Monday, January 30, 2012
Last night I tried out the Wilton Armetale grill wok from their Gourmet Grilling collection. This is a traditional wok that you use for high heat stir fry, although the piece is bowl shaped so can also be used for other types of dishes like stews on the grill where you want to get a nice smoked flavor.
Jes had emailed to see if I'd like to check out something from the Wilton Armetale grilling collection in exchange for doing a fair review. I wasn't familiar with this line, and I look at loads of grilling gear. I checked out the grilling items and listed several that I found interesting and said any would be fine. Jes went with the true style wok which I'm sure many folks may consider a harder-to-use grill item. Really a wok is not hard if you know what to do with it.
Gotta See This Grill Wok to Appreciate It
You really don't get a feel for the wok from the web page. I was expecting a rather small piece which is fine for a family. When it came in, it was large though. I'd say about a foot across or close. And. the grilling wok was just beautiful. I don't know really what I was expecting, but this wok just made me want to run round the house and high five all the guys. In fact, it was so pretty that I kind of hated to put it on the grill. I just wanted to sit and look at it which if you read my blog would not be my usual style.
Grilling Isn't Just About Pretty
Looks aren't everything though, and I'm not into knickknacks. I had to fire up the grill and put the Wilton Armetale wok to the test. In fact, I thought I'd go with a hard test - over charcoal. It's harder to regulate charcoal, and you're likely to black up a pan that way. I kind of cringed, but I took the plunge.
First I marinated some chicken strips in red wine vinegarette with some spicy seasonings. Chicken stips sans skin and bones can be kind of bland, but they are healthy, and if you flavor them, you've got a great meal.
I fired up the coals and then sprayed the wok with Pam spray and let it heat. The grill woks you usually see at stores with holes in the bottom (which I do love too) do not need the preheat time or not as much. With a traditional enclosed type grill wok, you need to heat the pan. It's just a different style of grilling or cooking.
After about 15 minutes, the grill wok was nice and hot. This metal is really pretty but also is super at heat conduction. Think of a metal like cast iron. It takes a while to heat up, but then it's nice and hot and ready for making some interesting and tasty dishes.
Since I had marinated the chicken, I just poured it in. If not using a marinade, then put some olive oil etc in the pan to quick flash fry wok the food. You don't need or want much liquid, so pour off excess from the marinade if you did marinate as I did.
Once the chicken (or whatever you are woking) hits the pan, stir fast. The heat is high as it should be, and you want traditional woked foods to cook up fast and hold in the moisture.
We were feeling really fancy last night with this great dinner featuring the chicken from the Gourmet Grillware collection. The chicken was perfect - nice and juicy with flavor from the marinade and seasoning. And - done quick.
I shared some photos at Facebook where I'm under cyndi allison. My grilling friends were asking about this really neat grill wok and also about that feta cheese dip I made which was great with the chicken and celery.
After my Wilton Armetale grill wok test drive, I read up on WA and was even more impressed. While the prices are a little higher than some grill products I own, Wilton Armitale offer a lifetime guarantee and are out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. That's what I'm talking about. I love a U.S. company that stands behind products.
This grill wok did everything as I expected while looking fabulous which is why the company sells these as grill to table products. They look wonderful to use for serving and also hold the heat (and the cold too if you want to use this as a kitchen piece part of the time).
What About Clean Up?
Clean up, which I was kind of worried about, was a breeze. We just washed the grill wok in the sink with Dawn and dried it off as suggested. They don't recommend a dishwasher, and I don't have one anyway. Even when I did have a dishwasher, I did not put my good stuff like my old cast iron in there. It's much easier to just quickly hand wash a nice piece, and I don't trust a dishwasher to get good stuff clean and not mess it up.
But - I Don't Wok Much or At All
The Wilton Armetale is a wok, but it is bowl shaped as traditional for that style of cooking - but hard to find for the barbecue grill. It is perfect for high heat wok grilling, but it's sized and shaped fine for chili, stew, and other one pot dishes that can go on the grill and get a lovely smoked flavor.
I did my meal over charcoal, but this would be great for a gas grill. In fact, it would be easier with the heat control over gas (but I took it on the hard road test first). The BBQ wok can also go on a side burner or on your kitchen stove or even in the oven (for a baked dish). And, it hold cold just as it does heat, so it can be a cold salad or dessert dish as well.
Regular readers know that I only have a hand full of products or lines that I fall totally in love with. There are many grill and barbecue products that I like. There are a few where I just wonder: What the heck? (and I tell you about those). Wilton Armetale made my BEST OF list. Yes. You will pay a little more than some similar items, but you get much more variety, beauty, and a lifetime of fun. Check out Wilton Armetale (which includes lots of other useful and fun grill pans), and you be the judge. If you aren't blown away too, then color me shocked. This is the real deal!
Saturday, January 21, 2012
My son popped in from college last night, and a package from Toni Leigh had just arrived with Fischer & Wieser Harvest Peach Hatch Pepper Sauce (long name huh?). Toni sends me new products from Fischer & Wieser to try out on my grills, and I test them out and see how they go over here at the Barbecue Master house.
I hadn't really planned to grill, since it started raining, but my youngest son is a real peach freak. He even planted a peach tree in the yard, but the squirrels keep stripping it bare before we get many. My son isn't much of a squirrel fan due to that. In fact, he has suggested grilled squirrel, but I like the squirrels even if they eat the peaches, so we still just try to chase them away from the peach tree - unsuccessfully.
Fischer & Wieser is marketed as a finishing sauce with some heat from cilis from Hatch Valley in New Mexico that are roasted and then mixed with fresh sweet peaches. So, it's one of the newer sweet heat combo sauces.
I opened up the bottle. The smell was devine. It really did small like fresh peaches, and that' coming from a Carolina girl. I could also pick up the lighter heat notes. Yum.
Since I'd not planned on griling, I pulled out some thin cut pork chops. I needed something I could thaw quickly (in the sink in cool water) but also that would go well with the peach flavor. Pork hit me as perfect.
Since the chops were thin, I used the sauce as a pre-marinade. With thicker chops, I likely would have waited and lathered on sauce. Sugars in sauces can burn on the grill if over the fire too long.
The peach sauce looked really amazing when I poured it out. The texture was smooth but with chunks of peaches. And, the smell filled the kitchen. I was hoping this quick meal was going to taste as good as I was anticipating.
I put the pork chops on the Portable Kitchen cooker. It's cast aluminum and holds heat really well. Since it was cold and rainy, I needed that heat retention. My coals were still running a little cooler than I would have liked, since the rain was blowing in sideways.
With these chops about a half inch, it took about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Time varies on the thickness and the heat. I grill so much that I can eyeball items like pork chops, but you can always use a thermometer to double check. Dried out grilled pork chops aren't too tasty.
These pork chops were spot on. Juicy and tender. The Fischer & Wieser Peach sauce was terrific. The chops were perfectly peachy with just enough heat to taste great but not so much as to cover up the nice pork flavor.
The company has a halibut recipe using the peach sauce which sounds really good too. I may have to try that out soon.
If you're looking for a nice sauce to make your pork, fish, or chicken taste gourmet without having to spend hours making up your own sauce, I would highly recommend Fischer & Wieser Peach. It tastes yummy, and it grills up really nice as well.
Here's a photo of the bottle, so you'll know what to look for, or they also sell online which is always nice, since some of the best sauces are not available at many grocery stores.