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Grilling Season

Get Your Sausage-Making on with Chorizo Bomb!

Chorizo is great on the grill!

Chorizo is great on the grill!

World Spice Merchant‘s new Chorizo Bomb spice blend  has been a favorite of our restaurant clients for years, so it was no surprise that it started flying off the shelves as soon as we started offering it to our retail family. This versatile blend can be used to make a Mexican-style chorizo, or even a North African –style merguez sausage — as links or patties. It pulls double, triple, and quadruple duty as a great grill seasoning, taco and fajita spice, or in simple beans and rice. A little smoky from the Pasilla Oaxacas, sweet smoked paprika, and Chipotle flakes, a little herbaceous from the generous dose of oregano, thyme, and marjoram, and a bit sweet from the Hungarian paprika — you’ll see, there’s a reason we call it the “bomb!”

So, how do you use it? We’re testing additional recipes right now, but in the meantime, here are easy patty-making recipes for both Mexican chorizo and North African mergeuz sausage. For additional inspiration, check out HuffpostTaste’s published list of the “The Best Recipes that Use Chorizo.”

P.S. If you decide to go all D.I.Y. homemade, here’s a great article explaining how to grind your own meat for patties as well as case up your sausage links: how to make your own sausage.

Mexican-style Chorizo Sausage

Ingredients

2 pounds ground pork or turkey
4 tablespoons Chorizo Bomb
1-1/2 teaspoons Alderwood Smoked Salt
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup water or beer

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break apart your ground meat into manageable chunks.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add the blended ingredients to the ground meat and mix by hand.
  4. When thoroughly mixed, you will want to check to see if it's seasoned to your taste. To do so, take a little bit of the chorizo, flatten it out, then cook it in a small frying pan over medium heat until it's completely cooked through. Taste it to see if it has enough salt or seasoning. If not, then add either more salt or more Chorizo Bomb.
  5. If you like the seasoning, then you can go ahead and cook the remaining chorizo mixture or store it. The raw mixture will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but also freezes well. You can portion it into patties for breakfast and/or for burgers, or just use it in recipes.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mexican-style-chorizonorth-african-merguez/
North African Merguez Sausage

Ingredients

2 pounds ground lamb or beef
1/3 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons Chorizo Bomb
1-1/2 teaspoons Alderwood Smoked Salt
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup red wine

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, break apart the ground meat into manageable pieces.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Add the blended ingredients to the ground meat and mix well. When thoroughly mixed, you will want to check to see if it's seasoned to your taste. To do so, take a little bit of the mergeuz, flatten it out, then cook it in a small frying pan over medium heat until it's completely cooked through. Taste it to see if it has enough salt or seasoning. If not, then add either more salt or more Chorizo Bomb.
  4. If you like the seasoning, then you can go ahead and cook the remaining merguez mixture or store it. This will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but also freezes well. You can portion it into patties for breakfast and/or for burgers, or just use it in recipes.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/mexican-style-chorizonorth-african-merguez/

Categories: Africa, Global Cuisines, Grilling Season, Hot Topics, Latin America, Main Meals, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chimichurri Meets Grill

Rule #1 of the Spice Merchant’s Camping Handbook: Just because you are sleeping on the ground, doesn’t mean you have to eat franks and beans! We took Chimichurri sauce camping this weekend, and the results were fantastic! We had Chimichurri flank steak for dinner plated up with Voodoo grilled zucchini and followed by Dutch Oven peach and huckleberry cobbler, cause that’s how we roll. (For great information on using a Dutch Oven click here.)

Classic Argentinian Chimichurri sauce combines the almost apricot flavor of the Aji Mirasols, the peppery sweetness of guajillo and New Mexico chiles, the earthiness of oregano, cumin and bay (all from our Chimichurri Spice) with fresh herbs, citrus, plenty of garlic, vinegar and oil, to create a sauce that you’ll find excuse after excuse to use. It couldn’t be easier to make– just throw the sauce ingredients together in a blender, and voila!  You’re headed down, down to flavor town.

When used as a marinade, the grill fire tames the acidity of the vinegar, enhances the sweetness of the citrus, and intensifies the heat of the chiles. Another drizzle of sauce to finish leaves any cut of meat, beef especially, perfectly balanced in that sweet-tart-spicy-meaty union that screams “summer food” the world over. The flavors of Chimichurri sauce bloom over time, melding together and becoming even more cohesive, so make enough to keep in the fridge for about a month. Insider tip: A “month’s worth” is double what you think it is.

Chimichurri steak

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Chimichurri Flank Steak

Ingredients

1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped (or a mix of parsley and cilantro)
1/4 cup minced garlic
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups blend, canola or vegetable oil
1 or 2 limes, juiced plus extra for serving with the steak
2 - 3 lbs. flank steak

Instructions

  1. Combine first nine ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend. Pour into a glass jar with good seal. It will keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator...and just keep getting better. Give it a good shake before using.
  2. Put the flank steak in a large resealable bag, and add enough of the Chimichurri Sauce to thoroughly coat the steak. Squeeze all of the air out of the bag, and seal. Place bag on a plate and put in the refrigerator. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is even better.
  3. You can either grill or broil this flank steak. When your coals are hot and ready for cooking, take the flank steak out of the bag, but make sure that it still has some of the Chimichurri Sauce coating it when you put it on the grill.
  4. Grill or broil it to your desired doneness, being sure to get good grill marks on both sides. When you take it off the grill, allow it to rest for 5 - 10 minutes.
  5. Then slice it against the grain, put it on a platter (no sneaking a piece!), and drizzle with more Chimichurri Sauce. Serve it with a little bowl of sauce and some fresh cut up limes on the side.
http://www.silkroaddiary.com/chimichurri-flank-steak/

Categories: BBQ, Global Cuisines, Grilling Season, Latin America, Main Meals, North America, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Summer Grilling: Charcoal Tips

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The smell of charcoal always brings me back to camping trips with my dad, specifically watching him struggle to light briquettes without the benefit of lighter fluid. I would eye campers in adjacent sites jealously, sending up enormous spouts of flame as they liberally applied lighter fluid to just about anything that could burn. I’d get impatient and tell dad that I was just going to head over and ask to borrow a bit of lighter fluid.

My father, being the food snob he is, forbade it. His method, he assured me, was superior. There are lots of fancy chimney starters on the market, but pops used a simple coffee can with holes punched in the bottom.

“No lighter fluid stinking up my grill, son,” he’d say, attempting to light the charcoal for the fourth time.

I’d roll my eyes at that, but soon enough he’d have the coals glowing and ready to use.

You could call him a purist, I suppose. For all you charcoal purists out there, we’ve got some ideas that you might enjoy.

Aside from avoiding lighter fluid, you can enhance the flavor from your charcoal grill by making your own charcoal.

Different types of wood will yield different flavor, so do a bit of research to find the right type of wood for you. Apple wood and mesquite are popular choices. There are a few methods out there to turn your chosen wood into charcoal- they all involve burning the wood in a low oxygen environment. You can even use your grill if you can make it airtight.

Now that you’ve gotten your charcoal and chimney starter together, you can start grilling. There’s a lot of conventional grilling wisdom out there, and it’s good stuff to know. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Create hot and cool sides of the grill for temperature control – You can accomplish this simply by piling your coals a little higher on one side of the grill.
  • Don’t overcook it – Cuts of meat shouldn’t be gray inside.
  • Turn once and flip once – For steaks and burgers, turning once gives you an attractive cross hatch pattern on your meat and helps it cook more evenly. No need to turn after the flip, however, or even touch the meat at all until it’s done.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyhow. Nothing wrong with it. Here with a rebuttal, however, is Adam Perry Lang, author of Charred & Scruffed, who takes a distinctively more active approach to grilling:

 

Looks tasty, Adam!  Pick up his book, Charred & Scruffed, right here to learn more about his insanely delicious techniques.

photo credit: ewen and donabel via photopin cc

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Grilling Aside: Planning the Perfect Summer Cookout

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In the last few weeks we’ve shown you a host of delicious recipes and grilling tips for your summer cookout. We’ll continue to roll those out as summer grilling season progresses, but with the hottest grilling day of the year coming up(solstice, 4th of July, take your pick), we want to take a moment to address all those pesky little details that go into planning an awesome cookout.

#1 Location, location, location

Whether you choose to host a cookout in your own backyard, park, or camp site, you’ll need to consider the logistics. Choosing your backyard will make things easier for you, but the mess left behind is yours to deal with and yours alone. Make sure if you’re having your grilling party elsewhere that you have plenty of supplies for food and drink, and that you get the tough prep work out of the way early.

planked shrimp, grilled shrimp

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#2 Appetizers

Waiting for the first batch of goods from the grill can seem like an eternity. Help your guests get through the wait by grilling up some appetizers, like these shrimp:

Looks good, doesn’t it?

They’ll cook fast and give your guest something to talk about before the main event.

#3 Make your sides easy

Our Chaat Masala Fruit Salad will blow guests away, and can be prepared in advance. You can use it as an appetizer as well.

If you want to include corn as a side dish, you might already know about the technique for cooking corn without the benefit of a big pot. It’s called “Cooler Corn” and yes, it’s exactly what you think. Load your ears of corn into a clean cooler, and pour boiling water over it 30 minutes before you plan to serve. Close the lid and forget all about it. This corn will be cooked in roughly 30 minutes, but you can leave it in the cooler for up to 2 hours without it getting over cooked.

 

cooler corn

More like “Coolest Corn” Am I right?

 

Don’t forget to ask guests to chip in on the sides. You never know what they might bring, but that’s why it’s called a potluck. If they love good food as much as you do, you might be the potluckiest!

#4 Keep it simple, stupid

My Mantra. Overplanning, or planning complex events will rob you of the pleasure of grilling and spending time with friends and family. Your guests are there for good food and good company, and in the end if you can provide those two things, you’ll all have a great time. Stop worrying so much, it’s a cookout for crying out loud!

photo credit: wsilver via photopin cc

Categories: Grilling Season | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Grilling: Different Rubs for Different Meats

grilled chicken, grilling chicken

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Halfway through June-uary, the summer grilling season is finally beginning to heat up. Are you ready to take your summer cookouts to the next level?

Dry rubs are a combination of herbs, spices, salt, and sugar that will infuse fabulous flavor into your meat and form a delicious crust for anything you care to throw on the fire. Whether you’re grilling with steak, fish, pork, or chicken, there are different dry rubs that are best suited for each, sometimes so many it can be hard to choose. Here are the World Spice staff picks for each:

Ribs and Brisket:
We recommend our Memphis Beale St. for ribs and brisket. or anything you want to cook low and slow. In this rub, coriander, celery seeds, and mustard seeds are left whole, and pop open on the grill for some extra kick and crunchy texture!

Steak and Salmon:
Sherrie created our Sassy Steak Spice for, well, Steak, primarily, but we’ve found it delightful on salmon too. The exotic flavors fit the bill when you’re looking to season outside the box. With Alderwood smoked salt, chipotle flakes, Mexican oregano, long pepper, and Vietnamese cinnamon, this smoky/spicy/sweet dry rub is refreshingly different and perfectly balanced. Is Sassy the next culinary sensation? You decide.

Fish and Seafood:
For fish, we’ve got to hand the prize to our Yucatan Rojo blend. This traditional mix combines annatto seeds, true cinnamon, hints of citrus and chile with cumin and Mexican oregano for great taste and a rich red color. We like it best on white fish, shrimp or scallops. It can be used as a dry rub, or a combined with vinegar and lime(or orange) juice to create a tasty paste. The piquant flavors settle perfectly into fish tacos!

Pork:
Simple and straightforward, our Smoky BBQ Rub, which can turn any cut of pork into a smoky southern treat. A perfect way to add a touch of heat to the classic overcast Seattle summer day (regardless of what city you live in).

Chicken:
Our Fin & Feather blend was created with a more delicate hand than some of our more robust rubs. It still boasts plenty of flavor and a paprika base, but we’ve added a hint of citrus, extra onion and more herby notes from sage and marjoram. It remains our first choice for grilled chicken and has also become a favorite for Thanksgiving turkey on the grill. Try it any time as an addition to your flour mixture when frying chicken. Seriously, try it out.

Did we miss something? Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and are grilling with more exotic meats. Ask questions or tell us about your awesome summer grill stories in the comments.

photo credit: Bruce W Martin II via photopin cc

Categories: Grilling Season, Spice Notes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grilling Season: Charcoal vs. Gas

steak on the grill

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Grilling Season always begins with this heated debate: Is grilling with charcoal better, or grilling with gas?

Frankly, it depends on what you want. There are plenty of grills available, with bell and whistles ranging from none to outrageously extravagant. Because you’re here reading the Silk Road Diary, however, we’d like to believe that what you’re after is flavor and lots of it.

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When it comes to flavor, charcoal wins. Fire equals flavor. Just take a look at the photo on the right, from Adam Perry Lang’s awesome grilling-centric book, Charred and Scruffed.

Does that steak look delicious or dirty to you? If you answered delicious, then you’re not alone, and neither is anyone else who grills with charcoal and charcoal only.

If you answered dirty, then you may be the person that prefers lady propane. Your neighborhood propane dealer will surely point out the hign level of convenience- no lighter fluid, no matches, no chimney, just clean burning gas. Gas grill lovers also enjoy the ability to adjust grill temps with the twist of a knob. While it is possible to adjust and focus heat where you want it with charcoal, it requires a little more skill than knowing clockwise from counter-clockwise.

The debate rages on. We stand in defense of flavor, but we also realize that not everyone who grills this season is grilling for the first time ever. You may already own a gas grill, charcoal grill, or even an authentic George Foreman electric grill. Regardless of what you’re grilling with, you can always punch up the flavor factor with one of our Dry Rubs for grilling. Believe it!

Categories: Grilling Season, Hot Topics | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment