Meat â€˜n’ Potatoes
Yellow Bean Salad
Back when the kids were growing up, we grilled all the time. Sometimes in winter, I would brush the snow off the grill to light a fire and grill dinner on the back porch. Then I built a cover for the porch — big enough to protect the grill, and me, but open enough to allow the smoke to dissipate quickly.
The grill of choice was the Weber Kettle Grill, sturdy and tough, it would go through hot Boston area summers and frigid winters and last for years. And we used it relentlessly, beyond dogs, â€˜burgers and flank steaks (an inexpensive cut at the time) to lobster, whole fish and even a suckling pig.
Soon enough, gas grills were invented, but they were big and clunky and ugly, and worst of all, not pure. Anyone who would use a gas grill was surely a wuss.
When the kids had moved on, and we moved to San Francisco, it was heaven, year â€˜round grill-time. We had a back deck, of sorts, out the door of the back bedroom, just big enough for our trusty Weber and a couple of chairs. This was a good situation and we continued to grill our steaks, burgers and chickens, not to mention asparagus and artichokes in season, and all manner of root vegetables.
I even perfected a grilled, smoked turkey, and named it “The Turkey That Leslie Loves,” because Leslie would demand it for any holiday gathering.
Although cooking a turkey or roast is worth the effort, gradually I tired of the prep involved for the few minutes grilling of a steak or burger. I bought a cast iron grill pan and pretended that was just fine, and it was certainly much quicker and easier than the charcoal grill.
Recently, I had this sweet porterhouse steak and I mentally planned to grill it, then it got foggy, and then I just couldn’t bring myself to clean the grill, light the fire, make sure it’s lit, heat up the cast iron grill grate, cook the steak, and then shut down the fire when it’s just right and will be perfect for nearly an hour longer.
Grilling for two is a pain in the ass, although I do love grilled food.
Which got me to thinking about a gas grill. Then I saw a Mark Bittman New York Times video where he grilled chicken wings on a gas grill. Man, they looked good. What th’ hell, if he can do it, I’m ready.
I went down to Fredericksen’s Hardware and right up front, between the check-out counter and the light bulbs, sat a Weber Q300 Grill, and it was on sale, fifty bucks off! Not only that, it was very cool looking; sleek, not huge, it would easily fit on our back deck. I took its picture and went home and did some Internet research. This is good. Highly rated by Cook’s Illustrated. The next day, I went grill shopping at the two other places near our neighborhood that carry Weber products, same stuff, not on sale.
I went back to Frederickson’s and bought the Q300, stopped by my friendly neighborhood Shell station and bought a tank of propane, and took it all home. The grill came in a beastly box, too big for one person to handle, so I opened it on the sidewalk, and carried smaller boxes up the steps to the dining room for assembly. “Some assembly required,” said the box. Right!
But first, clean up the trusty old grill (to sell on Craig’s List), and the back deck, while you’re at it, buster.
Aside from the nearly unintelligible pictogram instructions, the grill went together rather smoothly. Everything but the grate itself is made of fiberglass, so it’s relatively light and easy to handle. An hour or so later, it was on the back deck. By then it was dinnertime and we were really tired, so we celebrated with French-Vietnamese take-out.
The next step was to throw something, anything, on the Q (I’m going to call it Q, not very imaginative, but it has a nice ring to it). At lunch the next day I threw the last two of my wonderful Marin Sun Farms Frankfurters and two nectarines that were going fast.
When you buy stone fruit, fresh, at the Farmers Market, it’s not bred to sit around. When its ready, eat it or lose it.
Not a balanced meal, you say? I say, so? The franks cracked their casing with joy and the fruit reveled with their fresh tattoo and oozed sweet nectar. Yum.
Dinner was planned… all Q all the time.
- Yellow bean salad
- Marinated top sirloin
- New potatoes.
First, I grilled the onions and yellow beans for the salad.
Then grilled the beef and potatoes. The beef should grill about 8 minutes and the potatoes about 12, so the potatoes could finish while the meat rested.
Perfect, and I didn’t have a single pot or pan to wash; but all that marinating and oiling and tossing used quite a few bowls.
Dinner was fabulous. This Q is good. This Q I like. You will be seeing more grilled fare at this address.
Tequila Orange Marinade
From Weber’s Big Book of Grilling by Jamie Purviance and Sandra McRae For use with chicken, pork or beef
Top sirloin is a rather inexpensive cut of beef, not as tender as steak, so it needs a little attention.
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh Italian parsley with some stems
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons xv olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno
1 1/2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor combine the ingredients and process until smooth. Marinate chicken or pork an hour or so, beef two hours or more.
Grilled yellow bean salad
By Marcus with the guidance of Chris Schlesinger’s Thrill of the Grill
1 1/2 T Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 t Tabasco sauce
salt & pepper
Red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup Ojo de Cabra (or other Rancho Gordo beans), cooked, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 slices grilled red onion, diced
1/4 C pitted black olives, chopped
1/4 C minced basil
Toss yellow beans with salt, pepper and oil, and grill, chop into 1″ pieces, about 1 1/2 cups
Grill onion at the same time as yellow beans. Chop roughly.
Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oil, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix well, adjust the seasonings.
Grilled New Potatoes
New potatoes, sliced in half, tossed in salt, pepper and oil.