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We're in Ann Arbor, Michigan where Chef Frank Fejeran is taking us on a trip to a beautiful Buddhist farm and making his local take on the classic Michigan Coney Dog.

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- Hey I'm Jax, and welcome to The Grill Iron. We draft the best culinary trailblazers to step into our Tastemade kitchen at the Hyundai FieldHouse. And redefine the art of tailgating. While the teams fight it out on the Grid Iron, our chefs turn up the heat on the Grill Iron. Behind me is the largest stadium in the country. A hundred and ten thousand people screaming three simple words, hail the victors. But before kickoff, we are all about big smoky flavor, outside the big house. Decades of glory show, not only a maze and blue faces, but are carted out week after week. Immersing you in a museum of fandom and pride. On a sun shiny day in Ann Arbor dreams of greatness surround the stadium. It's what gets people suited up, fired up, and throwing that perfectly spiraling hail Mary. Even the grills get in on the school spirit. Ooey, gooey, dripping in barbecue sauce. Somehow, everything tastes better on game day. Mmmmm. Well done my friend. Go blue. We've got grills going behind us as far as the eye can see. But today we're turning over our grill to one of Ann Arbors most phenomenal culinary talents. And he's giving us game day greatness. He's pulling all of the best ingredients that Michigan has to offer. - I'm Frank Fejeran executive chef at the Ravens Club. And today were getting ready to dance in the Grill Iron. Ravens Club is all about nostalgia. From the second you walk in, it's almost like coming into an old movie. It's dark. There's leather, wood, our old world-style bar. We definitely take old school traditional food, and put our twist on it. It's all about the flavor. It's all about the product. And just letting the produce show for itself. Growing up I was definitely a problem child. During my sophomore year in high school I found the kitchen. So, the kitchen really clicked with me immediately. It was very competitive, and there was structure in the kitchen. And I fell in love with that, that was just, that became me. So I've sacrificed a lot. Everything that I've been through, throughout my kitchen life, shows on every plate I do now. As most chefs will tell you, cooking becomes you, and it's, it's what you do at the end of the day it's, that's why you're happy. And that's what fulfills your soul. So what we wanna do, it just create a culture in the city, that people are begging for. A way for Ann Arbor to grow. It's all about learning. It's all about making everybody better. It should always be sustainable. It should always be very artisanal. Wolverine football, U of M, is Ann Arbor. It is a way of life that is unlike any other. Such a town devoted to their football team and so much tradition, passion, and love. When I step into the Grill Iron, we're taking Michigan's most iconic food item, and turning it into the pinnacle of what it can be. - Hello. - Hey Jax, how's it going? - So nice to meet you. - You too. - I'm gonna blow up your spot for a sec. This guy has been in some amazing kitchens, Tribute in Farmington Hills. One of my favorites. Alinea in Chicago. Today I get to see the best of Michigan through your eyes. - Yeah. So today I'm gonna take you to the place where I, I get my zen, I relax. - Let's go find our ohm. What a way to start a day. The sound of morning song, Welcomed us to White Lotus. A Buddhist farm that takes you in and instantly wraps you in a surreal soothing aura. - This place is amazingly calm and peaceful and beautiful. - This was originally a Buddhist center that started about Twenty Years ago, but then it expanded into a farm, a bakery, and a creamery. - As a chef I mean the products out here are just, they're mind blowing. The amount of care they take in themselves and their practice, how mindful they are of everything, it really shows. - I mean a big part of Buddhist tradition is compassion, and compassion I think people have this idea that compassion is social work but it's also providing something for the community you live in that they need. The goal is to produce things with aesthetic pleasure truly, is really important in what we do. Things should look beautiful, they should taste great, and they should nourish you on every level. - [Jax] Here the energy flows through the enlightened hands of those who devotedly care for the crops and is infused into each nourishing ingredient. Oh my lord I have never seen kale like this. That is a thing of beauty, its almost as tall as I am. it is so rich in color. - Fresh as possible, right. It's not bitterness you get from that Kale in the supermarket - There's no bite, It's almost juicy. - Makes you want to eat healthy all the time right. _ Right. I'm from LA, I have had Kale every which way. That's the freshest Kale I'm ever going to have, Right out of the ground. - [Jax] But the real purpose of the trip was to meet blossom, polyberry and peony. They are so cute. Hi. - [Jax] The happiest, friendliest goats. Oh she is so sweet, look at her. - [Jax] and tenderly offered up their silky milk. - Are you ready? - As ready as I'll ever be. - Alright, It's a little like a water balloon. and you squeeze from the top. - Here we go. Oh my God this is so incredible. I never thought I'd get to do anything like this. - I wish they would teach this part in culinary schools. - That's delicious, it's a little warm, it's so rich in flavor, its like a full heavy cream flavor. So chef what are we doing with this milk. So Amy's going to take us over there and show us how to make the best cheese curds we possibly can. - and in the shadow of the wish fulfilling stupa, - [ Jax] All of this spiritual magic of our surroundings, was channeled into our freshly drawn milk. To which we added culture, yeast and probiotic. - They're very active, we pour them in the milk and they reproduce wildly. - [Jax] A touch of calcium chloride and rennet turns liquid into solid and voila. - We wait for flocculation and that's when the milk becomes a solid. And this is the final curd. This is what Frank's going to fry up. - Eat your heart out Minnesota. - Now these are going to be the best curds. - I saw you perk up. - Yer these are going to be, these are going to be fantastic. So we are going to deep fry these, season them, maybe a little spice and they are going to get nice and gooey, and they'll be the perfect topping on a coney dog. - [Jax] Coming up we make our take on Michigan's infamous coney dog topped with our delicious white loaded cheese curds. - It's not just texture there's flavors, it's great. - It might be the best thing I've ever eaten. - Everybody I'm the host of a show called The Grill Iron, we're here at the Hyundai Field House. and today we have chef frank - So today were doing Michigan's own cony dog, we're using sausage from Porta sausage in Detroit, we made Venison chili for the cony sauce, house made Vier mustard and white loaded cheese curds. So in order to do these dogs justice we're going to poach them in a little bit of Michigan beer, and what that's going to do it's going to poach them nicely so all the juices stay inside and some of the Michigan beer flavor goes in. Our sausage has been all poached through our beer - Yes - So they're nice and juicy, they've retained all their moisture, all their flavor and infused a little bit of that best brown in there. - That smells so good. This is what happens when you bring a chef of this caliber to a tailgate. - So now we're going to take this cherry wood sawdust from Michigan and we're going to throw it in to our coals, get a nice smoke going, and this just really is just going to add more Michigan onto this dog. - Yeah I was going to say every step of the way you're showing state pride. Oh look at that. You taste all the herbs in there and it's just really good clean pork. - So the next big component for any great cony dog is definitely the meat chili. In here we have some venison, we add a little onion puree, just a little bit of the smoked paprika. Our most exotic ingredient we use in our chilies, actually some dark cocoa powder, is going to add a nice dark element to it, it really brings out the venison if anything. - I travel with a spoon. Mmmm You really taste the coco , the sweetness that sort of brings all the flavor together in the end. - I know these guys. - Yes so these are actually the cheese curds that we made out at white lotus. Its all that goat and time of place the flavor, happy goats happy cheese curds. - So what we did is we took the curds and we breaded them and actually the bread crumbs made from bread at white lotus farms. - I love that sizzle. - I's going to be so gooey in the center and so savory. - And this is the one ingredient that's not traditionally on a cony dog that's all you. - This is our take on it, this is really what's making it ours. Alright so once they get this golden brown you want to make sure they don't burn. And then sprinkled with a little bit of spicy salt for some seasoning. its a little bit of cayenne, smoked paprika, kosher salt. - From the goats that we milked to my mouth. - Let's check it out. So it's crispy from the fry, so gooey from the curd you can taste the goat. - So gooey. There's a richness to it that I've never tasted. - Yes it's not just texture there's flavor, it's great. - That might be the best thing I've ever eaten. - Time to build our cony. - So here we got our white lotus farms bun which we've grilled up nice and toasted, we're going to smother it in our Venison chili. - Mmmm smother I like that. - Put our grilled dog right on top, or a sausage dog. - I think messiness is a key component to this dish. - Fresh diced onions, just a touch of our beer mustard we made. - Our final edition was making our cony dog special, as we're going to throw on our fried cheese curds. - So there you have it, this is our blue cony dog here in Michigan. - Hail the victors right there, that is the best looking cony dog I have ever seen. I love that you can pick up the phone and call the person who made every single one of those ingredients. - Every single one is what it's all about here in Michigan. _ Who deserves taste number one? _ [Jax] Little Chef is that not the cutest? - Thank you everybody. It's always great cooking in harbor and I mean we got the best fans, football fans, basketball fans, and the big house brings out the best in everybody so it's amazing. - Go Blue! - Go Blue! - The pork is actually sweet, you got the spiciness of the Venison, you've got the rest of it all over my face. - [Jax] That is a bite of happiness. - Not bad right - More than not bad. Crazy, flipping good. - Welcome to Michigan. - [Jax] Up next I'm heading to Columbus Ohio. Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes We're meeting one of the cities finest chefs who shares his story and also lets me tag along to a local brewery where they're crafting a game day beer just for him. - With me right now is the definition of a super fan he's a living legend here on campus, Big Nut. - Yes! _ Yes! - You've made it. - It's game day. - It is. - Jax - Yeah? - I have a special gift for you. - It's got seven Buckeyes for seven national championships for the Ohio university. - My Buckeye baptism. - Go in peace, serve the Buckeyes, O.H! - I.O! - [Together] Let's go Bucks - Let's go Bucks Let's go Bucks Whooo. - [Jax] The biggest Buckeye fan is taking us to the biggest Buckeye party. Voted by Sports Illustrated as the best tailgate in the nation. - I love it when you take the food as serious as the party. Now how many people are you feeding on a game day? - Uh this week we probably be two to three hundred. - Look how is just falls right off the bone. - That is Buckeye goodness right there. - So crunchy on the outside and then beautifully moist on the inside. - [ Chef ] You want to try a ghost sauce that I made? - Hell yeah. Dip - [ big nut ] We're dippers. - Whooo Takes a second. [ Screaming ] - [ Big Nut ] and this is what makes this the number one tailgate in all of college sports right here baby. One more thing I want give you a farewell Buckeye for good luck. - I need a big big nut hug. - Awww Whooo! - We have tasted our way through the tailgates, peeked inside of these smokers and pinched some delicious things off the grill. and since we are all about the food we decided to hand it over to one of Columbus's finest to knock it out of the parking lot. - Sup I'm Marcus Meacham, executive chef here at Kraft house number five in Powell Ohio. And I'm excited in getting the grill out onto you guys. - My goal as a chef is to expand peoples pallets. I like to make people think when they eat. I like to push the boundaries. From a very young age I always had this fascination with the fine dining life. I had this fear of missing out on good food, so I taught myself how to make it at my house. My mom let me go shopping with her. I would go out and buy the ingredients. I would look up the recipe. This was when I was like ten years old. The word Kraft in Kraft House means everything made in house from scratch, start to finish. It's a labor of love. The Scarlet and Gray, The Buckeyes, Ohio State, it's everything in this city. On game day in Columbus Ohio from downtown to the burbs. You can put your hands on the concrete and feel the rumbling pulse of the Scarlet and Gray. You smell hotdogs, smell burgers, you see people enjoying themselves. what I would love to incorporate into this deeply rooted Ohio state tradition, elevate the food to a level of Kraft House 5 capability, I want to blow peoples minds. So I have huge plans for this dish and I know I want to use some of the amazing local ingredients here in Columbus. Let me show you. - Hey chef. - How you doing? - I'm great - Welcome to Columbus. - So nice to finally meet you. _ Yes, yes. So I have big plans for this. - Oh yeah. - I need to show you a couple of places. - Okay - You ready? - Yes, this is a man who knows people around town so. _ I will not disappoint. - I'm getting a beer hand crafted for me from North High Brewing Company. A specialized beer they made just for me for this occasion and what's special about this beer it's super hoppy, its perfect for brazing. - Chef Mark how are you man? - How are you buddy how you doing? - Nice to see you - Good, good to see you, good to see you. - What you got here? - You know was thinking you can just fill it up - Ah check this out right here, locally grown fresh hops right off the vine. - Oh yeah it's like dried flowers. - Right chef got your glass waiting for you here. This is an antique post office box from a post office that was destroyed by hurricane Katrina down in new Orleans. As with this everything in this place is built out of salvaged repurposed, pre prohibition items. This is where the magic happens right here. - [ Jax ] Oh wow, what a beautiful space. - Chef these are the grains you are going to be brewing with. Smoke molted two row barley. - Oh my god, and this is going to be the beer I use to braise my bacon. So it's going to be like another level of smoke, it's going to be awesome. - From good to crazy good. - From good to crazy good. - So what we're going to do is we're going to take these grains and we're going to send them through the mill. - So basically we want to crush them open, that's what's going to expose the starches and enzymes in the inside. It's kind of like making tea in the beginning, and steep them in hot water, pull out those sugars and those flavors and the smokiness. So as you can see we got a kettle going here, you got a nice boil going. This is the point in time in the beer that we are adding the hops. Which is going to add bitterness and aroma to your beer These are hops grown right here in central Ohio. Okay so that's how we made your beer, we actually do have a batch of it ready to drink. Before we do though I want to point out our twenty-one bulb chandelier here that is custom made, Homage to the twenty first amendment which was the appeal to prohibition without which none of this would be possible so. Okay so let's go drink some beer. - Let's go. - Got Chef Marcus beer coming through, game day beer here. - [ Marcus ] Yes, oh yeah look at that. _ Nice and Dark, should be nice and smokey right on the nose there. To game day, let's go Bucks. Oh that's incredible, I think it's going to be pretty good with your braised pork. - This is a winner, this is exactly what I was looking for. - Wish you the best of luck. - We're more then ready, we got this. - [ Jax ] Next up, Marcus pulls together his incredible game day recipe for the hungry Ohio state crowds. - [ Together ] OHIO! - The dish I'm going to prepare for game day, is a deconstructed shrimp Po'boy. I want to start with braised bens bacon Right now we have a little bit of apple, onion, but it needs one more thing, I'm going to add a little bit of that North High beer. A specialized beer made just for me for this occasion. The reason I picked this particular beer, it's going to add the third dimension of smoke. Slice these thick chunks of bacon. - Look at that, there is so many beautiful colors in that. I just want to just, but I won't. - So this is braised bacon, looks like a country ham. - That's fantastic, right when you think it's going to get too salty it hits you with that sweetness, which is exactly what the beer was for. - The next component of the dish, is a large scampi shrimp. This shrimp is about the size of a lobster tail. I'm not just going to throw this directly onto the grill, first I want to make a marinade. Marinade it in OYO Bourbon, OYO Bourbon, their located here in Columbus Ohio downtown. Awesome place. It's going to be the right amount of hint, its going to pull the sweetness out and add something to the shrimp. Then I'm going to add a little bit of honey to get the nice caramelization. - [ Jax ] Yeah you can smell the honey. - [ Marcus ] Yeah you can see it just coating. - It's perfection and I really love how everything that went on the grill before he cooked the shrimp is in this flavor. But I taste the honey, taste that bourbon that we have. Mmmm that is more than perfectly sweet. I've never been able to eat a shrimp in seven bites, that's how big these are. Then I'm going to make a nice *.....* and use some of the finest Ohio sweet corn I could find. And if all that's not enough to shun the Virginia Po'boy, I'm going to sprinkle little fried chicken skin on top. Its fried chicken skin we chopped up, its going to be like the parsley. A lot of people like to sprinkle parsley on top of their food when its finished I like to sprinkle chicken skin. - You know what who needs more greens. - Yeah _ Just throw some more fried meat on it. - Give me that chicken. This is the base of the plate, the *....* with the corn added to it. I have that nice roasted garlic bread, a little bit of arugula, grab a nice slab of this bacon, these are the last of the shrimp, red bell peppers, little bit of chicken skin. _ who's hungry? I bet you all have never had tailgate food this good. - This is definitely a privilege to be here cooking for all these hungry eager fans. - There is so many layers to that, just one bite. - OHIO! - We've got 12 more schools, 12 more weeks, and 12 more chefs. Rounding up our favorite, were bringing him to the taste made studios in Los Angles for a tailgate championship cook off. - Yes _ I'm going to do more of this. I'm going back in, - [ Marcu ] You're going back in. - tapping in, that shrimp never had a chance.

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