From the kitchen: Master grilling lessons

By By Judy Grigoraci
For the Gazette

Hungry for grilling ideas? How would you handle being served 14 different grilled restaurant items to savor, from vegetable, through meat and poultry and on into dessert? There’s a way to find out.

Periodically throughout the summer, Joe Reckard, executive chef, and his master of ceremonies brother, Eric, hold grilling classes at their restaurant, The Greenhouse of Teays Valley. The next classes are scheduled for Aug. 2 and Sept. 13.

You may remember chef Joe from an earlier column about his sushi class at Cork and Create. The grilling classes are always a sellout.

A recent sunny Saturday afternoon brought about 40 attendees to a class set up behind the restaurant.

We were met with a line of various ignited grills and smokers that would do the Rockettes proud, all fired up to do their best. And they did.

Chef Joe with assist from certified sous chef Ryan Durrett, started with grilled bacon, coated in a Robert Rothschild Blackberry Chipotle Sauce.

The cooking and eating continued with entertaining instructional commentary by Eric, going from the seasoned bacon to include beer can chicken, smoked pork shoulder, smoklahoma baked beans (an award winner at the Taste of Putnam), spicy mushroom and sausage pizza, grilled vegetable medley, grilled romaine lettuce (made into a salad, it racked up another Taste award), and grilled stuffed white cabbage. Are you still with me?

Then corn on the cob a la Weber, grilled prime rib roast and steak, ending it all with grilled pineapple with crème caramel glaze over vanilla ice cream. Whew!

Chef Joe issued recipes for all we tasted with easy to follow grill directions. I was happy to see the recipes for the award winning beans and grilled romaine salad, especially “Joe’s Private Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing” having sampled both beans and salad at the Taste of Putnam.

A few tips from Chef Joe in a nutshell are:

- Season your beer or whatever liquid in the beer-can chicken, for instance with pepper, granulated garlic and some of the seasoning rub that may be applied to the outside of the chicken. I had never thought of flavoring the liquid either in the beer can or in a classier special Weber chicken holder with built-in cup for the cooking liquid.

- Pepper the outside of food well — pepper is a crisping agent. Put a reverse sear on steaks — start them on low heat (275 degrees) to cook, then onto a hot grill for instant browning.

Pizza is what I chose from his menu for today. It’s easy and always popular. He did show us that a pizza stone can work on a hot grill. I thought it would possibly crack.

So you don’t have to cook the pizza dough directly on the grid, as most all recipes direct, to have it sometimes ooze through the slits. Use a stone (a flat round stoneware “pizza pan”). I’ve since made pizza by his method (except I made my own food-processor dough) and it was successful.

If you don’t have a stone, try heavy duty foil. Spray it, spread the dough, fill with pizza toppings and place on the grill.

Homemade pizza dough is always supreme, but chef also recommended a pizza dough mix (Martha White brand was what he was using) or the Poppin’ Fresh can of pizza dough.

He additionally injected that a charcoal grill cooks pizza in a manner similar to a brick oven. It was thumbs-down for Reckard regarding a frozen pizza on the grill. He said he has tried it but wasn’t satisfied with the result.

Did I mention when we started out, everyone ran up to the table in a near-knockdown race for portions of the first food?

By the time we hit the last couple dishes, we all were completely weighed down in our chairs. No one moved. Eric, Joe, Ryan and the restaurant wait staff had to bring us the last two courses.

Visit or phone 304 397-6316 for class updates.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at

Spicy Mushroom, Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1/2 pound bulk hot breakfast sausage

8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

One packet pizza crust dough mix

Olive or canola oil

1 14-ounce jar pizza sauce

Sliced pepperoni

2 cups shredded mozzarella

Crushed pepper flakes

PREHEAT grill to 475 degrees.

BROWN and drain sausage; sauté mushrooms in skillet until tender.

PREPARE crust as package directs; generously rub oil over pizza stone; roll or pat dough into a thin 12 to 14-inch circle on stone, leaving an inch or so around edge. Spread with pizza sauce — not too much or crust will be soggy.

TOP with sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni; sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake on covered grill about 10 to 12 minutes or crust crisp and baked through and cheese melted. Sprinkle with pepper flakes before serving.

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