Chow Town

Last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas for culinary dads who love the grill

Dave Eckert recommends Ardie Davis’ “25 Essentials: Techniques for Smoking” cookbook for a perfect Father’s Day gift.
Dave Eckert recommends Ardie Davis’ “25 Essentials: Techniques for Smoking” cookbook for a perfect Father’s Day gift.

Last month, I came up with a few suggestions for the foodie moms in your lives. Today, I return the favor as I weigh in on some gifts sure to bring a smile to the culinary dads we all know and love.

I’ve mentioned several times in the past that as I get older, buying presents for me is an increasingly risky proposition — some hits, many misses. But when it comes to food-themed gifts, you’re likely to hit the bull’s-eye every time.

With that in mind, here are my quick thoughts on some gift ideas for your Father’s Day pleasure. And, if any spouse or child with the last name Eckert happens to be reading this, well, that’s OK too.

First — beef! I know it’s a cliche, but most dads really do love a well-marbled, well-seasoned, well-cooked steak. It’s even better if that steak happens to be free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Barham Family Farms in Kearney offers just that — a selection of beef, pork and chicken that’s delicious, local and sourced from humanely raised animals.

Kenny Barham is a friend and neighbor of mine. He welcomes visitors to the farm, which has been in his family for more than 100 years. Or, you can pick up his products at the Liberty Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the summer.

Louis Fantasma, plant manager at Paradise Locker Meats, also weighed in on the meat front.

“I know it sounds simple, but just a big-ass steak! We started years ago offering single-bone, frenched rib-eyes for a Father’s Day special, and we never took them off the shelves,” Fantasma said. “There’s something about bone-in and 30-plus ounces that just does it for us men.”

Now that you’ve got your meat, you might as well get some expert advice on how to cook it up. For that, I turn to three of the most knowledgeable, prolific and nicest grilling and smoking experts you’ll find anywhere.

The fact that Ardie Davis, Karen Adler and Judith Fertig are Kansas Citians makes it even better. Among them, the three have inked well over a dozen cookbooks — some individually, others through collaborations.

Davis, also known as Remus Powers, Ph.B. (Philosopher of Barbecue), is a man I’ve known for more than a quarter century. He is a well-known barbecue expert, and one of his more famous books, “25 Essentials: Techniques for Smoking,” just got a reprint. The companion, “25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling,” is also available. Buy them both because they are, as the titles suggest, essential!

Adler also has an “Essentials” book, one on grilling fish, but I’m here to recommend her latest effort with fellow Que Queen and foodie extraordinaire Judith Fertig, “Red, White and ’Que.” This book will amp up the skill of any daddy grill master no matter his current status. From appetizers to desserts, “Red, White, and ’Que” is a great Father’s Day gift from which the whole family will benefit.

Lastly, for the dad who does all or most of the cooking, I want to talk briefly about a meal service I just discovered called Gobble. I recently received a Gobble kit as a gift. I didn’t think I was going to like it since I’m more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of cook, but I have to admit that 10-minute dinner kits delivered to your door with three-step recipe cards is pretty darn sweet. I wouldn’t want it all the time, but some would, and Gobble is a pretty nice option for figuring out what you’re going to cook at the last minute.

Before I close things out, I got some great last-minute ideas from the local Facebook page “Hardcore KC Foodies.” And while I can’t elaborate on these, I thought they were worth passing along.

Happy Father’s Day!

Dave Eckert is a partner with Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based gourmet food incubator and co-packer. Before that, Eckert was the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and AWE for 12 seasons.