As it turns out, it is much easier to have someone else take photos of you cooking… doing and documenting is too much for one person to handle on his own.
Here’s most of the spread before any of it went on the grill: garlic, asparagus, crimini mushrooms, mango, bananas, coffee-spice rubbed strip steak, and summer squash.
I use hardwood lump charcoal. It burns much hotter than briquets and it doesn’t have any of the chemicals in it that hold briquets together. I start the charcoal in a chimney; lighter fluid doesn’t exist in my world.
The potatoes (parboiled, quartered, and coated in butter and spices) go on first, over the coals. I need to be careful not to bring too much butter along with them else it drip and flare. By the time I’ve finished putting the potatoes on the grill, it’s time to go back to the first potatoes put on and turn them. They need intense attention until they’ve been flipped three times, at which point they have a beautifully caramelized exterior. I remove them from the grill and return them to the butter and spices that remain in the pan. They soak it up, drawing the flavor all the way in: leading to potatoes that have flavor all the way through and are ready to eat without adding any more butter or spices to them.
The strip steaks: grass fed, rubbed with kosher salt; ground chile pepper; and freshly ground coffee. Seared over direct heat and then transferred to the indirect side of the grill to coast through to a medium rare outcome.
The garlic: whole cloves, roasted over a combination of direct and indirect heat until soft to the touch. Let to cool, then peeled. The whole roasted cloves have a sweetly mellow flavor that compliments everything else on the plate.
The mushrooms: crimini mushrooms, seasoned with kosher salt, ginger, new mexico chile, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Cooked slowly over indirect heat. Flipped so that both sides cook. This method works well for mushrooms of all types. I started grilling mushrooms like this about 11 years ago, when I mostly used button mushrooms. I rarely use button anymore (crimini are now my go-to); but I also have done this with wild mushrooms such as sheep head or pom-pom.
The asparagus: seasoned with kosher salt, ginger, and new mexico chile powder. They were on and off the grill before they could be photographed cooking. They go over the coals, are flipped once, and removed when they have a nice char to them. I take them to the grill in the same pan I remove them to. I use tongs to put them perpendicular to the grill slats, and typically am able to grill them without losing any to the flames.
The squash: seasoned with olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, and paprika. Grilled over direct heat after the coals have already seen their hottest flames behind them. Depending on the heat, perhaps 3-5 minutes on each side; turning them 90 degrees after 1.5-2.5 minutes to give them a nice hatch pattern on each side.
The mangoes and the bananas did most of their cooking while we were eating. I put the mangoes over the coals and the bananas on the other side of the grill; put the lid on and ignored them for a while. Admittedly, that’s not the best way to handle them (the mangoes never quite cooked all the way through and the bananas got mushy), but by the time they went on the grill, it was about 7:30 and we were all hungry.
Thanks to Jim Sharrard for the photography services. See more of Jim’s pictures at www.mrtoadsride.blogspot.com.