Barbecue Fest: Clint Cantwell To Lead Grilling Classes

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Clint Cantwell grew up in Texas, married a Memphis girl, and spent some time in Kansas City, so he’s got all his barbecue bona fides covered. A few years back, he was hired by Kingsford to edit their web site, and he develops recipes for meat and grill companies and for his own site, grillocracy.com.

During Barbecue Fest, he’ll be leading classes on grilling on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in partnership with Men’s Journal and GoRVing.

“The first day is barbecue since Memphis in May is the Super Bowl of Swine,” Cantwell says. “The second day is the basics of steak — things you can do at home to elevate your steak grilling to compete with steak houses in your own backyard. And the third day is focused on hamburgers and grilled chicken — techniques to amp up your grilling game.”

Cantwell says that the thing about mastering grilling is not so much learning the techniques as much as unlearning bad ones.

“There are certainly things that people inherently do wrong because that’s the way they were taught. A lot of people have become convinced that they need to take the spatula and smash burgers while they’re grilling. All you’re doing with that is releasing all the fat and juices and drying out your burgers. Little things like that that you can change,” he says.

Good tools are essential, too. Long-handled spatulas and tongs keep you away from the heat. Another one is a nice thermometer. “If you’re spending good money on a steak and doing a nice rub, the last thing you want to do is cook it to well done and then it’s dry like shoe leather,” Cantwell says.

“Ultimately it’s about teaching folks that grilling doesn’t have to be just about hot dogs and hamburgers,” he says. “You can do desserts, appetizers, side dishes. The possibilities are pretty limitless.”

Full schedule below. He’ll be located between the food vendors and the merchandise tent.

Thursday, May 12 (1-2pm, 3:30-4:30, 5-6)
Basics of Low-and-Slow BBQ
· BBQ vs. grilling
· How to cook low-and-slow on a grill
· Balancing meat, spice, and smoke
· Competition cooking versus home cooking
· Demo: The perfect Memphis-style Pulled Pork Sandwich
 Prepping and smoking pork butt
 Injecting meats
 Wrapping meats
• Demo: Grilled coleslaw
• Demo: Making a signature BBQ sauce
 Knowing when the pork is done
 Assembly (pulled pork sliders with grilled coleslaw and signature BBQ sauce)
· Demo: Grilled pizza on the KettlePizza grill insert
· Demo: Grilled desserts (Grilled red, white, and blue poundcake)


Friday, May 13 (1-2pm, 3:30-4:30, 5-6)
· Demo: Grilled appetizers (Grilled and chilled gazpacho soup)
· Intro to grilling steaks
o Grading beef
o Dry aged vs. wet aged
o Choosing the right cut
o Alternative steak cuts (butcher’s cuts)
o Cutting costs: Trimming your own steaks
• Freezing meat – makeshift cryovac
o Pre-salting steaks
o Seasoning steaks (coffee and cocoa dry rub)
o Grilling a frozen steak
o Reverse sear grilling
o Knowing when the steak is done (the horror of cutting into steaks to check doneness)
o Completing the perfect steak (compound butters)
· Demo: Grilled coffee-cocoa rubbed cowboy ribeyes with roasted garlic butter
· Demo: Asian marinated flank steak
· Demo: Grilled Desserts (grilled peach crumbles)


Saturday, May 14 (11-12, 1-2, 3-4pm)
· Demo: Grilled appetizers (Bacon wrapped “MOINK balls”)
· Demo: Simple Sides
o Grilled corn salsa
o Grilled guacamole
· The basics of grilling the perfect burgers
o Selecting the perfect beef blend
o Grinding your own meat at home
o Overworking the meat
o Forming the perfect patty to fit the bun
o Adding an indention
o Seasoning
o 2 zone cooking
o Pressing burgers with a spatula
o Cooking to the correct temp (USDA recommends 160 degrees)
o Selecting the right bun (showcase all bacon bun and mac-and-cheese buns)
o Customizing burgers and burger bars
· Demo: Pimento cheeseburger sliders
· Demo: Smoked herb-citrus salt rubbed butterflied chickens (moving beyond beer can chicken)
o How to spatchcock a chicken (removing the backbone) and benefits
o Rub: creating an herb salt rub
o Smoking to perfection, resting meat, and slicing


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