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From the Grill

August 18, 2015

A juicy steak fresh off the grill is a perfect combination with Paso Wine! Vernie Ogden, Pit Master of Central BBQ at Sextant Wines has some fun twists on a few traditional grill dishes to spice up your summer fare.

When I think of summer I immediately think of BBQ and all of the comfort food that goes with it. As a kid, I enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers. Now that I have grown, I enjoy those same foods, and with a little twist, ever so slight but a twist nonetheless.

Hot DogsWhen going with hot dogs I prefer either a Kosher beef hot dog or a Louisiana hot link. Everyone has their own preference on toppings. At my house, we prefer to use onions that have been grilled next to the dogs, and we tend to gravitate towards a spicy mustard for a condiment. We also love a sweet pickle relish. Just before we plate our dogs, we like to grill the buns for that last bit of grilling flavor. Finally, we pair these dogs with a nice, cool glass of white wine sangria. Using a dry white such as a Sauvignon Blanc will highlight the fruit flavors you add. We always choose a nice peach and lemonade combination!
HamburgersMany people think that a lean meat burger is the way to go, but what happens is they tend to dry out. I recommend that you use a 70-80% fat/hamburger grind to make burgers with. Of course, they shrink up a bit, but they have so much flavor, and they will be juicy. As far as spices, I simply use salt and pepper. Condiments and toppings on a burger can go in many directions. One of my favorites is grilled pineapple, so I will grill several spears along with zucchini, onions, and mushrooms. When adding cheese, I tend to not go crazy in this area, either a Cheddar or a Swiss is preferred at my house. Saucing your burger can transform it from sweet to spicy or even the old tried and true bold flavor. I almost forgot, don't forget the bacon! We place bacon right on the grill too! Once we have all these tasty grilled items, it is a free-for-all to build your favorite burger. Red wine sangria pairs beautifully with a juicy burger. Don’t forget to let your sangria sit for a few hours to bring all the flavors together. Choosing a Cabernet Sauvignon will bring out the fruitiness of the sangria and make for a refreshing treat. Throw in a few orange, lime, and lemon slices for zest!
Italian Sausage

At my house, we enjoy taking Italian sausages, splitting them down the middle, and placing them on the grill. Combining those grilled sausages with pasta tossed in a freshly-made light red or pesto sauce brings a very nice outdoor feel and flavor to a traditional dinner. Using homemade sauces are best, especially with more than enough garlic! Pairing this dish with a zesty Zinfandel will bring forth the hints of mint, lavender, and ripe, jammy fruits.
Pork LoinWhen it comes to pork loin, I enjoy the flavors achieved by a simple marinade. For the marinade, I will take lime zest, lime juice, honey, kosher salt and garlic powder. Combine these spices in a small bowl to mix it up. Then place the contents into a large re-sealable bag along with a Chipotle pepper that has been marinating in an adobo sauce (it's my current favorite pepper). You can find these in your local grocery store. Finally, I will squeeze out as much air as possible and place it in the refrigerator to let sit overnight. The next day it is ready to grill. Over medium to high heat on the grill, I like to get a nice crusty bark that covers the entire outside. The desired internal temperature for pork is 145 degrees. Once you've reached this temperature, take the meat off, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing it. Fill your glass with a tasty Rhone-style GSM Blend to bring all the flavors together. Grenache based blends are best to give a lighter, fruit forward approach.
Grilled Vegetables

One of the favorite past times is to grill vegetables. Easily, my favorite is asparagus. The vegetables all get a quick spritz of olive oil and a light dusting of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Other vegetables that we grill are eggplant, zucchini, and even artichoke. The most important thing to remember about grilling vegetables is that less is more. Too much time on the grill can overcook them, especially if they have been sliced thin. Veggies go great with a nice, crisp Chardonnay. Citrus fruit flavors and hints of nutmeg and chamomile allow the vegetables to shine through.
Flank Steak

Marinades are a great way to add moisture and flavor to any grilled meats. Combining flavors of scallion, garlic, spices, herbs, and citrus then allowing them to soak into a nice flank steak for a minimum of six hours will create powerful smells and tastes that will excite your senses. Grilling your marinated steak for approximately 5-6 minutes on each side will give a nice crust and a perfect medium-rare center. Serve topped with cilantro and salsa for an extra spice! Don’t forget your bottle of Bordeaux-style Blend as it is a great compliment to the spicy flank steak. A Bordeaux-style Blend can stand up to the juicy steak by providing its own big, dark fruit flavors and perfectly balanced tannins.
Grilled Peaches

Finishing off your meal with grilled fruits will give you a delicious dessert without the guilt. Halving peaches, glazing them with vanilla and oil, then placing them on the grill just long enough to give them a nice grill mark will add the right amount of sweetness to any meal. A beautiful blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah blend makes for an excellent addition to this dessert. In particular, the bold blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry flavors ignited in the wine work well with a warm grilled peach. Top your peach halves off with a crème anglaise sauce and fresh blueberries for texture, and you have the perfect end to a grilled masterpiece