Bedlam tailgating showdown goes pro

American Propane hosted The Oklahoman's third annual Bedlam Tailgating Showdown, which pitted local chefs against each other for grill mastery.
by Dave Cathey Modified: December 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: December 3, 2013

Bedlam is upon us both literally and figuratively in the waning weeks of the local football season.

You could say bedlam is a 10-team league called the Big 12 in which four of its teams have legitimate aim at the title. But in these parts, Bedlam is whenever the Cream-Crimsons from Norman clash with the Black-Oranges from Stillwater.

While each team has had its hiccups, both are within striking distance of a league title and a major bowl bid.

A game with this many implications deserves a tailgate of equal gravity. So, I called in the big boys.

The Grigsby family, owners of American Propane since 1936, opened up their cabana to host a Bedlam Tailgating Showdown between local chefs who bore their team colors and did battle using their considerable cooking skills in allegiance with the Sooners and Cowboys.

American Propane, 7401 Broadway Extension, boasts a sparkling new showroom filled with high-performance outdoor kitchen equipment that should be on your holiday list. All ingredients were provided by Buy For Less stores, with a wine tasting conducted by Bruce Upthegrove of Republic National Distributing.

Chef Joshua Valentine of The George Prime Steakhouse was captain of the Sooner squad, which also included chef Jonathon Stranger and Derek Reffner of Ludivine.

Leading the Cowboys contingent was chef Kurt Fleischfresser of The Coach House and Western Concepts, with assistance from David Egan of Cattlemen's Steakhouse and Jermiah Duddleston of Buy For Less/Uptown Grocery Co.

The crowd was split fairly evenly at American Propane, leaning a touch toward the Sooners. The food was fast, furious and fantastic.

Captains were asked to put forth three tailgate-friendly dishes plus dessert. Their offerings were judged on flavor and tailgate-friendliness and were given extra credit for team spirit.

Fleischfresser and company served grilled corn with pepper aoli and orange gremolata, bacon-wrapped short rib filets, lamb fries, pulled pork over grilled pumpkin pizzas, and caramelized butternut squashes with spiced pecans.

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Ingredients provided by Buy For Less

Pulled pork over grilled pumpkin pizza

2 to 5 pounds pork butt roast

½ cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup Cajun seasoning

2 tablespoons honey

2 jalapenos, pureed

4 cloves garlic, pureed

1 6-8 ounce wedge Parmesan

2 ounces fresh sage leaves

¼ cup olive oil

2 baking pumpkins

Salt and pepper to taste

Puree the jalapenos and garlic. Mix with ¼ cup of Dijon and honey.

Slather the pork butt with the jalapeno mixture. Coat the slathered pork butt in Cajun seasoning. Wrap in foil and smoke or bake at 225-250 degrees for about 5½ hours. Pull and shred all of the pork and reserve. You may do this up to two days in advance or the morning of the big game if time permits.

Cut the pumpkins into as many disks as you can. You can get three to four from each pumpkin with some clever knife work.

Coat the pumpkins in olive oil and sprinkle sparingly with salt and pepper. Top with 3 to 5 sage leaves. Wrap in foil and grill over med-high heat until slightly tender, about 30 minutes. Unwrap from foil, saving your sage leaves, and continue grilling to color and finish cooking the pumpkin “pizzas,” basting with a little Dijon mustard.

Wrap the pork in a foil pouch and place on the grill to warm, flipping it after a few minutes. As your pumpkin takes on a beautiful color and your pork is warmed, top the pizzas with some pulled pork, a few sage leaves and some shaved Parmesan. Cut the slices into quarters and serve.

SOURCE: Jermiah Duddleston

Grilled corn with pepper aioli and orange gremolata

8 ears of corn on the cob

Quick pepper aioli, recipe follows

Orange gremolata, recipe follows

Pepper aioli

1 roasted and peeled red pepper

8 ounces mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic (finely minced)

Juice of 2 oranges

Salt and pepper to taste

Orange gremolata

¾ cup olive oil

3 cups Panko crumbs

Zest of 2 oranges

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic (finely minced)

Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by making the aioli. Put all the aoli ingredients in the processor and pulse until all of the ingredients are mixed through and set aside.

Then make the gremolata by sauteing the Panko crumbs in the olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the heat and toss in the rest of the gremolata ingredients. The residual heat should lightly cook them. Remove from the pan and have ready at room temperature.

Set your grill up with the heat source under only part of the grill so you can cook the corn, covered with the indirect heat. Once the corn is cooked brush on the aioli and roll in the gremolata and place back on the indirect heat but don't cover. Serve when the gremolata is slightly retoasted.

SOURCE: Kurt Fleischfresser

Bacon wrapped short rib ‘fillet'

16 4-ounce short ribs or roast beef (using your favorite preparation)

16 pieces hickory-smoked bacon

Lay the bacon out on a cookie sheet and place in a 325 degree oven and cook until completely heated through but not crisp. This will render out some of the excess fat and cut down on flare ups and help the bacon get crispy on the grill. Wrap each of the pieces of beef with a piece of bacon and secure it with a tooth pick or a bamboo skewer.

Cook on the grill, using indirect heat. When the bacon is crisp and the beef heated completely through, it's ready to serve.

SOURCE: Kurt Fleischfresser

Lamb fries

1 pound lamb testicles, partially frozen

2 cups cracker meal, finely ground

Oil for deep frying

Slice partially frozen testicles rather thin, about 1/8 of an inch. After slicing, thaw by allowing them to rest in a bowl, just until thawed.

Dredge in cracker meal until slices are completely coated.

Deep-fry in 350-degree oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Top with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and cocktail sauce.

Source: David Egan, Cattlemen's Steakhouse

Asian chicken skewers

2 pounds boneless chicken thighs

1 jar kimchi

1 jar hoisin sauce

4 ounces soy sauce

4 ounces rice vinegar

Sugarcane or bamboo skewers

Blend kimchi until liquid. Marinate chicken overnight.

Skewer chicken and grill. Mix remaining ingredients and baste chicken constantly until done.

SOURCES: Josh Valentine, Jonathon Stranger and Derick Reffner

Roasted garlic sausage

3 pounds pork shoulder/cubed

1 pound pork fat/cubed

¾ cups roasted garlic

½ cup ice water

2 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons dry milk powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons coriander

2 teaspoons white pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon mace

¼ teaspoon curing salt No. 1

10 allspice berries

Freeze pork shoulder and fat for 20 minutes then grind together. Grind remaining dry ingredients except garlic and cracked black pepper. Emulsify pork mixture in food processor and slowly add cold water and white wine. Mix in spices. Fold in garlic and cracked pepper.

Stuff into pork casings and cool to dry the sausage overnight. Poach in 180-degree water until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Chill in an ice bath.

Grill, saute or smoke as desired.

SOURCES: Josh Valentine, Jonathon Stranger and Derick Reffner

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