BBQ Recipes from Roots Steakhouse Chef Jason Morey

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What’s the “Q” stand for in BBQ? Questions, of course! Before you fire up the grill, check out our “Chef on the Barbi” series for bangin’ barbecue tips from some of Bergen’s top chefs. We checked in with Jason Morey of Roots Steakhouse in Ridgewood, NJ who gave us his favorite recipes and grill tips for when he’s behind the grill in his own home.

Where Do You Buy Your Meats?
“On a personal level, I enjoy cooking on the grill nearly exclusively.  After being indoors all week, I try to be outside as much as I can (even in winter).  I love creating a mixed grill, with artisan made sausages (Esposito’s in East Hanover has an amazing broccoli rabe filled sausage, and Goffle Farms in Wyckoff offers an incredible Italian Chicken sausage), secondary cuts of meats such as veal hangar steaks & pork blade chops, and wild game (I just had an incredible Bison Tomahawk Chop that fed 3 of us!).  The specialty meats can be had through any reputable local butcher such as Swiss Pork Store in Fair Lawn.”

Have Any Great Grilling Tips? 
“If your have the option of multiple burners on your gas grill, leave only one on high and keep the other at much cooler temperature…that way the heat can flow throughout the grill and cook more tender items such as chicken more thoroughly without burning.  If you prefer charcoal, push the coals to one side to create hot & cold spots to the same effect.  And as with all BBQ—-slow and low is the best!  You will have to dedicate a good amount of time to the cooking process, but the results are well worth the effort.”

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burgers
1 quart of house BBQ sauce*
1/2 cup of Roots Steakhouse Steak Sauce (available at Kings, Shop Rite and any Harvest Restaurant)
3 TBSP molasses
1 TBSP malt vinegar
Dash of bitters
Puree all ingredients until fully incorporated
I like to grill a 10 oz., hand formed burger (our blend is short rib & brisket) on high heat (flat top, gas grill or charcoal grill is great, too).  Be sure not to press down on the burger—-you will lose the juices and have a drier, more crumbly product.  Flip over after 6 minutes, slather on sauce, and finish cooking for an additional 4 minutes (for Medium-Rare).  Top with crispy bacon and melt on your favorite cheddar (I love Lawrenceville Jack cheese from Cherry Grove Creamery in Lawrenceville, NJ).  This is a big burger and needs a substantial bun—-large brioche or potato buns work great.

*BBQ sauce recipe:
1 TBSP canola oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 large white onion, diced
1/4 cup chipotle pepper
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 TBSP dry mustard powder (Colman’s)
1 TBSP white sugar
3 1/2 lbs Heinz Ketchup

Sauté first 3 ingredients over medium heat until soft.  Toss in chipotles, stir, then add cider vinegar & Tabasco.  Scrape up any bits stuck to pan, and then add both sugars and mustard powder.  Stir until incorporated.  Add ketchup and reduce heat to med-low.  Stir in completely and allow sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  If some amount begins to stick on bottom, do not scrape it up (it will impart a burned flavor to the sauce).  Instead, change pots if necessary.  After 30 minutes, puree until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

BBQ Ribs
I like to use a St. Louis Rib, 1 1/4”, that I slow braise in our Hathor Red Ale (brewed by sister restaurant, Trap Rock Brewery in Berkeley Heights).  Add Star Anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaves, black peppercorns, crushed red pepper, kosher salt and water to cover.  Cook on a slow flame (so the braising liquid barely simmers) for at least 1 1/2 hours, until the meat in just pulling off the bone.  They are then cooled completely in the braising liquid overnight.

Grill the braised ribs on a hot grill to add flavor and color, being sure to get a nice crispy texture.  Toss the ribs with our homemade BBQ sauce (recipe for BBQ sauce above) and serve with a small wedge of blue cheese dressed iceberg lettuce.

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