What are your plans for Father’s Day this Sunday? We’re going to be in Chicago with extended family and upwards of 30 cousins. It’s always a good time, and I’m sure all the guys will end up together outside by the grill.
I have to credit my own dad, Bob Graham, for giving me an adventurous attitude toward food. Even though he wasn’t really a barbecuer, he was a gourmand and would prepare dishes out of Gourmet magazine.
Sometimes the dishes would hit, and sometimes they would miss, but watching my dad in the kitchen has given me a fearless attitude when it comes to trying new foods on the grill. My dad always gives feedback on new recipes I’m trying out.
This June your team was defending a 2014 championship title at the Holy Smokes barbecue festival. How did that go? Our barbecue team is called Rub Me Tender and is made up of six guys, five of which are my friends from childhood. We’ve been doing this together for the past 11 years, and it’s just a fun atmosphere with about 40 teams and 900 people who came to scope out — or should I say smoke out — the competition.
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I love to cook outside. Now I’m trying to master the art of using different kinds of wood to flavor the meat. While our team didn’t take first place overall like we did last year, we did finish in the top 10, which was our goal.
In certain circles you are called the Sausage King for the signature links you make with pork and pears. Why did you choose this satay recipe to share? This is an easy appetizer that everyone seems to like. Instead of a smoky barbecue, this is more like Asian street food and is perfect for sharing.
When it comes to barbecuing and smoking, you really can’t go wrong with pork. It is flavorful with a higher fat content and is generally hard to mess up. Skewers are fun to make on the grill — and these are a little spicier. The fish sauce also adds a lot to the pork, but people can’t identify the “secret” ingredient they’re tasting.
It’s no secret that you build a lot of cooking camaraderie around your grill — but there also seems to be some blowing smoke, too. Food is a big part of family life. Every week we try to have the big Sunday dinner with my dad and family. I might make something like ribs that takes all day to smoke but are gone within an hour of us being together.
It’s also fun when we get together to tell all the old family stories, which get a little tastier each time. It’s amazing how many memories we share that are related to some family dinner or gathering around food. But there’s nothing better than making memories over a meal.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. Email her at email@example.com to nominate a cook.
Grilling is a labor of love for Rich Graham, and when he barbecues for family and friends, everyone tastes the love.
Residence: Overland Park
Occupation: Paper and packaging company sales director
Special cooking interest: Grilling and smoking
Family: Married to Nancy with five children: Ryan, 21; Tommy, 18; and 15-year-old triplets, Bridget, Kathleen and Maura.
“I like when Dad grills, because I’m a carnivore,” Bridget says.
“Maura is on a mission trip to Nicaragua,” Kathleen says of her absent sister. “So that means more pork skewers for us!”
Asian Pork Satay
Makes 12 to 15 skewers
For the skewers:
1 medium shallot, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 (11/2 pound) pork shoulder roast, cut into 11/2-inch-wide by 4-inch-long strips
For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
Toasted sesame seeds, optional garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional garnish
To make the marinade for the skewers: Into a large glass mixing bowl, whisk shallot, garlic, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce and Sriracha together. While whisking, drizzle in vegetable and sesame oils to create an emulsion. Add pork to emulsified mixture and stir to coat evenly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
While pork is marinating, soak 12 to 15 bamboo skewers in water and make dipping sauce: In a clean glass mixing bowl, whisk brown sugar, peanut butter, crushed red pepper, garlic, soy sauce and lime juice together until well combined. If you care for a smooth sauce, run liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to 450 degrees.
Thread marinated pork onto skewers and discard used marinade. Grill skewers over hot coals or on gas grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until cooked through and lightly charred on outside. Place onto serving platter and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro, if desired. Pour dipping sauce into desired bowl and serve immediately with skewers.
Per serving, based on 12, skewers only: 153 calories (74 percent from fat), 13 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 31 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 59 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.
Per serving (dipping sauce): 59 calories (44 percent from fat), 3 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 5 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 826 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.