Justin and I are settling in to life with our new Weber grill quite comfortably. Last weekend, we used it to make some simple brats, corn on the cob, and a marinated pork tenderloin that came out perfectly cooked. We worked out some kinks with our chimney starter (a more eco-friendly way to get the coals going that forgoes the traditional lighter fluid method), and learned heat management techniques through trial and error. Another visit to Home Depot netted us a fire extinguisher, which has greatly increased Justin's grill confidence, even though we hope to never need it.
Tonight, we thought we'd put kebabs to the test, using a recipe that employed both chicken and Italian sausage, because encased meats automatically make any dinner better. I was hoping that the chicken, which we marinated overnight in a combination of rosemary, olive oil, and garlic, would share some of the characteristics of the pork tenderloin I made last weekend, which has all of the same ingredients. Mom has been making that tenderloin for years, and it's long been a family favorite, so I was hoping to capture some of its magic albeit in a different context.
As it turned out, I should have just used the same marinade, as this one was surprisingly bland, given its components. I'm not sure how something so similar could have gone so far astray, but the chicken was practically flavorless, aside from the smoky quality imparted by the grill. I was also underwhelmed by the sweet Italian sausage, which I had used because the recipe called for it, despite the fact that we universally use hot Italian sausage in the other dishes we prepare in our household.
Between each piece of meat went a fresh sage leaf, which was the instruction of which I was most skeptical. Sage can be a very dominant flavor, and I was concerned that it would overpower the duo of meats. In reality, the sage was actually the part of the dish that worked the best, as it imparted a touch of extra herbal flavor without being too much.
We also could have made a better selection with our choice of vehicle for getting the meat onto the grill. We used bamboo skewers, soaked in water for about an hour before grilling, because that was what we had on hand. The soaking was supposed to keep the skewers from catching fire and burning, but the technique didn't work for us, and some of our wood disintegrated on the grill. Next time, we'll know to procure some fire-resistant metal skewers.
I still think there's some merit to the idea of a mixed grill using flavorful marinated chicken and juicy pork sausage. When I get around to making the appropriate tweaks to my technique, I'll be sure to keep you posted on the resulting recipe...