The gas hookup was a bit of a hassle - I finally found that weird brass screw adaptor that had been left in the laundry room cabinet by the previous owners, and that was what was needed - but finally it was done. Wednesday was occhiblusf's night out, arranged so that she could say "you're on your own for dinner," and I figured it was now or never to fire up the grill and see what could be done with it.
This grill is apparently a pretty awesome unit, with long warranties on all the major parts. It has four north-south main burners, a sear station burner in between main burners two and three to get the grill there totally hot, a smoker box burner, and an elevated IR ceramic burner that is directed at exactly where the rotisserie chicken spins. The grates are stainless steel, quite easy to clean, and each rod is 9.5 mm thick, so they retain a LOT of heat.
Steaks need searing with direct heat. When you go to a proper high-end steakhouse, the grilled steak you're served was cooked on a very hot grill for not very long. The idea is that the very hot heat produces a tasty crust via the Maillard reaction; grill marks are created, which are also tasty because they get a lot of Maillard, and they prevent sticking. Grill marks are also pretty. I have heard tell of steakhouse grills that get to be 2200 degrees, which I find to be somewhat unlikely; more reasonable temps are 1500-1800 degrees. As Alton Brown will tell you, "sealing in juices" is a myth; however, higher heat means shorter cooking times and less time for juices to drip away or vaporize. (I dislike Alton Brown. Cooking does not require debunking.)
The Summit, all 4 burners on full plus the sear burner full with the top closed, heated to 700 degrees inside air temperature within 5 minutes; after another 5, the grill grates were starting to show a distinct cherry red glow in the middle. I slapped down a 1.5 inch bone-in ribeye on that, which had been rubbed with a little kosher salt and pepper. Each side was pressed down onto the cherry red grill and got 2-2.5 minutes direct heat. I then rotated the steak 45 degrees from what it had been, and grilled direct 3 more minutes on each side, to produce the so-called 'professional 45 degree' grill marks. 9 minutes on indirect heat, with only burners 1 and 4 on high, finished the meat.
While the steak was let to stand, I grilled some onion, some thick-sliced zucchini, and a corn. The zucchini was dusted with Lawry's seasoned salt, and the corn smeared with butter and lightly dusted with Mr Stubb's original dry rub (thanks, palecur!)
This is pretty typical grilling stuff, but I go into this detail because I have a photo of the results to show you:
Pretty, isn't it? It was delicious, although I used a hair too much salt for my liking; it was about at the level of Carnevino saltiness, which I like when I am drinking a lot of water and wine, and which occhiblusf does not like at all.
Last night occhiblusf and I returned for round 2, which involved a rotisserie chicken, or, as the BBQ Source Forums guys call it, a "rotto bird." I mainly am making this post to record the recipe:
A 4.5 lb organic chicken was obtained, rinsed and dried. The skin was loosened from the meat by manual pressure, being careful not to tear it. Rosemary (from the neighbor's frontyard hedge), shallots and garlic were minced finely and the pile received a bit of kosher salt and a few droplets of lime juice to make a sort of coarse paste. This was inserted between the skin and the meat. The skin and cavity were then dusted with sea salt and black pepper. One large jalapeño (the first, and probably last fruit of my garden jalapeño,) two lime halves, and a large wad of rosemary sprigs were crammed into the cavity and the bird spitted and trussed.
The IR burner was turned on, as were burners 1 and 4, and the grill preheated to 350. It overshot and got to 400 in about 2 minutes, and burners 1 and 4 were played with for the next 10 minutes to keep the number at 350; after that, radiant heat got to the thermometer and made it unreliable. (We think minimum flame on 1 and 4 would have been adequate.) Then, a large aluminum lasagna pan was placed on the grates, filled with halved baby Yukon Gold potatoes which received a very light dusting of salt and pepper. The bird was spun for 60 minutes, which was really sort of a crapshoot as we had no idea.
Internal thigh temperature at the end of that time was 174 degrees. We have no picture - it was late - we just grilled up some corn, hit the table and dug in.
It is probably impossible to overstate how good this chicken was. The skin was crisp and delicious like candy, browned perfectly, with a browner stripe where the bird was fatter and got closer to the IR burner; the meat inside was succulent and flavorful. The lime, jalapeño, garlic and rosemary flavors penetrated the meat, especially the breast, which was the moistest chicken breast I have ever eaten; it was as juicy as dark meat usually is. The dark meat was more chickeny, less of the added flavors; but the skin over the dark meat was getting up into bacon levels of deliciousness. (occhiblusf states "I would agree with that!")
The potatoes were undersalted, easily corrected, and tasted like fried up chickeny potato chips, which was sort of neat. They didn't really take up any of the other flavors of the bird so next time it will probably be fun to try spicing them.
In summary: go grilling!