Sunday, August 21, 2016

Weber Grilling Academy and the iGrill2


I'm going to step away from my usual topic because I have to talk about one of the most fun events I have done in awhile. Occasionally I will post personal things and I feel this is a great one to share. My birthday was August 11th and for my present from my Dad, he and I attended a Smoking 101 class at the Weber Grill Academy here in St Louis.  I am an avid reader but one of my other passions is cooking. I love to cook and grill when I'm not working, playing with the kids, or reading. 

I thought I knew everything there is to know about grilling and smoking meats so I went into this as a fun activity for my Dad and I to bond over. You see, I was born on my Dad's birthday so we have always celebrated our birthday together. This year we didn't on the day because he hit the big 60 and had a big party Last Sunday We still found a way to have our Father/Son birthday time on Saturday last week. Anyway, I thought I knew everything and after this class I realized I knew nothing. Matt and Keith were amazing teachers and taught me the proper way to turn my Weber Kettle into a smoker. I learned how to set up my grill to smoke different meats and the right way to do it based on the situation

I'm  a man who loves to cook, and I love to stand over a hot grill and cook for my family just as much as cooking on the stove. I love sitting outside with a beer and the smell of cooking meat no matter what the weather. I have grilled in blazing heat, rain, and snow. My Weber grill gets use all year round. Give me a good cut of meat and a good beer and I will deal with anything for a great meal. Getting back to the class I took, we made Teriyaki Chicken wings, St Louis Pork Steaks, Meat Loaf, and Corn bread. All of this being smoked to perfection. I had so much fun with this class that I begged my wife to let me make meat loaf smoked on a ceder plank. I begged because she just doesn't like meat loaf, and instead of being the cliche and saying, "You haven't had meat loaf till you have had my meat loaf", I just never made it. I took Weber's recipe and combined it with my burger recipe and made my own version of meat loaf just cooked Weber's way. 

One thing I loved about Weber's Grill Academy was that it wasn't just a sales pitch. Matt and Keith were only concerned about making sure we had the best techniques and skills possible to make the best meal possible. Not once did they try to force Weber products down our throats. Just amazing dishes. Oh yeah, not only did we prepare our own food per their recipes but we got to eat it after is cooked. With that and the steady flowing of Bloody Marys, which were amazing as well, this was one of the best presents I have had. Let me order a drink and eat while learning how to grill and you have my full attention.

Now they never once tryed to push product but knowing I am an avid griller I was asked if I would be willing to take some picture of myself using a product they recently partnered with. The iGrill2 is a grilling thermometer that is really cool and I was more than happy to help out. 

I've used meat thermometers in the past so I knew what do do for the best read. I have an old school one that is analog and I have a digital meat fork that has that built in but they never worked all that well. I still relied on the cut and check method where you cut the meat in the middle to make sure it was cooked all the way through. You loose a lot of juiciness this way which is always a bummer so I was anxious to try out my new toy.

So let's talk about my most recent meal. As a parting gift the Weber Academy did give us a parting gift. They gave us starter cubes which I have never used before. I always use newspaper in my chimney which leaves ash and sometimes I need to put in more paper to get the coals going. These were great. I used two, lighted them like you see here and they started my coals really fast. Where have you been all my life.

I made my loaves of meat and brushed BBQ sauce over them and let them warm to room temp before placing them on the grill. While I waited for that I had my coals going great and needed to prep my cedar planks. Like I learned in class I put them on my hot grill and cooked it until they were popping like popcorn. I then placed my loaves on the planks and placed them over direct hear. I put my thermometer probes in the meat, plugged them in and went inside to spend time with my wife and kiddos. What is really cool about this iGrill2 is it links to my iPhone. I was able to check on the meat from the comfort of my couch.



Now this screen shot is from when I first started cooking. I was so excited I didn't think to screen shot the finished product or take a picture of the finished product. All you need to know was it looked, smelled, and tasted so good!!! My wife doesn't like meat loaf as I mentioned earlier and she said she liked this and would like to have it again. I call this a win. I loved the iGrill2 and can't wait for this coming weekend to get things going again. I'm going to slow smoke chicken with some of Weber's Beer Can Chicken seasoning. It should be good. Thank you for reading this one. I know it was lengthy but I really could have gone on and on. If you are a big griller or know someone close to you who is, please check out the iGrill2, it was a lot of fun to use and I love it. 

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