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.

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;)