Who says grilling season is over? On the contrary my contrarian grill-masters: The leaves may crunch underfoot as you’re greeted by a cold chill, but such gas grilling need not be left to the idyllic summer months. We can have our seared steaks and eat them, too.
“Think of a propane grill as an outdoor stove, and you will discover a form of cooking that delivers the pleasures of the summer cookout as easily in November as in July,” writes Sam Sifton, Food Editor of the New York Times. Heady words, especially for those who practice each season’s culinary trends—hot chocolate in winter, ice cream in the summer—as if it were dogma.
It’s easy. Peel off the protective layering of your grill (you might peel off a protective layer or two yourself); or you could stand there, rubbing gloved hands together for warmth—ah, the fickleness of fall—as you check on the sizzling smorgasbord under the hood. In your heart of hearts, you know its better this way—even if that means you’re outside in a parka and snow pants, flipping burgers like a pro.
Raise a spatula if you’ll still be grilling this month, then look around. You’re not crazy.
Add Executive Chef Eric Kim of Cadwell’s Grille to that list. In the middle of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Deerfield, the open-air layout of the restaurant ensconced inside a large atrium means a comfortable meal without the worry of unwanted elements, but still gives an impression of a summer cabana.
It’s here that Kim serves a fourteen-ounce, hand-cut ribeye to traveling businessmen and women, and neighborhood families and friends. Loaded with sides: bacon confit fingerling potatoes, balsamic marinated seasonal vegetables, and a bourbon brown sugar steak sauce—the rib eye “melts in your mouth; tender. It’s like a tenderloin: like you’re eating a filet mignon with a lot of flavor,” says Kim.
The trick starts at your local butcher. When ordering your ribeye, you want to ask for an enlarged spinalis dorsi—what is colloquially referred to as “butcher’s butter.” (The French word for it is calotte—as in skullcap.) It’s the ribeye cap, the deckle. It’s pricey for a reason: It’s by far the tastiest cut.
Says Kim, “Unless you’re really watching your cholesterol; I say go for it, man.”
Turn your grill on high heat. Slap said ribeye on the grill. If you’re using a thermometer, 135 degrees is medium rare. Leave the top open—“You want to see your steak,” adds Kim—and turn your steak only once. Enjoy. Close the top of your grill. Repeat.
Who says grilling season is over? Here’s to an endless, propane-fueled summer. Whether cooking in sandals or boots, in humidity or six-inches of snow.
Cadwell’s Grille is located in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Deerfield at 1445 Lake Cook Rd. Call 847-945-4500 for reservations.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cadwell’s Grille’s Knob Creek Brown Sugar Steak Sauce
1 quart ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Knob Creek Bourbon
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons roasted garlic pepper
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and reduce by half.
1 zucchini, sliced thick
1 yellow squash, sliced thick
1 red onion, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced thick
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all items in a Ziploc bag and marinate for an hour. Salt and pepper to taste before grilling. Grill on high heat for 1 minute on each side.
The North Shore Weekend is published weekly.