Thanks to fellow blogger and friend Tammi Kwok, from Insatiable Munchies I scored an invite to attend the McCormick Grill Mates American BBQ Range launch at Willoughby Hotel. The peeps from Market Maker PR teamed with McCormick Grill Mates and the BBQ School to bring us a night of BBQ cooking, American style, but we didn’t just BBQ, we drank, got merry and ended up with meatmares later that night from indulging in so many delectable meat meals. When blogger’s unite there will be lots of photographs and FOOD.
McCormick Grill Mates is America’s #1 BBQ seasoning brand and it is finally making its way to our shores and is now available in all reputable supermarkets, both large and small. They have a smoking’ hot range of Burger seasonings, Dry Marinades and Slow and Low BBQ rubs; we got to try the lot and I am larger for the privilege.
The range is pretty spot on for authenticity and our BBQ chef for the evening, Eric Luhning, is a Canadian brisket winner in BBQ championships in his home country, his brisket recipe contained over seventy ingredients and he prefers the MrCormick Slow and Low Smoking’ Texas BBQ rub – he swears blindly he is not being paid to say that, and after eating it, I foodgasmed, the brisket was by far my favourite thing to eat.
Eric showed us how to do slow BBQ American style using a simple Weber-like BBQ, it was bloody interesting and something I am more than happy to give a try over summer. The entire ethos behind slow cooking is something I just LOVE, it is food respect and takes everything to another level.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL (OR MOST) OF THE RECIPES FOR THE FOOD WE ATE ARE AVAILABLE HERE.
Above Eric showed us to make some scrumptious jalapeño and cheddar BBQ chicken and spinach quesadillas, I loved having spinach on the quesadillas and Eric also explained about cooking chicken and a lot of meat without any oil on the BBQ and in his words “STOP USING OLIVE OIL TO COOK WITH.” He was a passionate and highly skilled BBQ master. This dish was made using the Jalapeño and Cheddar Burger seasoning Grill Mates pouch and it worked well.
Then we inhaled some sliders – these were made with the Classic All Star Burger Seasoning pouch and were simple, tasty and addictive. These would be a real treat over summer in the backyard for a cricket innings break meal.
And bloody hell, the above and below Tennessee Smokehouse Baby Back Ribs fell apart like butter and the smell alone made people swoon, seeing Eric pull them apart was nearly as good as eating them. These take about 3-4hrs of cooking plus about an hour or two of marinating and were made with the Slow and Low Tennessee Smokehouse BBQ rub and then drowned in the Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce. I loved the ribs and the texture but for my personal taste a little saucy, I would lessen the sauce used and let the meat speak a little for itself.
Then there was the pulled pork – I shall proudly announce I was the “chosen one,” the one to work with Eric on this one, my job was to pull pork (oh the puns that flowed from this one :)). You could say that pulling this pork was possibly the easiest thing I have ever done. It was like trying to cut warm butter, I could have done it with a feather, the pork just fell away and I probably ran the forks through it about three times and it was perfect. The Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Pulled Pork had 12hrs of marinating and two hours sitting and then about 6hrs of cooking, it was worth it, it was made with the Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Dry Marinade and then was pulled with the Vintage Smokehouse BBQ Sauce, it was nice but again for me too much of the BBQ sauce – I should point out here I was literally the only person out of close on thirty that thought it was too much sauce, my favourite was the brisket and most in my near vicinity thought it needed more sauce, for me the meat was complimented by the sauce but allowed to speak for itself as well, this is not a bad thing, just my preference, the sauce was nice but too much for me.
OK – the brisket, the Smoking’ Texas Beef Brisket was marinated for 12hrs and cooked for 12hrs plus resting and sitting times. It was made with the Smoking’ Texas BBQ Rub and the Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce. It was bloody amazing!! I was in love with it, had thirds and nearly asked for a doggy bag :).
Believe it or not we also had a salad making competition in teams, we lost, but the other team had chef cheating help haha. Damn those peeps from Oh Burger Me – so proud of their salads (yep totally outing them – #saladlovers). But like we all said numerous times on the night “you don’t make friends with salad!!” Hence I am not showing the pics of the salad because it was all about MEAT!! Oh, and brownies, and beer, and wine, and bloggers and new friends.
And here it is, the brownie, I am a brownie pro, I work annually for the pre-Xmas period selling Xmas Cakes and brownies among other things, for a few years I churned out gourmet brownies annually with the likes of Orange and Cointreau Brownies, Mint and Creme de Menthe brownies and Cherry and Kirsch brownies all made with couverture chocolate and macadamias – these brownies are like a gift from the gods, people pay a lot of money for these brownies and send them all over the world – and bloody hell, this Spicy Cinnamon and Chilli Chocolate Brownie blew my mind. I detest chilli chocolate but this wasn’t chilli chocolate per se – it was more a warming chocolate and it worked to perfection if eaten with a strawberry, some cream and a mint leaf, the combination of those flavours saw me eating a second piece.
I was invited to the event but I am more than happy to also promote it without hesitation, I am making the brownies and the ribs this weekend for a dinner party, it was all genuinely authentic as far as I know about Texas BBQ.
I also need to mention The Willoughby Hotel, the venue for the night, their catering and alcohol was superb. They matched a lot of meals with beers (explaining all the flavours of the beers) and looked after us incredibly well, if I lived in the area I would make this a local.
Huge thanks to Tammi Kwok, McCormick, Market Maker PR, Eric Luhning, BBQ School and The Willoughby Hotel for a fantastic night, you have all sold me on something I would normally overlook, loved it all.