Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Making Bengal Bar-B-Que's Safari Skewer at Home

As I have been reporting this week, my little sister and her husband are at Disneyland and have been kind of taking me along by sending back frequent text messages and pictures. On Monday, she stopped by Adventureland's Bengal Bar-B-Que and had a Safari Skewer (bacon wrapped asparagus touched off by a squeeze of lime)  "for me" as she is not a huge fan of the $3.89 morsels of goodness. One of her complaints - the Bengal Bar-B-Que didn't have mayonnaise for her to dip the asparagus in. That's kind of .... nuts. Anyway she sent me back a photo (not the one above, that's one of mine) of the skewer either to salute me or stick it to me - I'm not sure which. 

I always have a Safari Skewer or two when I make my trips to Disneyland and there are others like me. For many people, it's one of the small hidden food gems that you can find at Disneyland though admittedly, some people don't like them at all (Mrs. DisneylandTraveler). If they are made correctly, it's a great snack with tender grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon that is just crispy enough then highlighted by a squeeze of fresh lime - good, good, stuff. The problem is Bengal Bar-B-Que tends to be inconsistent when making the skewers and sometimes you can get tough, stringy asparagus wrapped in flabby bacon sorely lacking in cooking time or care by the griller. If I had to guess, for every 4 skewers I have eaten, 1 may end up being sub-par and disappointing. You pay your money and takes your chances sometimes.

So yesterday morning I'm thinking about the bacon wrapped asparagus my sister ate at the park the previous day and held over my head. I'm thinking to myself "You know this isn't complicated, you can make this at home you idiot - go to the store and get some bacon, asparagus, and lime". So here is the recepe for my version of Bengal Bar-Que's Safari Skewer:

1 bunch of asparagus
1 12 oz. package of bacon
A little Olive Oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Lime wedges

Complicated, isn't it? Why haven't I made this before? (answer below)

Preparation: Preheat charcoal on a bar-b-que (I have a gas grill but for most foods, I use a charcoal Weber - a fine American made product if there ever was one). Cut about an inch or two off the base of the asparagus stalks and toss in the trash (or compost for you green people) as these really do tend to be tough and stringy. Cut the remaining asparagus spears into about and inch or inch and a half pieces. Throw the cut asparagus into a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and the Montreal stake seasoning (this is a great all purpose seasoning for just about everything that's primarily salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and some other stuff).

I should have said, you need to soak some bamboo skewers in water for about a half an hour before using them. Soak them while the charcoal is heating up. Cut up the bacon slices in pieces large enough to wrap around asparagus pieces. I didn't do it but putting the bacon in the freezer for a few minutes may make it a bit easier handle when forming around the asparagus (or maybe really good bacon may help). Skewer each piece of bacon wrapped asparagus. I did about 5 or 6 per skewer - the pieces should not touch each other on the skewer for better all around cooking. And here is probably why I have not done this at home - this is one slippery, greasy, time consuming job especially for someone who doesn't have cook's hands. More than piece of asparagus missed the skewer, hit the cutting board and slid off to the floor.

Cooking: I took my first skewer and threw it right over the charcoals which I had set up for both direct and indirect cooking. As one would suspect, the skewers laced with bacon fat and olive oil immediately began to flame up. This wouldn't work as the bacon would burn to a crisp long before the asparagus had a chance to cook correctly. So I dropped the skewers on the indirect part of the grill (no charcoal underneath) and covered with a lid. I was going to cook these slowly with the grill serving more as an oven. I let the skewers cook about 7 minutes, then flipped them over and reversed them so the skewer that was furthest away from the charcoal now became the closest, again covered the skewers and opened another beer (forgot that part before). So I cooked them about 7 more minutes. I reversed them one more time for seven minutes so now we are at a little over 20 minutes cooking time. Before removing the skewers from the grill, I moved them on to the direct charcoal heat for a little less that a minute the flipped them one time for a few more seconds of high heat. This helps in the final crisping process. Most of the fat will have been rendered out by this point which is probably a good thing.

Squeeze with lime and serve to the Boy. He was impressed. I told him to take a few pieces to Mrs. DLT and surprisingly she ate them and loved them. She wouldn't touch it a Disneyland but she ate mine. She was impressed. And when I sat down to eat mine, so was I.

The Bengal Bar-B-Que has got nothing on the Safari Skewers I made last night - they were as good if not better.

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