Posted by joeabbott on March 31, 2013
Suzy and I enjoy spending time together but we have busy careers and different pastime interests, so it’s always fun when we meet in the middle for something we both really like. This past weekend it was a BBQ Class! Yup, we both love grilling and BBQ (I typically man the tongs … sparing Suzy from time at the stove); she’s a master in the kitchen, so she loves new recipes; and we both like to eat BBQ! On top of that, we enjoy taking classes: you get to see someone knowledgeable in their field walk you through something new, you get to ask questions, and the structured environment works well. So, whether it’s kayaking or snorkeling or photography classes as you walk through Yosemite, we both enjoy a good class. And when the class is about BBQ … well, let’s get to it!
Our class was conducted by Seattle BBQ and Grilling School and held at the Tukwila Community Center … the grilling school has its own facility but was under some additional renovations so they rented a couple rooms in the Community Center. But, the facilities were just fine: a nice classroom area for talking through the specifics and sitting down to eat, and an industrial kitchen with access to outdoor grills for doing the cooking!
While there were about 20 students and it felt a touch crowded at times, there was plenty of food and Stu, our instructor, did a fine job of engaging everyone and keeping a lot of folks busy preparing foods. The class was a 6-hour affair (10AM-4PM) so I wondered how we’d fill the time without just watching a hunk of meat spinning on a rotisserie. But, with all he talked about and all we did, there really wasn’t a period of time we weren’t engaged, eating, or cleaning up. It was a great class.
We started with a class session, learning about temperatures and types of meat, what “low heat” really is, and the difference between BBQ-ing and grilling. He talked about injections and when to do it, told stories of his many lessons in learning how to BBQ, and went over the 3-2-1 method of grilling. And pretty quickly it was into the kitchen for some hands-on learning!
We started with rubs, injections, and sauces. Stu would take some of the cheapest and most common off-the-shelf ingredients (Cash and Carry’s BBQ sauce at $5/gallon), he tossed in handfuls of rub or other spices, then made a small pouch of garlic and jalapenos in cheese cloth to steep it in the heating sauce … low and slow. Which was their motto for everything: low and slow.
And, over the next couple hours, we prepared: a couple pork loins, several chickens (beer can-style, whole butterfly-ed), chicken wings, we did ribs several ways, we stuffed peppers, squash, cabbage, we had pulled pork and brisket (started the day before … and we started one for the class that followed ours the next day), and all were done with both mild and hot rubs.
Out back there were three grills that we’d continually toss more food onto, check temps and doneness, and turn or arrange for more goodies. But, before you knew it, the food was done, the students sliced meats and veggies, laid it all out on platters, and then we moved on through filling up our plates! It was hard to get a sampling of everything on your plate without feeling a bit piggish, but I somehow found room for a bit of all that and a tasty roll! It was a phenomenal feast!
Then everyone headed back into the kitchen for more!
Our second course consisted of grilled apples, candied squash, baked potatoes, yams, and grilled pizza! While it was a long class, we didn’t leave hungry!
We both enjoyed our time with Seattle BBQ and Grilling School and found it a fun way to learn about cooking. My one complaint about the class is that it’s hard to get low and slow right, even with a 6-hour session. A lot of the meat had a bit more chew to it than I was hoping for (yup, I love my ribs falling off the bone!) and some of the meats were just a touch dry (even with the injecting). I really wanted this to be better than any BBQ I’d ever had and, while very nice, I’ve enjoyed other BBQ better.
A final tip-of-the-hat to Stu for his time teaching us about grilling and BBQ-ing; while I won’t run out and get that $1000 entry-level Trager, I will approach my backyard Weber with a bit more confidence and be ready for the summer grilling season!