In our summer issue of Sprout!, we featured local chefs and their tips to enhance your summer grilling experiences. We’re back again with another feature of talented chef Julian Korger (they/them) of Blue Collar Supper Club (BCSC). BCSC invites queer people to slow down, eat up, and connect through fun and approachable dining so they can feel seen, valued, and cared for. BCBS has evolved into a way to nourish and strengthen community through themed dinner parties and events. Julian often collaborates with local breweries and chefs for their events, creating connections throughout the Twin Cities. Sign up for their newsletter to be looped in about fun and flavorful future dining experiences like their upcoming Sex and the City themed dinner party — previous themes have been “Family Reunion,” “Drive-In” takeout meals while they navigated the pre-vaccination era of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their “meal and a movie” nights with featured classics as “Scream,” “Groundhog’s Day, and more.”
Grilling and Smoking for Layers of Flavor
Julian says one of their favorite things about grilling is the ability to cook with bare feet. Another thing they love is using smoke to bring another dimension to anything grilled. They say, “I’ve got a gas grill (hear me out) but each and every time I grill, I load my smoker box with a blend of chips. Depending on what I’m grilling, I switch out the varieties of chips or lump wood to highlight different flavors in the ingredient or meal. I use hickory and mesquite lump wood directly on the heat plates and will often place the box full of smaller chips on the heat plates as well. I utilize beer and booze as ingredients often when I cook, so the small chips I tend to select are often whiskey, tequila, or rum barrel varieties, and can be found at local hardware stores. Smoking meat and veggies is such a rewarding process for it can really add an extra punch to the finished product.”
BCSC’s Smoked Onion Powder
This powder is great for adding another layer of depth to anything that calls for onion powder. It makes great seasoning for chip/veggie dips, scratch dressings, spice blends and more. One onion yields about one tablespoon of powder, so stock up and enjoy the smoky flavors of summer year-round with this delicious seasoning!
1 white onion
Chips for smoking – cook’s choice (hickory, mesquite, and bourbon work great)
Quart of water (just in case you get a flare up)
Soak your chips in water for about 30 minutes. Peel and thickly slice one white onion into rings. Start your grill on high until the chips smoke. Lower the heat on the side with chips to low. Turn off the heat on the other side. Place onions on the rack farthest away from the ongoing heat source, or on the warming rack if you’ve got one. Let them smoke for at least an hour more time if able. Keep checking them, and flip as needed. If chips catch a flame during the smoking process, pour some water over them. The onions will start to turn golden then a little brown and finally dehydrate. The key is to make sure they do not char. Remove and let them cool to room temperature. If they are still pliable, dry them until they are brittle using a dehydrator or 200 degree oven. Grind into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.