Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grilled Beef & Basil Rolls

My parents stayed with us this past weekend and my mom mentioned that they were trying to eat light, so not to worry about making a huge meal. So I decided to make it a day of little bites.

One of the tapas I made was Steven Raichlen's Grilled Beef & Basil Rolls from The Barbecue Bible (one of the BBQ book standards...it's well, a "BBQ Bible"). They looked simple to make and seemed to make a great presentation.

Grilled Beef & Basil Rolls
Source: slightly adapted from The Barbecue Bible

1 lb ground beef, lean
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
5 teaspoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons black pepper
40 leaves fresh basil, rinsed

Mix together the beef, garlic, fish sauce, sugar and black pepper. Divide into little "meat gnocchi".

Wrap each meat dumpling with a basil leaf. Make sure to wrap the leaf tightly and then impale onto a kabob. Wait that sounds brutal...um, spear with a kabob. Stab with a kabob? Thread! Thread onto a kabob! Do 5 per skewer.

Preheat your grill to 400f and then grill direct for 2 minutes per side.

These were a great little appetizer and I would make them again, but I didn't make them perfectly this time.

First, I doubled the quantities (the ones listed above are already doubled) except the fish sauce but only came out with 40 rolls compared to the 50-60 that the recipe says you get with 1/2 of the ingredients. The math says that I made my meat dumplings too big but they didn't look that much bigger than the pics in his book.

Second, I must have "measured" too much black pepper because they packed a kick. We made up for the heat by making a quick sweet dipping sauce of cherry preserves, hoisin, soy sauce and believe it or not, a hint of Coca Cola. The coke was added kind of as a joke but hey, it is sweet.

Update:
Have had some discussion about these on the Egg forum and in the comments here. The temperature listed (400f) was the dome temperature at the top of the Egg. With this direct heat set up, the temperature at the grate was probably more like 450-500f. With this short of a cooking time, it's kind of hard to overcook these even with a higher temp. I'd recommend trying a test batch first on your grill and adjusting the time by 30 seconds if needed. For ours, they were done after 2 minutes per side, but we cut them open to make sure;)

28 comments:

  1. Here is your Viet style recipe. :) This is really awesome. Never seen any meat grilled in a whole herb leaf before. Funny that you also used less fish sauce. Maybe we can work up the nerve to use more if we find the right brand!

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  2. Wow, that sounds great! I don't think my basil plant has leaves on it big enough to wrap around anything...I'll have to give it more time.

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  3. I love the idea of wrapping the beef in a basil leaf. It really makes for a very pretty presentation!!

    Hope you had a great visit with you Mom!!

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  4. These mini-beefy - packs are adorable!! Really a meat gnocchi! The combination with the basil must taste superb :)

    Cheers,

    Gera

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  5. I have a batch of fresh basil in my kitchen right now. I was wondering what I should do with them. Now I don't have to wonder any more. Thanks!

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  6. I'll bet Mom likes having you cook for her.

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  7. Yum - what an elegant little bites! I'm sure your mother was impressed. My son, who's quite the foodie, is coming for a visit next week. We always have such fun in the kitchen.

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  8. Wow...these look great! I am having an Asian themed party in September, and these will be a great appetizer! Thanks for sharing, Chris!

    Kim in MD

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  9. Eating light? Try making them some sliders!

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  10. Excuse the ignorance but I've never had fish sauce. Is it really, um, fishy? LOL

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  11. Oh wow, Chris, your beef and basil rolls are to die for! I definitely want to try making these. Does grilling for 2 minutes per side, cook the ground beef all the way through?

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  12. Those are very interesting! They look great.

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  13. @April:
    It's not what you would think, but it doesn't smell good to me. But it works in a recipe for me. It's often used in Thai and other Asian dishes as an ingredient, not like a condiment.

    @Katherine:
    In retrospect, 400f was the dome temp at the top of the Egg. I was cooking these in small batches over the hottest part of the fire so it was probably a bit hotter like 450-500f at the grate. But yes, because they are so small, 2 minutes per side cooked them through. But test them on your grill with 1 batch first.

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  14. Great idea! I've got a ton of basil and have been looking to do something more interesting than pesto.

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  15. I have the basil plant, book,the meat,spices etc.,but could you send a letter to Ms. Goofy to get me and Egg!

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  16. These look positively delicious! I definitely see these in my future with all the basil I have growing. And I bet an Italian seasoned version would be pretty awesome. (I always use less fish sauce than called for too - I don't mind the flavor but my family does...)

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  17. Ooooh tasty looking. And you stabbed stuff, so that is cool too.

    Hope this was light enough for the folks!

    I also like the cherry coke dip. OK not Cherry Coke, but cherry preserve and Coke, but dang it, we haven't had Cherry Coke in these parts for several years and it's my fave.

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  18. Hay,

    Awww, such lovely treatment to meat. Thank you! It means you love meat, you really do.

    xo, Biggles

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  19. I much prefer tapas anyway. Although..they may seem lighter but I probably eat more of them because I'm sitting there thinking "Hey these are tiny! I should eat ten of them!" I would probably eat ten of these. They look seriously tasty.

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  20. I think these are really clever and unique! I love the combination of beef with basil - yum.

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  21. Great idea Chris. I love basil and this sounds really really good.

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  22. I would never have thought to wrap meat in basil. I often make basil meatballs in summer and this is an idea I would love to try. Thanks for stopping by.

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  23. Chris, are these as good as they look?!? Gotta give 'em a try!

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  24. Great idea! I'm putting these in my folder for our football food buffets :-)

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  25. Oh how CUTE! It's a Vietnamese inspired recipe - next time try with ground pork and add some grated fresh ginger too.

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  26. Vietnamese cuisine usually have a lot of herbs and spices. This adds flavor to the meal.

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