Doug Kragel

BBQ Chef Adam Perry Lang

I recently had a chance to chat with BBQ Chef Adam Perry Lang and George Dickel National Brand Ambassador Doug Kragel.  Chef Lang is one of the biggest names in BBQ.  Back over the summer he was on Jimmy Kimmel teaching Jimmy how to cook steaks.  When I had the chance to talk to him, I thought I’d grill him (Sorry for the horrible pun) on what else: BBQ and whisky.

Adam + Doug

Photo courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Adam on his cooking style:  My style is one of just an active griller.  I like to talk about BBQ as cooking with live fire.  I like to let the situation dictate.  (I like to) feel the fire, understand how it’s behaving.  Often times I’m very active moving meat around or sometimes just leaving it alone.  I don’t have any type of set protocol.

Adam on his favorite winter cuts to cook:   I like to cook large roasts.  I’m typically a person who loves to cook beef, so I love rib roasts.   A bone-in or bone-out ribeye roast is a favorite of mine.  I love cooking bone-in strip loin as well.

Beef lots of it (1 of 1)

Photo courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Adam on cooking those tough cuts like brisket:   I don’t know what you’re cooking on, but you should cook between a temperature range of between 250 and 300 degrees, and really be patient.  As the meat cooks to about 160 degrees internal, let it cook there for a while.  A quick tip to tenderize it is to wrap it in butcher’s paper or aluminum foil and put it back on the grill and cook to a temperature of 205 degrees.

Adam on whisky and BBQ:  It’s a match made in heaven for two reasons.   First, drinking whisky with things that tend to be heavier in fat, it’s a great counter-balance.  It’s very palate cleansing in respect to something that’s very deep and rich in fat.  Just as important I find that whisky, with it’s smoky overtones, is similar in so many ways –  even just the craft of making whisky, specifically George Dickel, how they’re handmade the hard way.  The beauty is in all the details.  BBQ is the same thing.  You really have to be very attentive to all the details.

Adam sauce shot (1 of 1)

Photo courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Doug on George Dickel and BBQ:  I think Adam hit it on the head.  First and foremost it’s about our connection to the whisky and how that goes so well with the core principles of cooking BBQ. Having 25 guys at the distillery who man every single part of the process, they’re paying attention to it and are constantly aware to what’s happening.  We’re not removing ourselves from the process like you are with other types of cooking.  The flavor profiles of George Dickel have the right balance of smokiness and whisky bite that everybody loves.  The astringency works well with fatty meat.  Also because it’s 84% corn, the sweetness that comes in as well provides a great contrast to the spices you add to your BBQ.  They really mesh well together.  That balance balance between the sweetness in the whisky and what comes out in the meat really meshes well.

Adam on his secret whisky BBQ sauce:  The secret is there is no secret.  It’s probably one of those fantastic combinations where we’re just using three ingredients.  We’re cooking down the whisky until we cook off the alcohol.  Then we’re adding honey.  At that point either add your own homemade BBQ sauce or your favorite store brand.  It’s really tremendous.

Courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Adam on other ways to incorporate whisky into BBQ:  Drinking it.  (laughs)  I’m not really looking for crazy different ways to cook with it.  I only want to use it where I think it’s appropriate.  For me, it would just be an accent with the BBQ sauce or to just drink it.  I don’t feel it would carry through so much that… it would just be lost if I were to baste with it or something else.

Doug on whisky cocktails and food pairings:  When it comes to pairing whisky with food in general I think that starting neat, especially when cooking with BBQ, is the way to go.  I think Adam would second that there’s something about the process of being involved with your with your cooking and being able to enjoy that whisky neat to start, and being able to sip on it.  When we get into cocktails I think it’s more of an accent.  Cooking, especially with BBQ, is about entertaining as well.   It’s about creating an atmosphere.  What I really love to do in that scenario is make some whisky punches.  You make a very simple punch (see recipe below) with George Dickel Rye and some citrus.  Very simple to make, and it’s about the entertaining and the experience.  That’s what I’ve been doing lately, other than making a classic Manhattan at home for that pre-meal cocktail.  That’s one of the better places to start pairing is before the actual meal.  It starts off the whole experience.

Courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

Courtesy of George A. Dickel & Co.

George Dickel 9 Year Old Single Barrel Review

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It’s finally here.  My very own bottle of 9 year old George Dickel Single Barrel Tennessee Whisky, hand selected by George Dickel National Ambassador Doug Kragel.  This is all because I joined the Dickel Dozen.  All 12 of us receive a bottle of George Dickel for review.  Several weeks ago Doug Kragel took us on a tour of the Cascade Hollow Distillery, where George Dickel is made, in the form of a video. He also hand-selected a barrel exclusively for members of the Dickel Dozen.  If you haven’t watched yet, please do.  It gives you a peek at how George Dickel comes to be.

So, like I was saying… it’s finally here (sample courtesy of George Dickel).   I sampled George Dickel No. 8, George Dickel No. 12, and George Dickel Barrel Select a while back, and for the most part I really liked what I tasted.  How does this 9 year old George Dickel Single Barrel compare?  In a word:  delicious.  Keep in mind, each barrel is going to taste slightly different.  On the nose I get some oak, vanilla, caramel and a little alcohol fume.  It comes in sweet.  Vanilla, sweet corn and oak are big players here, followed by some caramel.  There’s some playful bite at 103 proof, but nowhere near what it should be.  To me it feels more like a 90ish proof whiskey.  Maybe that’s the charcoal filtering this Tennessee whisky goes through.  The finish is moderate in length and dry, but leaves a sweet aftertaste.  There’s even a little vanilla back there.

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Let me talk about the presentation.  This bottle of George Dickel came in an awesome looking wooden box.  They went above and beyond.  Thankfully, it’s not all for show.  The juice inside this box is outstanding.

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This whisky is leagues better than Dickel No. 8.  George Dickel No. 12 is outstanding, especially in it’s price range.  Their Barrel Select is a great whiskey, but this single barrel slightly edges out as my favorite George Dickel Whisky.  It feels just a little more refined in flavors than its siblings.  George Dickel 9 Year Old Single Barrel isn’t available everywhere.  Check the better liquor stores in your area.  They may carry their own barrel of this for about $45.  Highly recommended!

9/10

George Dickel is in the building

 

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As a member of the Dickel Dozen, I am excited as ever to receive my own bottle of 9 year old George Dickel, hand selected by George Dickel National Ambassador Doug Kragel.  I had plans for this evening, but it very well may turn into a Dickel night.