I had the awesome opportunity to talk with the National Brand Ambassador for George Dickel Whisky, Doug Kragel (Dickel Doug!) and Adam Perry Lang, the guy I’d consider the reigning king of barbecue. Now, “barbecue” may light visions of lighter fluid and funky-smelling charcoal in your head, but that’s the furthest thing from what Adam does. Over the last few years, Adam has opened two restaurants (Manhattan and London), written three cookbooks and partnered with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Mario Batali. I’d say that’s a step up from your average “burn your eyebrows off” backyard BBQ, right?
Even more recently, Adam has teamed up with George Dickel Tennessee Whisky. I was reasonably sure that a perfectly cooked bit of meat and a great glass of whisky couldn’t be beat (well, let’s be honest, I generally knock the “moo” off my steak in a warm room, so “cooked” might be a stretch). After talking with Adam and Doug, I’m now SURE nothing beats it!
Handmade the hard way was one of George Dickel’s core philosophies. Chill-filtered Tennessee whisky doesn’t happen by accident – George discovered that whisky he made in the winter was smoother than in the summer, so he took the extra step to chill his whisky. The result is a smooth, slightly sweet whisky that’s hard to beat. George didn’t cut corners on taste, and neither does Adam.
A French-trained chef, Adam soon realized that his true passion was for barbecue. Bending his considerable skill toward fire and meat, he was soon winning Grand Champion honors at the World Pork Expo and the Kansas City American Royal, a.k.a., “The World Series of BBQ”.
For those of us that aren’t Grand Pork Champions, I asked Adam for a few tips and suggestions. If you haven’t eaten lunch yet, I might suggest you stop and do so now. Or maybe wait, because I guarantee that you’ll want some barbecue after reading this!
With all the upcoming holiday parties, Adam suggested a good roast paired with a whisky punch (recipe for Cascade Hollow Punch below). A roast can stand up to the timing of a large dinner party, where everyone isn’t eating all at once. One of the interesting tricks he uses is what he calls a “board sauce.” On your meat cutting board, place a bit of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) under the meat. As you slice, the meat juices mingle with the oil. Add a few fresh herbs and spices, and you have a great sauce for your meat. One of his other tricks that I want to try: instead of using a traditional brush, he ties fresh herbs to a wood spoon and uses the herbs to baste! Chop your “brush” and add a bit to the board sauce – yum!
So you’re all set, a good roast and whisky punch, got it. But what’s “good?” The best cut isn’t always most expensive, though some cuts take more skill to cook properly. You can learn a lot about yourself while grilling and trying various techniques (for me, one of those thing to learn might be patience?). Adam’s book, Serious Barbecue, can teach you some basic tips and techniques for getting the most out of cuts like hanger steak, that has a great flavor and mouth feel and eye of round (a little more rare is better).
Another awesome pairing is a great steak and a rye Manhattan, made with George Dickel Rye. Tasty barbecue is about layering flavors, not just throwing meat near fire, and a good rub is the next step after picking your cut. Adam’s recipe is below – the chili flakes and ginger in the rub will pair nicely with the spicy, citrus notes of the Manhattan. Pairing any whiskey with food is about finding flavors that carry over – building a bridge that ties the meal together.
And last but not least – don’t forget dessert! Cobblers are a sweet end to a great meal: sauté the fruit in brown sugar, glaze with whisky, top with a crumble – so simple, yet delicious! You might immediately think of the aged George Dickel whiskies for the glaze, but No. 1 is smooth and sweet, and won’t overpower the flavor of the fruit. I’ve used it as a substitute for both vodka and gin in cocktails, and it works really well!
For more info, check out APL’s official site and don’t forget to grab your bottle of George Dickel Whisky! (though, if you grab the bottle first, it may result in a “surprise” delivery from Amazon if you shop for cookbooks later – or so I’ve heard…..) Cheers and thanks to Adam and Doug for a great interview!
Cascade Hollow Punch
Adam Perry Lang’s Spice rub
George Dickel No. 12 Barbecue Sauce
Article by: Jeanne Runkle