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Grills of Eleuthera

A closer look at the Coco Plums pit.  Imagine it in it's heyday...fire engine red, laden with fish, pork and lobster, smoking hot.

I have been to the Bahamas many times.  So when I visited my son on Eleuthera at The Island School, I was expecting to see a lot of sand, sun, palm trees, dogs, old cars, water, mangroves, chickens, conch shells, boats, and other ‘island stuff’.

What I never expected to see were hundreds of grills and barbecue pits.  In my short time, I was able to take a few pictures, but this barely scratches the surface of the thriving grill and barbecue culture that permeates the island.  On the Saturday afternoon my family drove from Cape Eleuthera to Governor’s Harbor, there were dozens of pits, fired up and bellowing smokes in neighborhood parks, backyards and by the side of the road.

All the grills showed wear and tear and all were beautiful.

Cheers to Eleuthera!  The most Grilladelic island in the world.


A closer look at the Coco Plums pit. Imagine it in it’s heyday…fire engine red, laden with fish, pork and lobster, smoking hot.


Seemingly every house had a BBQ pit
Seemingly every house had a BBQ pit
Tarpum Bay

These grills have seen there share of fish, lobster and conch.

This style is very representative of the pits throughout the island. Salt water is tough, but I am sure the pork is tender

Another fixture in the neighborhood. This pit was in relatively good shape in Governor’s Harbor

This pit was across the street from CocoPlums, a joint that specialized in fresh conch salad. It sat right on the water in Rock Sound. I had a couple of beers there one night, and the live music was incredible. One cat was playing the saw. Very nice folks owned the place.

This shot was taken right before sunset on a rainy afternoon. The pit was part of a community center, right on the water in Rock Sound. The night before this place was hopping with music, people and smoke.

I swear, every street and alley led to someone grilling on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Governor’s Harbor. I like this picture. Lone guy, minding the grill, under a few palm trees, with the ocean due west.

One of a hundred grills along the Queen’s Highway in Eleuthera. This was south of Tarpum Springs.


How to grill chicken like a fireman

Perfectly grilled chicken
Perfectly grilled chicken

It does not get any better than this.

When is the last time you grilled something other than boneless, skinless chicken breasts?  Admit it.  The grilled chicken you buy at local fundraisers, festivals, and community events is as good as it gets.

“Fire Department Chicken” is the generic term for the chicken that is grilled and basted over hardwood coals (or charcoal) typically in large quantities, over open pits and attended by a bunch of busy, mopping, sopping, basting, smoky guys.

Grilladelic is here to tell you that you don’t need to fear the real (skin on, bones-in) chicken any longer.  You won’t burn it.  You won’t dry it out.  You won’t undercook it.  In fact, you will be a hero.

The recipe is simple, the technique is intermediate and the taste is advanced.


1. Start by going to your local butcher and buying chicken quarters or halves.  With the amount of turning and basting, you are better off having a few pieces to deal with rather than having dozens of smaller wings, thighs, legs and breasts to keep your eye on.


2. Make your baste.  The one I have used multiple times is from Food.com.  Here are the basic ingredients:

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
I combine  everything in a pot,  bringing to a boil and then remove from heat. You can modify, but don’t get too creative. This is not broken.  It does not need fixing.
3. I season the chicken.  Salt and pepper.  For a little extra flavor, Lawry’s Salt works well.  Again, don’t go crazy with the dry rubs or seasonings.
4. Since this does not require any pre-marinading, you can get the coals going.  Critical: create 2-3 grill zones.  One hot, one medium and one cold (indirect).
5.  Once the coals are ready and the chicken is prepped, begin grilling.  This is where intermediate skills are needed.  I prefer to sear over direct heat and then move to indirect heat.  This takes a little time.  Chicken skin can burn quickly if unattended
6. During this process I begin basting using a pastry brush or grill brush.  Pretty heavy.  Be careful, this flares.  From this point I am basting every time I turn the chicken, moving it from direct to indirect.  I constantly move the chicken around the grill, baste, turn for the next thirty minutes.  Once I have a nice tan and crispy skin, I move all chicken to the indirect side, baste heavy and then close the lid and let cook for about another 30 minutes.  If you are cooking in an open pit, move to a safe zone and baste, turn at a slower rate.
It should take you about 75-90 minutes.  Double check with an internal temperature gauge. I trust 175 degrees to pull.
Almost done


Read more at: http://www.food.com/recipe/fire-department-chicken-231457?oc=linkback

Southern Foodways Alliance Conference

Check out this video by the Southern Foodways Alliance. This is a promotional piece for their upcoming conference centering on “barbecue culture”.

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Carpe Barbequemus!


Join Chef Tina Marie (Kissing Rock Kitchens) and John “Grilladelic” Rumery for an evening of barbecue debauchery!

There will be meats, sauces, rubs, smoke, sides, friends and profound discussions into how barbecue can be used as a force of goodness in the world.

This special course will feature traditional American barbecue.   Learn the skills to prepare beef brisket, pork shoulder (enroute to pulled pork), pork ribs, barbecued chicken and the all important side dishes that make barbecue as much of an “experience” as a food.

For this class, all the meats will be cooked with hardwood lump charcoal on a Weber kettle and a Weber Smoky Mountain Smoker. However the preparation and techniques can be used on any grill or smoker with only minor adjustments.

Specific discussion points will include:
• To rub or not to rub?
• What is a mop, a sop, a marinade?
• What is a brine and why should I care?
• Does barbecue really need a sauce?
• Where are all the great local butchers?
• Isn’t smoking bad for your health?
• Where can I find good barbecue in west Michigan?

This class will be hands on, a bit messy and very delicious.
July 31
6:00 – 9:00
Registration Fee:  50.00

Bring your cooler of Adult Beverages and Come as early as 4:00 for true smell of Summer BBQ, class begins at 6:00 with the ceremony of “Prepping the Ribs”!

To register contact:
Chef Tina Marie

Mid-summer updates and new product reviews

Hoping to repeat this award winning chicken.

Time flies!  Wow, although our posts are less frequent we have been active supporting and promoting the local BBQ supply chain, mostly via our Facebook page.

Now for the update:

First, the Taste of Grand Rapids/State of Michigan BBQ Competition is scheduled for July 22 and 23.  If you are planning to attend, Grilladelic will be hosting a small party on the 22nd, from 6:30pm-9:00pm.  We will be grilling fresh sausages made by our friends at John Russo’s plus serving some side dishes we are entering into the competition.  Of course “the meat” of the competition is Saturday and thanks to Kingmas Butcher Shoppe, we will be barbecuing exclusively with Kingmas meats.

Hoping to repeat this award winning chicken.

Stop on by and say hi!

Now for the new product reviews (really product recommendations)

1. Empire Patio Covers.

I was pleasantly surprised when I tried an Empire grill cover.  Back in the day, at
The Outdoor Cook, my experience with grill covers was underwhelming.  Either the covers were inexpensive and “cheap” (barely lasted one season, ripped easily, etc) or very expensive and still did not last as long. The folks from Empire sent me a large cover which I used on my gas grill (an Australian style barbie)

The cover was lightweight, flexible and looked nice!  I have used it for several weeks and it seems to do the trick of protecting the grill.  Of course the real value for grill covers is best measured over months, not weeks so I will update everyone later in the grill season on how it is holding up…but I can say this, the price point is very nice.  Besides grill covers, Empire has hundreds of other products.

One of the best grill covers on the market
One of the best covers on the market

2. Texas Grill Brush

I grill early and often.  I always clean grates prior to my next cook and folks let me tell you:  this is a “professional” grill brush.

Similar to grill covers, the market is inundated with “cheap” grill brushes.  Enter the Texas Grill Brush.  These custom made brushes are so nice and really perform.  Long handled with heavy duty bristles, it really makes cleaning the grates a snap.  Good folks too. Bill has been a great guy to connect with.    In my book that is important.

3. Barlows

There is a new sauce boss in town.

The Michigan based sauce makers have a nice thing going on.  Just tried both the regular and “kicked up” and both were great.  I preferred the “kicked up” because I like the extra spice and heat.  Our Grilladelic friend, Dale Barlow is a “buy local/think global” type of guy.  Highly recommend these sauces.

The Grilladelic Trail Part 1. The Butchers

steak and asparagus

“What a kid I got, I told him about the birds and the bee and he told me about the butcher and my wife.”

Rodney Dangerfield quotes (American Comedian, 1921-2004)

Kingmas on Plainfield. My go-to store.  Top sirloin, fresh sausages, smoked porkchops, boneless turkey breasts…the list goes on.  Custom orders are welcome.  Ask for Dave or Derek.  Both Grilladelic friends.

Van Balls on Plainfield. Old school.  Cash or check only.  Usually have skirt and flat iron steaks in the cooler.

Storeys in Cedar. Friend Aaron Kamphuis recommends.  Good enough for me.

Sobies Meat in Walker. Damn the Smokin’ Scotsmen! (They are a tough team to beat on the KCBS circuit) Nice meat market and the owner is the saxophonist in Mid Life Crisis.

Montellos in Holland Previously reviewed by Grilladelic.

Birds Farm Meats- Howard City Mythical reputation.

The Grist Mill in Cannonsburg Don and Gordie.  One of the few places with authentic tri-tip in the cooler.

Dave Delski’s Prime Meats Never been here, but multiple recommendations and a good story (posted on their website)

Cherry Wood Fired Cedar Plank Salmon

The finished fish

This Easter we spent the day chopping up a poplar tree that was cut down on the property on Good Friday. Brian and I made a good stack of kindling to heat the shop next winter. Afterward, I had enough steam left in the axe to split up a little cherry wood for a cedar plank salmon grill out.

Fresh Coho salmon just placed on the plank

Brian closing the lid.

The cedar plank came from a local saw mill. Last year I built a fence out of it. This year the left over boards were cut up into 14″ pieces for grilling fish. We soaked the board for about 8 hours in a bucket of water prior to laying it on the grill.

The grill we used is an old Brinkman “smoker” that used to belong to my dad. It’s been sitting outside for about 3 years, so it’s seen better days. My son and I also use it to make mini camp fires to roast marshmallows. We did the same thing this time as we were getting the fire going, and he threw just about every scrap of wood laying around the chopping block into the tall green enclosure. The fire proceeded to rage and the finish burnt right off the old grill. We determined it was about ready for a re-finish anyway, but that it’s a great outdoor cooker with many uses.

The cherry wood smoke smells like no other fire. It is a true delight that always reminds me of a cool day living in the woods and cherishing the beauty and serenity of the country. Once the fire was at the right burn, we laid the plank on the grate and placed a one and a half pound piece of coho salmon from Stowe Seafood on it. Next to that we placed a small piece (that would not be glazed) for the little one to try.

Apple jalepeno jelly glaze

J pouring on the glaze

The glaze consisted of:

  • Brian’s Apple Jalapeno Jelly (any good apple, fig or citrus preserve works well)
  • A couple tablespoons of olive oil
  • A shot of white wine
  • A good squeeze from half a lemon.

The combination of the cedar plank and the wood fire brought a wonderful smokey earthy taste, and combined with the glaze, created a slightly crisp exterior that was full of flavor. The local beers were flowing, the fire rustling, and the salmon was enjoyed by all!

Getting fired up for BBQ season. Michigan BBQ Competitions

The Brisket King

Here are the 2011 KCBS events in Michigan.  Seize the brisket!  Get a team together and let’s roll!

Silver Lake Apple & BBQ Festival Silver Lake, MI
Contact: Jeff Clark, 9642 W Silver Lake Rd, Mears, MI 49436
Phone: 231-578-2940. jeff@sands-restaurant.com
Results not in.
Monroe County Jam & River Raisin’ Rib Off Monroe, MI
Contact: Hunter Brucks, 881 Stewart Rd, Monroe, MI 48162
Phone: 586-899-0789. hunterbrucks@hotmail.com
Results not in.
Taste of Grand Rapids State BBQ Championship Grand Rapids, MI
Contact: John Bates Phone: 616-776-5533. jbates@clearchannel.com
Results not in.
7th Annual U.P. Hog Wild Kingsford, MI
Contact: John Bertoldi Phone: 906-774-1707. bosshogwild@hotmail.com
Prize Money: $7500.00
Results not in.
Auburn Hills Barbecue Cook-off Auburn Hills, MI
Contact: Shawn Keenan, 1827 N Squirrel Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Phone: 248-364-6926. Fax: 248-364-6939. skeenan@auburnhills.org
Prize Money: $7000.00   CBJ Percentage: 100%
Results not in.
Midwest BBQ Throwdown Mt. Morris, MI
Contact: Christian Miller, 2188 W Mt. Morris, Mt. Morris, MI 48458
Phone: 810-687-0953. gcf@gcf.org
Prize Money: $6000.00
Results not in.
Sam’s Club BBQ Competition Traverse City, MI
Contact: Ron Cates Phone: 870-550-0808. ronnie@catesandcompany.com
Prize Money: $10000.00   CBJ Percentage: 100%
Results not in.
Armada Meats & Motors Cook-Off Armada, MI
Contact: Phillip Kent pkent@armadafair.org
Prize Money: $3000.00

BBQ Glossary

I found this “unique” glossary of terms on the great BBQ Site: Full Custom Gospel BBQ

These terms are not used that much in Michigan, as we lean towards “grilling” when it comes to enjoying the fruits of cooking over an open fire.   But I am hoping to change things…..

Please note: Grilladelic offers it’s ‘two-cents’ in italics…

Crust – Layer of black goodness around the edges of brisket or ribs that holds excellent flavor. I’ve called this part of the ‘que ‘bark’ before. Delicious spicy, smoky crust.

Meat Caramel – After gratuitous amounts of smoke are applied, and liquid rendered fat has come to the surface of the meat to mix with the applied rub, a chemical rendering takes place that creates a sweet sticky layer on the surface of the meat that clings to the tip of your finger when pulled away from the meat. This is affectionately known as meat snot.

Parboiled – A process in which ribs are boiled before being grilled or smoked. This is what makes meat fall off the bone, and it also leaves good, flavorful fat in the water. It’s cheating. 110% agree.  A cardinal sin…too many MI BBQ restaurants are con artists- using this technique to sell BBQ.

Rendered – The process of cooking fat until it literally melts into the meat. Cook it too fast and the fat is absent from the meat creating dryness. If it’s not cooked long enough, the fat remains gelatinous and unsavory. There’s no need to put well rendered fat aside.

Roast-Beefy – Brisket that hasn’t been bathed in smoke, but rather tastes as if it was thrown in an oven like any hunk of roast beef. It might be good food, but it’s not BBQ.

Sauced – Unsolicited BBQ sauce slathered over top of your meat, usually to add what was non-existent flavor in the meat.

Smoke Line – Red line around the outside edge of sliced brisket just below the crust that signifies an adequate amount of time in the smoker. I’ve called this the smoke-ring.

Sugar Cookie – Fat that turns to a slightly sweet and crispy flavorful nugget after copius amounts of smoke are applied.

If not a restaurant…

OK, Grand Rapids needs great BBQ.

If not a restaurant, what about a mobile BBQ scene?