I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend BUSH’S BBQ Bootcamp led by the master griller, Steven Raichlen. For those who aren’t familiar with Steven, he’s written 28 books on grilling, has been involved in many cooking shows, and currently teaches a course about grilling at Harvard University. He’s a pretty big deal:) I was SO excited to go and learn from the best and now I can’t wait to share with you the experience I had.
The trip began when I flew out to Santa Barbara and made my way over to Alisal Ranch, just outside of Solvang, CA. The ranch is extremely beautiful, quiet, and peaceful — the perfect setting to grill all day long. 🙂
Including me, there were four “grillers” ready to learn from the grilling master. On the first day of the bootcamp, Steven took us through a series of courses that focused on all kinds of grilling-related subjects beginning with the basics and eventually leading to pro techniques and some of his coveted grilling “secrets.”
As we went through his courses, we each began to learn about our preferences towards grilling. Those preferences included our grilling behaviors and technique, taste preferences, grill preferences (gas vs. charcoal), and of course, our favorite BUSH’S beans flavors.
By understanding our preferences Steven derived our Grillin’ Alter Egos which were: the aficionado, the rebel, the problem solver, and the adventurer.
Day two of the bootcamp started with the reveal of our Grillin’ Alter Egos along with the characteristics of each. My Alter Ego? The problem solver.
Steven identified the problem solver as someone that is busy and frequently on-the-go, but also likes to get a nice meal on the table with minimum ingredients and a super quick prep time. (Doesn’t that sound like *just* about every recipe on my site?!)
After learning more about our alter-egos, we were put to the test! We took all the knowledge we’d learned and prepared meals in our Grillin’ Alter Ego Style. While the other grillers made some pretty impressive dishes, I have to say, the meal I prepared was hands-down my favorite. And the best part? It couldn’t be more simple — Inside-Out Cheeseburgers paired with a Grilled Corn Salsa, and BUSH’S Original Baked Beans. Since coming home from this bootcamp, I’ve made this meal at least half a dozen times — the whole family is obsessed with it!
The Inside-Out Cheeseburgers are pure genius — the idea is to stuff cheese, bacon, and scallions INSIDE the burger which gives an incredible burst of flavor and makes it that much easier to assemble your final cheeseburger.
The scallions and bacon get grilled and then chopped up and tossed together with the ground chuck and shredded cheese. Handling the meat as little as possible, you then form thick patties with a slight indent in the center. The indent in the patties help to hold the shape and give you a nice and even burger.
Once those patties are formed, they are ready to go on the grill. They cook pretty quickly and the best way to know when they are done is to check them a few times with a meat thermometer. For a medium-done burger, they’re ready to come off the grill at 160 degrees F internal temperature.
While the patties are cooking, you can quickly whip up the Grilled Corn Salsa which, honestly, is the absolute best corn salsa I’ve ever had!
To make the corn salsa, you’ll start by grilling the corn and green pepper. Once those are nicely charred and tender, you’ll pull them off the grill onto a cutting board to cool. Meanwhile, chop up the other ingredients — a jalapeno, scallions, a tomato, and cilantro. By that time, the grilled veggies are ready to be added to the salsa. Chop up the pepper and cut the kernels from the cob. The salsa is *just* about ready, but it needs what I consider the “secret ingredient” which is BUSH’S Original Baked Beans. The beans are so unique and delicious in this salsa! The sauce the beans are coated in works as the perfect “dressing” for the salsa and the actual beans add so much texture and flavor.
Special thanks to BUSH’s for sponsoring my trip and the BBQ Bootcamp! I can’t wait to share even more of the knowledge I gained with you all! 🙂