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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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Transcript

- Hey I'm Jax, and welcome to The Grill Iron. We track the best culinary trail-blazers to step into our Tastemade Kitchen at the Hyundai Field House 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. 110,000 people screaming three simple words, hail the victors! But before kick off, we are all about big, smokey flavor outside the big house. Decades of glory show, not only on maize 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. Mm-mm, 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 Arbor's most phenomenal culinary talents, and he's given 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 we're 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. 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. It's what you do. At the end of the day, that's why you're happy, and that's what fulfills your soul. So what we wanna do is 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 the football team. There's 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 could 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's been in some amazing kitchens, Tribute in Farmington Hills-- - Yep. - one of my favorites, Alinea in Chicago. Today I get to see the best of Michigan through your eyes. - Yeah, so today I'm going to take you to the place where 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 serenely soothing aura. This place is amazing calm and peaceful and beautiful. - This was originally a Buddhist Center that started about 20 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 on 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 at every level. - 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, it's almost as tall as I am. It is so rich in color. - Fresh as possible, right? It's not that bitterness you get from that kale in the supermarket. - There's no bite. - No. - It's almost juicy. - Makes you wanna 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 gonna have right out of the ground. But the real purpose of the trip was to meet Blossom, Holly Berry and Peony. They are so cute, hi! The happiest, friendliest goats, aw, she's so sweet. Look at her, who tenderly offered up their silky milk. - Are you ready? - As ready as I'll ever be. - All right. 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, it's 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. - [Jax] And in the shadow of the Wish-fulfilling Stupa, all of the 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 gonna be the best curds. - I saw you perk up. - Yeah, these are gonna be fantastic. So we're gonna deep fry these, season 'em, maybe a little spice and they're gonna get nice and gooey and they'll be the perfect topping for our Coney dog. - Coming up, we make our take on Michigan's infamous Coney dog topped with our delicious White Lotus cheese curds. Mmmm. - That's not just texture, there's flavor. - That might be the best thing I've ever eaten. Hey 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 we're doing Michigan's own Coney dog. We're using sausage from Porter, sausage in Detroit. We made venison chili for the Coney sauce, house made beer mustard and White Lotus cheese curds. So in order to do these dogs justice, we're gonna poach 'em in a little bit of Michigan beer. And what that's gonna do is gonna poach them nicely so all the juices stay inside and some of the Michigan beer flavor goes in. Our sausage have been all poached in our beer. - Oh, yes. - So they're nice and juicy. They retain all their moisture-- - Wow! - all their flavor, and infuse 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 gonna take this cherry wood sawdust from Michigan and we're gonna throw it into our coals, get a nice smoke on and this is really just gonna add more Michigan onto those dogs. - 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 heat component of any great Coney 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 chili is actually some dark cocoa powder. It's gonna add a nice dark element to it. It really brings out the venison if anything. - I travel with a spoon. You really taste the cocoa powder and it's the sweetness that sort of brings all the flavor together in the end. That's no lunch lady chili! I know these guys! - Yeah, so these are actually the cheese curds that we made out at White Lotus. So all that goat, the time and place, the flavor; happy goats, happy cheese curds. So what we did is we took the curds and we breaded 'em in actually bread crumbs made from bread at White Lotus Farms. - [Jax] I love that sizzle. - It's going to be so gooey in the center and so savory. - And this is the one ingredient that's not traditionally on a Coney dog that's all you. - This is our take on it, and this is really what's making it ours. Alright, so once they get this golden brown, we wanna make sure they don't burn, and then sprinkle them with a little bit of spicy salt for some seasoning, Just a little bit of cayenne, smoked paprika, kosher salt. - From the goats that we milked, to my mouth. - Let's check it out. It's crispy from the fry, so gooey from the curd. You can taste the goat. - There's a richness to it that I've never tasted. - Yeah it's not just texture, there's flavor. - That might be the best thing I've ever eaten. Time to build our Coney. - So here we got our White Lotus Farms' bun, which we've grilled up, nice and toasted, and we're gonna smother it in our venison chili. - [Jax] Ooh smother, I like that. - [Frank] Put our grilled dog right on top, quarter sausage dog. - I think messiness is a key component to this dish. - Fresh diced onions and just a touch of our beer mustard we made. Our final edition was making our Coney dog special is we're gonna throw on our fried cheese curds. So there you have it, this is our Go Blue Coney Dog here at Michigan. - Hail the victors, right there. That is the best looking Coney dog I have ever seen. And I love that you can pick up the phone and call the person who made every single one of those ingredients. - Every single one. This is what it's all about here in Michigan. - Who deserves taste number one? Lil' Chef. Is that not the cutest? - Thank you everybody. It's always great cooking in Ann Arbor and I mean, we got the best fans, football fans, basketball fans, and Big House brings out the best in everybody. It's amazing! - Go blue! Go Blue! - Go Blue! - The pork is actually sweet. You've got the spiciness of the venison, you've got the rest of it all over my face. That is a bite of happiness. - Not bad right? - More than not bad. Crazy flippin' good. - Welcome to Michigan. - 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 State University. - My buckeye baptism. - Go in peace. Serve the Buckeyes. Thanks be to Brutus. O-H - I-O! - [Both] Let's go Bucks! - Let's go bucks! Lets go bucks! Woo! - 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? - This week will probably be two, 300. - Look at how it just falls right off the bone. That's Buckeye goodness right there. - So crunchy on the outside and then beautifully moist on the inside. - You wanna try ghost sauce that I made? - Hell yeah Dip. - [Big Nut] We're dippers. - Woo! Takes a second. - Now this is what makes us the number one tailgate in all of college sports, right here baby. One more thing. I'm gonna give you a farewell Buckeye for good luck. - I need a big Big Nut hug. - Woo! - We have tasted our ways through the tailgates, peeked inside a few 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. - S'up, I'm Marcus Meacham, Executive Chef here at Kraft House number 5 in Powell, Ohio, and I'm excited to get in the Grill Iron with you guys. My goal as a chef is to expand people's pallettes. 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 lookup the recipe. This was when I was like 10 years old. The word Kraft in Kraft House, means everything made in house, from scratch, start-to-finish. It's a labor of love. 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, you 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 wanna blow people's minds. So I have huge plans for this dish and I know I wanna use some of the amazing local ingredients here in Columbus. Let me show you. - Hey chef! - How ya 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 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. It's perfect for braising. - Chef Marcus, how you doing man? - Hi buddy, how you doing man? - Nice to see you. - Good to see you. - what ya got here? - You know, looking to get this filled up. - [Gavin] 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 right here. This is a antique post office box from the post office. It was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina down in New Orleans. As with this, everything is this place is built out of salvage, repurposed, pre-prohibition items. This is where the magic happens, right here. - [Jax] Wow, what a beautiful space. - Chef, these are the grains you're gonna be brewing with. Smoked, malted two-row barley. - Oh my God. So this is gonna be the beer that I use to braise my bacon. So it's gonna be like another of smoke. It's gonna be awesome - From good to crazy good? - From good to crazy good. - So what we're gonna do is we're gonna take these grains and we're gonna send them through the mill. Basically, we just wanna crush 'em open. That's what's gonna expose the starches and enzymes in the inside. It's kinda like making tea in the beginning. You steep 'em in hot water, pull out those sugars and those flavors and the smokiness. So as you can see we have a kettle going here, we've got a nice boil going. This is the point in time in the beer that we're adding the hops, which is gonna add bitterness and aroma to your beer. These are Chinook 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 21-bulb chandelier here. We had this custom made in homage to the 21st Amendment which was the repeal of prohibition-- - Yeah. - without which none of this would be possible. Okay, let's go drink some beer. - Let's go. Got Chef Marcus' beer coming through. Game day beer here. Yes! - [Marcus] 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 that's gonna 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 than ready. We got this. - [Jax] Next up, Marcus pulls together his incredible game day recipe for the hungry Ohio State crowds. - O-H! - [Crowd] I-O! - O-H! - [crowd] I-O! - The dish I'm gonna prepare for game day is a deconstructed shrimp po' boy. I'm gonna start with braised bins bacon. Right now, we have a little bit of apple, onion, but it needs one more thing. I'm gonna add a little bit of that North High beer, that specialized beer they made just for me for this occasion. The reason I picked this particular beer, it's gonna add the third dimension of smoke. Slice these thick chunks of bacon. - Look at that. There's so many beautiful colors in that. I wanna just, but I won't. - [Marcus] So this is braised bacon. - [Jax] Oh my God. - [Marcus] It looks like a country ham. - That's fantastic. Right when you think its gonna get too salty, it just hits you with that sweetness, which is exactly what the beer was for. - The next component of the dish. a large scampi shrimp. This shrimp is about the size of a lobster tail. I'm not just gonna throw this directly on the grill. First, I'm gonna make a marinade. Marinaded in OYO bourbon. OYO Bourbon, they're located here in Columbus, Ohio, downtown. Awesome place. It's gonna be the right amount of heat. it's gonna pull the sweetness out and add some heat to the shrimp. Then I'm gonna add a little bit of honey, just to get the nice caramelization. - [Jax] Ah 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. I taste the honey. I taste that bourbon that we had. That is, like perfectly sweet. I've never been able to eat a shrimp in seven bites. That's how big these are. - [Marcus] Then I'm gonna make a nice Asian remoulade 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 gonna sprinkle a little fried chicken skin on top. It's fried chicken skin we chopped up. It's gonna be like the parsley. A lot of people like to sprinkle parsley on top of their food when it's finished. I like to sprinkle chicken skin. - You know what, who needs more greens? - Yeah. - Just throw some more fried meat on it. - Gimme that chicken. This is the base of the plate, the remoulade with the corn added to it. I add that nice, roasted garlic bread a little bit of arugula. Grab a nice slab of this bacon. These are colossal shrimp. Little red bell peppers, little bit of chicken skin. - Who's hungry? I bet y'all have never had tailgate food this good. - [Marcus] This is definitely a privilege to be here cooking for all these hungry, eager fans. - There's so many layers to that, just one bite. - O-H! - [Crowd] I-O! - We've got 12 more schools, 12 more weeks and 12 more chefs. we're rounding up our favorite. We're bringing them to the Tastemade Studios in Los Angeles for a tailgate championship cook-off. - Yes. - I'm gonna do more of this. - [Marcus] I'm going back in. - Going back in. - Going back in. Dabbing in. That shrimp never had a chance.

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