Cooking with Fire: Cowboy Cauldron
10 Tips for a Grilling Party This Summer
By Cowboy Cauldron Founder, Mike Bertelsen
Using a Cowboy Cauldron, you are setting yourself apart from the crowd. A Cauldron party isn’t called a Cauldron party. It’s not a barbeque, either. It’s a Burn.
Here are 10 tips for your Burn. Used individually or in combinations of your own, these ideas will make your events the talk of the town:
1 – Serve something local, and grill it. Don’t get caught up in thinking that only protein gets grill treatment. Something as simple as a full head of local romaine or butter lettuce, cut in half and grilled face down. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and serve with a bare shaving of Parmesan cheese.
2- South America’s most famous chef, Francis Malmann, is the world’s foremost authority on open fire cooking. His main culinary thesis is that at least one thing on any plate should be burnt. This means a little bit black. See tip # 3:
3- Don’t turn. Seriously. People who cook on grills can’t seem to let things stay in one place. They are constantly turning food over and over and over. You have to let things being cooked over fire stay long enough to really brown. This does not mean gray! It means brown. Dark brown. Maybe even black where the metal of the grill touches. Doing this lets the chemistry of cooking work for you. Resist temptation and let things cook.
4- Mix it up. Everybody has had steaks, dogs, & burgers. Not so with goat. Or sheep. Or Octopus. Push your culinary boundaries. There is so much good food out there.
5- Get your guests involved. Serve kabobs or something similar where the guest gets to assemble and cook his/her own entrée. It gets everyone together around the Cauldron, and sets dinner off with everyone already together, without being called to the table, which can be a bit stuffy for summer.
6- Pre-Burn. Start early – with the fire, that is…. Light it at least a full hour before guests arrive, and make it a big ‘ol fire of oak or some other hardwood. You want your cooking fire to be well-established early on. You don’t want to be waiting for a fire to get right when hungry guests are milling about.
7- Libation Sensation! Noting will get a party off to a quicker start than a truly great drink to kick things off. If you are a bartending whiz, you can display your prowess. If not, try a few recipes in advance, then have pitchers of something truly magnificent at the ready. Serve them in nice glassware, too.
8- Take it to the streets, (or the beach, or somewhere else interesting). Cauldrons can be moved around easily. And they draw a huge amount of attention. Rather than another backyard event, go somewhere cool and set up.
9- Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble. Put the fire underneath your Cauldron! You can make soup, do a clambake, boil lobsters, serve crawfish, or whatever. You are only limited by your imagination. Serving up dinner from the steaming Cauldron will be something people remember for a long, long time.
10- Cook on a Spit. It’s easy. Really, truly, easy. Don’t get caught up in thinking that you have to do a whole pig, either. Duck, goose, flank steak, and any number of other small things cook easily on a spit. You, as the spitmaster, will be regarded as some kind of culinary demi-god. Just don’t let anyone else know it’s bonehead simple.