won this year's contest followed closely by the two previous year's winners, United Steaks of America Cook Team, and Shorty Dunn and The Cook-em Up Gang. All three teams have been consistently winning steak competitions in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas with GrillGrates.

GrillGrates are proving to be new technology at the grill surface that simply grills food better.” According to Brad Barrett, Founder and President of GrillGrate LLC. “GrillGrate won product of the year from the BBQ Pro's of the National Barbecue Association in 2009 and now they are helping win championships.”

Most teams make their own rubs, a few make marinades and they all guard their processes carefully. Johnny Joseph of Shorty Dunn's cook team commented after the awards ceremony that “A 'Steakment' was made in Magnolia!” “A steakment certainly was made and the secret is getting out that GrillGrates grill great steaks!” added Barrett.

GrillGrates are interlocking panels that form a new cooking surface on any grill. They lay on top of the existing grates or replace them altogether. The raised rail design allows for juices, marinades and sauces to sizzle in the valleys resulting in juicier more flavorful food. GrillGrates bring out foods natural flavors by protecting from charring flare-ups while vaporizing and sizzling juices and marinades back to the food for added flavor. GrillGrates are available at hardware, house-ware and outdoor retailers and on-line at and They are available in several lengths as well as custom shapes for the Weber Kettle and Kamado style grills.
GrillGrates are New Technology at the Grill Surface

The Annual World Championship Steak Cook-off is part of the Magnolia Blossom Festival, held the 3rd Saturday in May in Magnolia, Arkansas. After turn-ins are made, 3500 steak dinner plates are served to the public. The teams grill rib-eye steaks provided to them by the festival and the public is invited to pick their championship steak from one of the teams. The award ceremony follows a sit-down dinner on the town square.

Director, World Championship Steak Cook-off: David Nelson 870-904-4126

GrillGrate LLC, Brad Barrett, 678-361-4491
Made in the USA. Cartersville, GA, Patents pending

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