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GrillFest Fun Facts


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The long Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and if the weather holds up, we can finally put into practice the many grilling tips and products collected at the second annual Minnesota Monthly GrillFest last weekend.

Here's some of what we picked up from the many vendors, entertainers, and patrons wandering The Depot:

  • Everyone was raving about the sausages served by Butcher & the Boar. Good news: they are now available to purchase at select Lunds and Byerly’s stores.
  • Bad Bad Hats graced us with their first-ever outdoor gig!
  • The Minnesota Pork Board pork and Gold'n Plump chicken was so good and juicy, it didn't need seasoning to be delicious. And the Mom Squad members really are great advocates for their brand, valuing quality chicken. They were moving all around the festival, even sharing samples with those working. Learn more about their mission and find recipes at GoldnPlump.com/MomSquad.
  • Anheuser-Busch, probably best known for their Busch and Bud Light brands, formed a partnership with the Craft Brew Alliance, which grants the company access to distribute craft brews (and own a stake in) Kona Brewing Company, Stella Artois, Stella Artois Cidre (a big hit at GrillFest), Shock Top (Belgian White, Raspberry Wheat, Lemon Shandy, and Honeycrisp Apple Wheat), Goose Island, Bacardi Silver, Bud Light Lime-A-Rita and Straw-Ber-Rita, Michelob Golden Light, Rolling Rock, Boddington's, and Widmer Brothers.
  • Shock Top endorses mixing their beers; that's rare. It's officially called "Shock Top-ology." Also: Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat puts our very own "home-grown" Minnesota apple on a pedestal (Honeycrisp was developed at the MN Agricultural Experiment Station's Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota.). Try a taste at the St. Paul Saints games in the "Beer Dabbler Bullpen." Lemon plus rasberry was particularly popular at GrillFest.
  • Actual Wolf might have been rained off the music stage, but there's a make-up session coming up: Rock the Vine 4 at St. Croix vineyards June 8. (L’Assassins will be at the Uptown Pride Block Party Friday, June 28; Crankshaft will be performing at the Memory Lane Block Party May 26.
  • More local restaurants have joined FrontFlip, a mobile scratch-off program. You can win free drinks, discounts, or even tacos for a year!

And of course, lots of tips for home cooks:

  • When food comes off the grill it will continue to increase in temperature (about 5 to 10 degrees; the bigger the cut, the larger the increase), so plan ahead and pull so you don't overcook your meat.
  • Premium natural charcoal (like Green Egg or Wicked Good) is worthwhile because it will burn more consistently, produce less ash, and assist in providing better flavor. 
  • Move your food slowly; the natural sugars in the meat need time to carmelize before releasing from the grill.
  • When grilling chicken, put the seasoning under the skin so that the meat is seasoned, not just the skin.

Lastly: Grills can be moved (and lifted right off a stage!) during inclement weather. Maybe weigh/tie yours down.

Cheers to a hopefully sunny and tasty weekend!

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

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