Virginia is for Meat Lovers
Have meat, will travel. That was the theme as I took the Meatwave show on the road this past weekend with a special grilling session in my home state of Virginia. Braving the hot, humid summer of suburban Washington, I cooked up a Mexican meal for friends and family in the Old Dominion on a series of three small grills in the courtyard of my Mother's condo to put together first official Meatwave outside of New York.
The Mexican menu was driven primarily for a desire for skirt steak. Using my favorite marinade I usually implement for fajitas, I grilled up four pounds of inside skirt, which were thinly sliced and piled into corn tortillas for tacos. Although I prefer my skirt steak with flour tortillas, you can really do no wrong with this beef.
Believe it or not, that steak was the only meat to be seen at this Meatwave. No, I'm not going soft on the meat, but I needed to consider my audience, and for some odd reason, most of my buddies in Virginia are vegetarian. These dirty hippies much preferred my second taco offering of grilled summer squash with tomatillo salsa, sour cream, and salsa fresca.
Thinking grilled squash in a tortilla is not a proper meal, I also made these stuffed peppers. Poblanos were filled with a mixture of rice, sour cream, tomato, black beans, cumin, cilantro, and cotija cheese, then grilled until softened. A spicy kick from the peppers mixed with the cooling innards to make a veggie option I can totally stand behind.
Last, but not least, on the grill was corn done Mexican-style—that's grilled and then spread width cayenne mayo, rolled in cotija cheese, and served with lime. This is my absolute favorite preparation of corn and one I've had on the back-log to write about here, I just never had photos I was happy enough for a post, but I think I might have finally gotten them this weekend.
I made a few salsas to accompany the Mexican feast, the first being a roasted tomatillo salsa. This Rick Bayless recipe is insanely delicious, and I find it to be a surprising salsa to a lot of people, making it a very rewarding one to make. It added the trast base for the grilled veggie tacos.
In contrast with the roasted tomatillos, there was a fresh salsa fresca. With tomatoes just starting to come into season, these made great use of some quality ingredients that also included onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and lime. It servered double duty as a dip and taco topper.
Now for the people who came out and made the first Meatwave roadshow a success. Special props go to baby Benji, who was in the mist of suffering a respiratory infection, yet still couldn't be kept away from the Meatwave. That illness equated to a sleepless night for Daddy Bryan, who didn't let sleep depravation get in his way of the meat(less tacos).
Than made it out with his daughter Millie, who was not feeling like being photographed. A first Meatwave for Than, I'm sure the full stomach served him well as he later had to endure an exceptionally long Metro ride to watch a soccer game filled with fast-kicking, low scoring, and ties.
After Bryan bailed on his parenting duties with Than, Jenny was left to sick Benji, but had support from her friend Stephen, who just arrived in town from North Carolina a mere hour before the start of the Meatwave.
My Dad and Merrilee also finally made it to their first Meatwave. Real troopers, they lasted longer than anyone else in the heat of the day. I was happy to hear that the menu turned Merrilee onto new foods she didn't even know she liked.
Lastly we have Katie and her parents. Katie was spending a month working in Alexandria, and we couldn't have gone without seeing her while she was residing in my old stomping grounds. Catching her right before she was about to take off, her parents were in town helping her make the long trek back to Illinois the next day, which the Meatwave helped provide proper sustenance for.
There was a little more stress taking the Meatwave out of my own home—different grills, no chimney starter, different kitchen and tools—but all-in-all I deemed it a success. With that, I hope to expand the reaches of the Meatwave to other cities across this great nation, so watch out, because the meat is coming for you!