RainyDayMagazine’s annual FirstGrill event is coming up. This yearly celebration of grilling is one of our most popular gatherings. It gives us a chance to: test out this year’s gear with people outside the RainyDay offices; let our guests get hands-on experience with things they have read about on RainyDayMagazine; and allow our sponsors introduce to new items to a targeted group of opinionated—sometimes VERY opinionated—early-adopters!
Here’s a quick rundown on some of the items we’ll be featuring at this year’s FirstGrill. We’ll have a writeup of the reactions and opinions of the FirstGrill guests after the gathering.
- Heinz – Pitmaster collection of BBQ sauces. Heinz worked with the nation’s top pit masters to create a collection of authentic regional BBQ sauces. They were a huge hit last year so we will be featuring them again this year.
- Treeline – Vegan cheese from cashew nuts. We served a these delicious non-dairy cheeses a few years ago and all our guests loved them (dairy-eaters AND vegans alike).
- Tony’s Market – Handcut Ribeye, Homemade Sausages. Antonio DeBenedictis is a butcher who has been in business in Roslindale for over 50 years. Everything his shop offers is top notch. Of special note are the amazing homemade burgers and sausages which we feature at all of our events.
- Spice Lab – 8” x 12” Himalayan Salt Block. This item is from EverythingKitchen.com, our first stop whenever we need anything for the RainyDayKitchen.
We have heard about searing meats using a hot salt block and always wanted to give that a try. The salt block imparts flavor to the meat as well as cooks it. We thought this would be an interesting alternative to blow-torching sous-vided steaks as a method of “finishing” the cook. We shall see!!!
RainyDayMagazine readers know that the folks in the RainyDayKitchen have been experimenting with the sous vide cooking method for the past few years. We can say that everyone in the RainyDayKitchen is now completely sold on this technique. Sous vide cooking is simple, extremely flexible, and almost fool-proof. The only trade-off with sous vide cooking is time: you have to think about what you’re going to eat a good few hours before you’re going to eat it in order to sous vide most things, especially meat; it’s not really a “Hey, I’m hungry; let’s sous vide something” kind of cooking method. But still, it’s entirely worth the long-range prep adjustment.
The two sous-vide cooking appliances we have the most experience with are the Anova and Sansaire units. Both are well-designed, durable, and easy to use. Our FirstGrill guests will have a chance to see both in action and sample the “results.”
Both the Sansaire torch and the Bison AirLighter are fueled by butane and throw flames out its “business” end, but one is NOT the larger version of the other. The Sansaire torch is for searing meat and the Bison AirLighter is for getting the charcoals going. We will make sure our guests know the difference. We are working on our mantra now: Sansaire is for searing, Bison is for briquettes; Sansaire is for searing, Bison is for briquettes…
- Boos Board – Chop-N-Serve Cutting Boards
- Kyocera Advanced Ceramics – 5.5″ Santoku and 3″ paring knives
- ThermoWorks – Thermapen
We have used a few Boos Boards, but the Chop-N-Serve is our go-to for grill-to-table eating. The integrated handles make it easy to hold, the juice groove keeps things tidy, and the size is perfect for cutting and serving right from the board!
For cutting and serving, Boos Boards and ceramic knives are a natural combo. Kyocera ceramic knives stay sharp ten times longer than steel knives, don’t transfer food flavors, and are easy to handle because of their light weight.
ThermoWorks’ Thermapen has been our “goto” temperature probe for over a decade. It’s accurate, fast, and the numbers are easy to read. Not sure how this gadget can get any better!
- Capresso – Ice Tea Maker
When the Capresso Ice Tea Maker first arrived, some in the RainyDayKitchen were a bit skeptical of the single purpose gadget, and also the idea that it makes HOT TEA and then drips it on COLD ICE. The fact that it is still being used two years later says something about the device. If you love drinking ice tea, you will love this ice tea maker.
We featured two Stok grills last year and had hope to introduce our guest to Stok’s 4-burner Quattro this year. However, the timing didn’t work out for getting one set up for FirstGrill. We’ll try again later in the season or maybe next year. One of the reasons we are intrigued with Stok is because of their interchangeable grill accessories. Both the Cast Iron Kettle and the Smoker will have a role in this year’s event 🙂