Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Light the Grill....Crack a Beer....Crank the Tunes

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spicy Plank Grilled Italian Stromboli/Oskar Blues Brewery Dale's Pale Ale/Geezer "Handmade Heavy Blues"

We've done flatbreads on the grill many times (JalapeƱo PestoSpanish Tapas, Italian BLTMeatball) as well as pizzas (ArmenianMargheritaMexican) so why not grill up some strombolis?  A good pizza dough gets rolled into a rectangular shape then the bottom portion is piled high with assorted Italian meats, cheeses and banana peppers.  The dough gets folded over itself and crimped all along the edges before being brushed with olive oil then sprinkled with oregano, garlic powder and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  The whole thing gets placed on a corn meal dusted wood plank and grilled until crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle.  Sliced into wedges and served with a side of marinara, it's the perfect bar food.  For the beer, we tried the much anticipated and much talked about Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale.  The music was supplied by Geezer, bringing their style of handmade heavy blues to their debut album "Handmade Heavy Blues".

Spicy Plank Grilled Italian Stromboli -  There is only rule with this recipe, it can't be made with those horrible refrigerated tubes of "pizza dough".   That stuff is fine for pigs in the blanket, but for an authentic Italian stromboli you need authentic pizza dough.   The Italian fruit market we shop at has rows and rows of freshly made dough that they sell.  If you don't have one of those nearby, most local pizzerias will sell their dough for fairly cheap.  As a last resort, you could always make the dough! Whenever you have the dough, place it in a bowl and cover it at room temperature with a little olive oil.

Carefully roll the dough out into a long rectangle, making sure the dough is the same thickness throughout.

On the long bottom half we start layering our ingredients.  Since this is a spicy stromboli, we start with a very non-traditional pepper jack cheese.  Then a layer of spicy sandwich pepperoni goes on next.

The next layer of meat is hot capicola, followed by hard salami, mortadella and finally some thin slices of ham.

The final ingredient is sliced hot banana pepper rings that get strewn along the top of the ham.

Carefully fold the top portion of the dough over the meat and cheese and press the dough together on all sides.  Using your fingers or a fork, seal the top and bottom dough together.  Spread a liberal amount of corn meal on a wood plank (something similar to what you would smoke salmon on) and carefully place the stromboli on the plank.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on garlic powder and oregano.

Next grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top.

This is ready for the grill.  Get a full chimney of coals started and once they have turned gray, bank them to one side.  Place the stromboli-carrying plank on the cool side and cover the grill.

The grill should get to around 450 to 475 degrees, which is perfect.  After 12 minutes the crust should be golden brown everywhere but the seam farthest away from the flame.

Rotate the plank 180 degrees and let the stromboli cook for another 3-5 minutes until golden brown all over.

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes before slicing into it.  While it's cooling, warm some of your favorite marinara sauce to be served on the side for dipping.   Once cooled a little, slice the stromboli in long wedges and serve with marinara.  This was awesome; half pizza and half Italian sub.  The banana peppers puts everything over the top with their unique one of a kind flavor that meshes perfectly with the meats, cheeses and dough.

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale - Not since Fat Tire first started showing up outside of Colorado, has there been so much buzz about a brewery expanding its distribution into other states.  We have walked past the Oskar Blues section in the beer aisle dozens of times and have always wanted to see what the fuss was about.  This brewery has one of the higher price points with some of their 4 packs of 16 oz. cans going for about $15 when most others in that same format are about $10.  The super cool labeled Dale's Pale Ales come in 12 oz. six packs for a little more respectable $10.    We finally took the plunge on our last visit to the liquor store.    We now see, or better yet taste, what the big deal is.   Wow.   The beer pours a brilliant reddish/orange with a perfect creamy off-white head.  The aroma is of pure fresh hops and little else, but what else do you need?  The taste follows the same pattern, hops that are both piney and fruity dominate the palate.  The mouthfeel is super light and with an ABV at 6.5%, these can be an everyday IPA easily.  We were starting to doubt our affection for pale ales lately as the last few we've sampled have been not very hoppy and rather average.  Oskar Blues delivers a pale ale that others should strive to be.   Bonus points for the old school red, white and blue cans that we can't wait to fill our coolers with at the next big Stoner Rock BBQ.    The beer went great with the stromboli, again a non-traditional but great take on beer and pizza.

Geezer "Handmade Heavy Blues" -  Classic blues, liberal harmonica and slide guitar use, crunching guitars, great grooves and raspy whiskey-soaked vocals, that's what Geezer brings to the table.   What you wind up with is a really cool Scissorfight meets 5HJ hybrid.  The album starts off with the excellent  "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and from the first note that blues harp is wailing like a tornado siren. The sound is thick, the groove tight with a dirty drawl to the vocals that conjures up some of the more bluesy Halfway to Gone numbers.   "Do It On The Road" is pure Five Horse Johnson, sounding like it could come off of any of their previous releases.   Old school slide guitar is featured on "Pony", a great old school southern rock track.   Some evil swamp music rears its head on "Rain On The Highway", think the Doors meets Scissorfight meets Wo-Fat.  Really cool, dark tune.   The band ratchets up the groove on "Full Tilt Boogie", a true heavy boogie track that sounds a little like some of the Four Horsemen's material.    "I'm Coming Home" is a pretty straight-forward blues rock track that delivers excellent results.   The album closes with "Still A Fool", which is one of the best songs on the albums. Its got an early ZZ Top Texas blues feel to it, just a little heavier and thicker.   The song builds and builds from the slow classic blues to an outright rocker with an electrifying solo at the end.  Great song to end an excellent disc.

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