Jamies Journal

Command of the Grill

Grilling a steak is a lot like swinging a baseball bat. Basically it is easy to do, but for awesome, out-of-the-park results there are definitely some details to master. I am always eager to learn about the details other grillers rely on to achieve the flavors and textures they like. That’s why I jumped at the chance to try some recipes developed by U.S. Marines who competed last year in the first round of Weber’s steak grilling contest called Command of the Grill.


Summer School

Staff Sergeant Joseph Taylor at work on wasabi-spiced strip steaks


In some of their recipes, I noticed pretty unusual ingredients. For example, Staff Sergeant Joseph Taylor (above), stationed at Cherry Point, North Carolina, made a spice rub based on ground sesame seeds, ginger and . . .wasabi powder. In all my years of cooking professionally I had never heard of wasabi powder, but a little research revealed that it is made from dried, pulverized horseradish. And a little taste revealed an electric jolt of piquancy. That’s thinking outside the spice jar, Sergeant!

Another new ingredient for me was Dale’s Steak Seasoning, which I found has been popular in the South for more than fifty years. Originally the soy sauce-based condiment was a house specialty at Dale’s Cellar Restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, and today it is even better known than the restaurant itself, now with nine locations. Michael Clayton, a sergeant serving in Beaufort, South Carolina, drizzles a mix of Dr. Pepper and Dale’s Steak Seasoning on his steaks before they hit the hot grate. This little bit of “Southern charm” caramelizes on the surface of the steaks and gives them a rich, mahogany color.

And here’s an ingredient I’m guessing you have never included in a marinade: baked bean juice. Sergeant David Pelly, from Camp Allen in Virginia, drains the juice from a can of baked beans and blends it with orange juice, A-1 steak sauce, lime juice, and sugar. He soaks his steaks in this bold brew of flavors, grills them over high heat, and confidently declares his recipe “Sweet Success.”

Speaking of success, the Marines with the best-tasting steaks at their individual bases, as determined by panels of independent judges, have been invited to compete in the contest finals in New York City on May 26, 2006 (during Fleet Week). Plus their recipes are featured in a beautifully photographed cookbook called “Salute to Steak,” available in May at www.weber.com for $10. All the sales from the book will go to four charities that directly benefit killed or wounded Marines and their families. The cookbook also includes phenomenal recipes from former Marines who are now in the ranks of celebrities—people like Ed McMahon, Ken Norton, Lee Trevino, and George Jones.

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Lights, Camera, Grilling! (06.05.06)

Springtime in Seattle (04.05.06)

Seasoned with Smoke (03.01.06)

Command of the Grill (02.01.06)

And the winner is... (08.18.05)

Summer School (07.05.05)

Kalua Pig (05.26.05)

Where's the Beef? (05.10.05)

Mustard Festival (03.19.05)

Super Bowl XXXIX (02.07.05)