Session #4 – Father’s Day Tailgating BBQ

Father’s Day is the Full-Monty Salute to summer, barbecues, baseball games, and of course, those anywhere tailgating parties with our beloved families and friends.

For years, our fellows, like a zillion others, used to spend their anointed day lounging on the sofa watching one sporting event or another while sipping cool beverages of choice with some of their buddies. But heck, now in this on-the-go, let’s get movin’ era they can bring all that fun outdoors while still lounging, still watching a sporting event in Hi-def and on a big screen; and yes, still enjoying those cool beverages while hanging with their best buddies. Progress is so good, don’t you think?  I believe that some genius guy created Tailgating because it encompasses all the comforts of home and more. As for your authors; we actually like Tailgating, be it on our home turf, at the ballpark or football field or at the beach, you can count us in. Somehow the guys got tailgating right, we love the way it brings everyone together and that in itself is a very good thing.

The day’s venue is a return trip to the McGinnis Ranch which provides plenty of parking for the trucks and grills, a great area for us to play some serious softball, hold a Liars Dice tournament, and not to forget, the kids will have plenty of room to explore. The only entry requirement for everyone is the strict dress code requiring all to wear a sports jersey; which tends to lead to a lot of bragging as we discuss the array of pro teams, college teams and the kid’s schools being represented. Since Father’s Day is all about sports and bbq/grilling, the menu is distinctively masculine and will feature easy and fun tailgating recipes gathered over the years such as Yvonne Lozinto’s Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms, Bill’s favorite rubbed baby back ribs and everyone’s favorite Beer Can Chicken. The fellows have chosen the beverages so of course the obligatory cold beers are present as well as their favorite wines from our B.R. Cohn Classic Car lineup. We’re ready to fire up the grills, get the sporting events moving (bets are most likely being taken at this point) and start our most important activities; noshing and cheering on our teams.

The Starters:

  • Shrimp, Sun-dried tomato and basil skewers
  • Grilled Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush) with Crudités & Pita chips
  • Yvonne’s Grilled Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Grilled Pepperoni Pizza’s (the cheater from Papa Murphy)
  • Wines to complement: Woody White, Rose and Rider’s Red

The Main Attractions:

  • Bill’s favorite Rubbed Ribs with Grilled White Corn on the Cob
  • Beer Can Chicken (everyone’s favorite)
  • John’s Fire-seared Beef Carnitas with Rice and Beans
  • Wines to complement are Roadster Red, Panel Wagon Pinot, and SyrZin

Sweet Endings:

  • Fresh Strawberries and 25 year Balsamic over Pound Cake
  • Young and Big Kids Smores
  • Wine complement, 2008 B.R. Cohn Cabernet Port




Shrimp, Sun-dried tomato and basil Skewers
Serves 12 (averages 2 skewers per person)

  • 2 tbsp. B.R. Cohn California Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 48 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 bunches basil (48 large leaves)
  • 48 1-inch pieces of sun-dried tomato, drained and blotted dry
  • Package of Bamboo skewers or metal (be sure to pre-soak if wooden)

Combine the oil, zest, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and marinate for 15 to 20 minutes. Thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers (if wooden, be sure to pre-soak for a few minutes,) placing a basil leaf and a piece of sun-dried tomato between each shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, grill the kebabs, basting with marinade for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until shrimp is pink. Serve with Woody White or Rose.


Grilled Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush) with assorted Crudités & Pita Chips
Serves 10-12

(**please note, I prepare this a day ahead and serve it chilled.  It is devoured the minute it hits the table**)

  • 3 large firm globe eggplants
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 6 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. Tahini
  • 4 tbsp. B.R. Cohn Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Pre-heat grill, (I use a Weber Gas Grill.) Prick the eggplants in a few spots with a fork, this keeps eggplants from exploding. Grill them over a medium flame, turning often, until the skin is charred on all sides and the flesh is soft.  Let cool.

Cut eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh.  Puree the flesh in a food processor, or finely chop it by hand. Mix the garlic and parsley with the eggplant. Add in the lemon juice, Tahini, olive oil and cumin, pulse slightly to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Serve chilled with additional chopped parsley and drizzling of olive oil to refresh.  Pair with either Rose or Panel Wagon Pinot


Yvonne’s Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms on the Grill
Serves 12

  • 1 pkg. hot or regular Pork Sausage (Yvonne prefers the regular sausage)
  • 2 large packages of button mushrooms – approx. 40 ‘rooms (generally 2 – 20 oz. pks, prewashed)
  • 1 pkg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • ½ cup of minced yellow onions
  • Santa Maria seasoning (or garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley) to taste
  • 1/3 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

Brown the sausage in an iron skillet on the hot grill, drain on paper towels and set aside. Remove caps from the stem and set caps aside for stuffing. Rough chop the stems into the iron skillet, add a couple dashes of seasonings, onions and sauté until cooked through. Combine sausage, mushroom stem mixture and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Stuff mushroom caps, sprinkle with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet that will fit easily in your grill. Cover grill and roast approximately 30 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through and the toppings are bubbly. Pair with Rider’s Red

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza from Papa Murphy’s is very easy to grill-bake. I place the Pizza on a pizza stone and using the prepared Weber Kettle like an oven, allow the pizza to “bake”. The pizza comes out crispy and smoky, just the way we like it. Pair with Beer or Roadster Red.


Bill’s Favorite Dry Rubbed Baby Back Ribs with Grilled White Corn on the Cob

For 12 people I use 6 full racks cutting each in half.  Be sure to remove all silver skin and excess fat.

Grilling time is long and slow – at least 2 hours with medium heat, 2 ½ hours for low heat or until ribs easily pull apart. The secret to excellent ribs is the cleaning procedure, the seasoning and of course, timing. My husband Bill prefers dry rubbed ribs over any other style. I experimented with many different rub recipes and ultimately ended up just going into my pantry and grabbed a little of this and a little of that and that’s the end of that story. Bill is hooked and that rub is used whether we’re doing ribs, steaks, salmon or chicken.

The Rub – amount will rub those 12 half slabs

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp. cumin
  • 3 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp. B.R. Cohn Steak and Rib Rub
  • 1 tsp. crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Place all ingredients into a bowl and hand mix until incorporated.  Apply the rub to both sides of the baby back ribs; allowing to rest 10 minutes before placing on the grill. Baby Back’s do extremely well with lower heat and a little longer smoking time. Once ribs are done, remove and cover. Place shucked  white Corn onto the grill basting occasionally with garlic butter. Be sure to not over grill the corn, it will get mealy. Pair with SyrZin.


Beer Can Chicken (Everyone’s Favorite – so easy!)

I truly do not know who came up with this easy and fun way to prepare chicken, but I applaud the humor and versatility this style of grilling allows. The only apparent tool to preparing is to have a few cans of beer with gulps taken thus leaving the cans half full. Or so I thought, then a few years back I found a couple of nifty inventions which are stands for Beer Can Chicken grilling. One by Weber takes the beer can out of the equation and the other is a very simple wire stand that the beer can sits in with the chicken then placed on top. When it comes to grilling, barbecuing, smoking or roasting this Beer Can Chicken method is relatively foolproof.

  • 4 – 3 to 4 lb. whole chickens (innards removed, rinsed and patted dry)
  • 2 tbsp. B.R. Cohn Basil-Garlic Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. B.R. Cohn Herb Rub
  • 3 cans of Beer
  • 4- Stands used for Beer Can Chicken grilling

Lightly rub the inside and outside of each chicken with Basil-Garlic oil, salt and pepper. Set aside. Place a half filled beer can into each stands beer-can holder, then by spreading the chicken legs slightly lower a bird onto the stand and over the beer can. Transfer the chickens to the grills. On medium-high indirect heat and with the lid closed, grill/roast the chickens for 1 ¼ hours or until internal temperature at the thigh reaches 180 degrees F and the juices run clear. Remove and allow to rest a full 10 minutes before carving. Pairs great with Beer, Panel Wagon Pinot or Roadster Red!


John’s Fire Seared Beef Carnitas
Serves 12

  • 3 flank steaks approximately 1 ½ lbs. each
  • 3 tbsp pure chili powder
  • 3 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups of your favorite Salsa (either homemade or store purchased)
  • 3 bunches cilantro, washed, dried, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 3 cups jicama, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 2 ripe avocados cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 9 medium white onions, peeled and cut crosswise into ½ inch slices
  • 24 corn tortillas

Combine the chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper in a mixing bowl and rub this mixture on the steaks. Place meat into a nonreactive baking dish with the sliced onions and garlic. Add the lime juice and marinate at least 1 hour up to 2 hours, turning the steaks once to ensure even seasoning. Place the salsa, cilantro, tomato and jicama in separate serving bowls. Place the avocado in a serving bowl and toss with the teaspoon of lime juice to prevent discoloring.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the onions on the grate and grill until they are nicely browned, about 4 minutes per side, turning carefully with a spatula. Add the steaks and cook to taste, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the meat and onions to a cutting board and slice into small strips or pieces. Arrange the meat and onions on a platter. Warm the corn tortillas on the grill until they are soft and pliable, at least 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place them in a cloth-lined basket. To serve, have each guest spoon some Carnitas and grilled onions onto a tortilla and top with cilantro, tomato, jicama, avocado and salsa. The tortilla is folded in half and ready to enjoy with Red Rice and Beans. Pair with any wonderful B.R. Cohn wine, but most love this with Woody White, Rose or Roadster Red.


Sweet Endings:

Our sweet treats after an afternoon at the Ranch filled with friends and family, fast paced softball games, some liars dice, a hike over to the Hen House to see the newest little chicks, then back for a horseshoe game or two, along with the grilling and feasting leaves this Tailgating crowd craving simple delights such as our freshly picked strawberries over Pound cake and drizzled with B.R. Cohn 25 year Balsamic Vinegar and topped with a dollop of Cool Whip and then our addictive Young and Big Kids Smores which are Graham Crackers slathered with B.R. Cohn Chocolate Raspberry Cabernet Fudge and Gooey toasted marshmallows paired with B.R. Cohn Cabernet Port.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

As always, Anne, Darlene and I thank you for joining us on our Father’s Day Tailgate outing and look forward to sharing our July session which will feature Anne’s Annual Garden Party. Until later, we wish you the enjoyment of best friends, best wines and best foods.

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