Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tail Gate Cuisine: How Chef Rusty Hamlin from the Zac Brown Band does it.

Smack dab in the middle of the Summertime touring season and that means...TAILGATE! Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney are both out and about, playing stadiums and amphitheatres across the country through August. Plenty of time for you to get your parking lot party ready, and - in addition to the proper decorations and accoutrements (got to make sure that tiki bar feng shui is working) - that means food and drink. Sure, some Brats on the grill and a cooler full of Landsharks count as food and drink. But, if you really want to impress the temporary neighbors, you've gotta up your game. So, here are some recipes to add a little zing to your fling, some get up to your set up, get the idea. The first one comes from a man that knows his way around a mobile grill, Chef Richard "Rusty" Hamlin - an old friend from my bar and restaurant days, touring chef for the Zac Brown Band, and the food wizard behind the now famous pre-show "Eat and Greets". Rusty currently lives in the Atlanta area, but his roots are in Louisiana, where he graduated from the Culinary Arts Institute of Louisiana, and got his first kitchen training on the Belle of Baton Rouge river boat casino. Mixing Cajun food with a southern flair, Rusty is known for meticulously grilled pork and beef tenderloin, slathered in Zac Brown's own sauces and rubs. Here, "Chef Rusty" offers up an easy appetizer that will definitely make the people parked on either side of you stand up and take notice...

CUCUMBER BRUCHETTA w/ Grilled Shrimp & Crab Salad (serves up to 24)

3 Seedless Cucumbers (2½ cut on a bias into ¼ inch thick rounds, ½ cucumber tiny dice)
½ Red Bell Pepper (tiny dice)
½ Green Bell Pepper (tiny dice)
2 Bulbs Shallots (tiny dice)
½ Head Garlic (tiny dice)
1 Lemon (juiced)
1 Lime (juiced)
1/8 cup Cilantro (minced)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 firm Avocado (seed and skin removed, tiny dice)
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Louisiana Hot Sauce
½ lb Shrimp
¼ lb Lump Crab Meat (blue/local)
¼ oz chives (rough chop, for garnish)

Skewer, salt, pepper and oil shrimp. Grill over med-high heat. Remove and set aside to cool.
Sift through crab meat to find any remaining shell.
Once shrimp has cooled, cut into tiny pieces and shred crab meat.
Add shrimp, crab, and all remaining ingredients (except for the cucumber rounds and chives) in a mixing bowl and mix. Add a spoonful of mixture to each cucumber round, and garnish with the chives. Chill slightly before serving.

The next two recipes come from the "Eddie Ray's and BR's Food Club" group on Facebook

Brats and Drunken Pepper Sandwich 
Servings 4 Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 0:15
submitted by:qgriffith

1 package Bratwursts

1 whole Yellow bell pepper

1 whole Red bell pepper

1 whole Red onion

4 cloves Minced Garlic

1 package Hoogie buns

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 teaspoon Butter
1 tablespoon Red chili flakes

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon Black pepper

1/2 cup Flavorful Beer

4 tablespoons Spicy Brown Mustard

1.Slice the peppers and onions into thin strips
2.Grill the brats on the grill or a grill pan
3.While the brats are grilling, in a sauce pan add the onions, peppers olive oil, butter and garlic cook over medium low heat.
4.In about 3 minutes pour in the beer and season with the red chili flakes, kosher salt, and pepper.
5.Let the pepper mixture simmer and reduce.
6.Set the brats aside when they are finished cooking
7.Split and Toast the hoogie buns
8.Assemble the sandwich by putting the mustard on the bun, with the brat, and then add some of the peppers.

BR’s Blackberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
• 3 cups ketchup
• ½ cup chopped onion
• ½ cup water
• 1 can chipotle chilies (smoked jalapenos), chopped
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• ¼ cup honey
• ½ cup - yellow mustard
• 2 cups blackberries
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• Sea salt, to taste
• 1 cup Thick & Chunky Salsa

Puree Blackberries, onions and chipotle peppers. Add all ingredients together in a pan and simmer for 1 hour. Let cool and it is ready… Great Flavor with a little kick.

Here's one for a kick yer butt boat drink, from my brother in law - Dr. Tom Bulle - an avid sailor and regular visitor to the BVI.
Rum Punch
Makes just over 5 gallons - enough for @ 50 12 oz drinks. When you want to make alot of new friends...

1 1/2 Gallons Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 Gallons Orange Juice
3/4 Gallon Sweetened Lime Juice (8 small bottles)
3/4 Gallon Dark Rum
3/4 Gallon Myers rum
1 bottle Grenadine

Here's one for a traditional New Orleans Sandwich you can make in advance - when you don't feel like grilling but still want something more than just a boring hoagie...
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Ingredients For Olive Salad:

1 Cup Each Pitted Green and Black Olives, Coarsely Chopped
1 Tbsp Tiny Capers
1/3 Cup Diced (1/4 inch) Roasted Bell Pepper

1/4 Cup Diced (1/4 inch) Celery, with leaves
2 Tbsp Chopped, flat-leaf Parsley
2 Teaspoon Finely Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper To Taste
For Sandwich
1 Round Peasant Bread (about 7 inches in diameter, 5 inches high) halved crosswise, insides pulled out.
4 Oz Each Thinly Sliced Genoa Salami and Mortadella     
4 Oz Thinly Sliced Provolone Cheese
Prepare the Olive Salad ahead of time: Combine all the ingredients and set aside in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer. 
Assemble the sandwich: Spread half of the Olive Salad on the bottom half of the bread. Layer with salami, provolone and mortadella, then top with the remaining Olive Salad. Cover with the top of the bread, press down and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour. Unwrap, cut into 6 wedges using a serrated knife, then wrap them for the road. Be sure to hollow out the bread so the salad can fit inside. TIP: Wrap the sandwiches in wax paper and cut in half ahead of time.

Wings and Burgers...

Grilled Cilantro Lime Wings
          3 lb chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup honey and
  • 1/2 cup ketchup tomato
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Tabasco to taste
        1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
The night before: Combine honey, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Add wings; toss to coat well. Refrigerate over night.

For Sauce
Combine 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 lime juiced and zested, 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and 1 clove of minced garlic. Place in refrigerator.
At the tailgate: Place wings on a barbecue grill; grill over medium high heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning often and basting with reserved marinade, until wings are cooked.
For super saucy wings, reserve or make extra marinade....reduce on low heat on stove top and toss wings again once they are off the grill. Serve with a cilantro lime yogurt sauce.

Maui Onion and Pineapple Burgers
         1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 4 buttered, grilled onion rolls
  • Maui Onion and Pineapple Relish
  • 1 cup diced Maui onion (or substitute red onion)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pineapple
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt

  • Add ground beef into a bowl and mix in teriyaki sauce, salt and peppers until throughout. Form 4 patties and place in an airtight container for transport to the tailgate site.
  • To make Maui Onion and Pineapple Relish: Add ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over medium-low heat for about 15 - 20 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer into an airtight container.
  • Grill burgers on a lightly oiled rack over medium-high heat, 5 minutes on each side for medium burgers. Top with Maui Onion and Pineapple Relish and serve on hamburger buns.
Makes 4 servings