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Chef Tom Gray makes a delicious FSU-inspired tailgate dish; the world's best bacon in Tennessee.

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Transcript

- Hey I'm Jax, and welcome to The Grill Iron. We drop 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. As reigning national champions, Florida state has nothing left to prove, yet everything to lose. So fans flood the street with garnet and gold. They show their support with a tomahawk chop, we show ours on the chopping block. The Seminole spirit is handed down through generations, like an emotional heirloom. And dreams of grid iron super stardom, start early. Under the live oak trees the drum beats, the grill ignites, and the sun rises on game day. The only thing that rivals the crowds ruckus cheering, is the bubbly sizzle, of the deep fryer. Fresh onion rings, hot corn dogs. That's what a tailgate tastes like. And sometimes you open up the lid to a big'ol pot. That is a bucket of heaven. And find yourself a good ol'fashioned shrimp boil. No matter what happens on the field, we've got a chef who can guarantee victory on the plate. A two time James Beard award nominee is coming from neighboring Jacksonville, to take tailgating to a whole'nother level. - Hi, I'm chef Tom Gray of Moxie kitchen and cocktails, in Jacksonville Florida. Moxie is a series of first impressions. From the moment you drive up and you see it, you can smell the smoke in the air from our wood fired grill. You sit down in this beautiful booth, and then the plate hits. And that is the culmination of something that is visually appealing, aromatic, mouth watering, and that is ultimately delicious. When we make a decision on a dish, it has to be authentic, or it has to be a foundation. There is truth in those ingredients. If you were to walk through our kitchen, there's nothing that you'll see that we don't know where it's from, it's wholesome. There is this relationship, we are taking care of, a farm, they are taking care of us. I believe what sets us apart is that we care, and that, that care shows on those plates. Tailgating culture has become a huge party. The spreads have gotten bigger and bigger and more elaborate. Flags are flying, the jerseys are being worn, the excitement is in the air. Everyone is waiting for this game, Seminoles VS Clemson. So when we come to tailgate, our dish is all about the Seminole pride. We're bringing the garnet and gold to our dish. We're bringing everything that Moxie means, the bold, the swagger, the gusto, we're bringing all that to our tailgate. - So I'm just outside of Jacksonville right now, I don't really have a whole lot of information at the moment, I was given an early wake up call, a pair of rubber boots, and some gps coordinates. So, this should be fun. This, is Cognito Farms. A peak into the past, and hopefully, the future of farming in America. Hello! Now'days, we call it sustainable. But for centuries, it's just how things were done. And at the head of the family farm, is Chad Griffis. Who lovingly welcomed us into his agricultural paradise. - This is an amazing property, the whole relationship between the chickens, and the cows, and the pigs, this is why I choose to buy my eggs, and my pork from Chad at Cognito Farms. - Alright, so tell me exactly what is happening today? - We're gonna move these chickens today. And we're gonna collect some eggs. And so get a real hands on, on what we do here. We're always got out chickens on the move because that way they fertilize all the pasture, just not one spot. Plus, chickens like to tear things up if you leave them in one place too long. - For me, seeing the pastures every time I'm out here, they're always lush. - [Jax] It's all very symbiotic here, because the chickens fertilize the ground, and then the cows come over and eat the, nutrient rich ground, we'll call it? - [Chad] Exactly. - Time to put me to work, lets move some chickens. - Yeah, lets get it going. - Woo! I'm driving a tractor. We're coming for you Tom! Woo! - Good job. - Watch out chickens. I did not expect my day to end with herding chickens. - Alright so lets go get your game day eggs. - Yes! - Awesome! - That just slides right down. - [Jax] Oh, wow. This is a thing of beauty. It's perfect, it's brown, and it's fresh. I know we're using these on Saturday, we're gonna have pork loin, but how do these play in? - So these come into play in a potato salad. These eggs are so delicious. The beautiful thing about this is also, is the yoke is so deep, and so flavorful, they truly taste amazing. - This is gonna be one hell of a tail gate. - It is. - Thank you - Bye Jax. - [Jax] Coming up, we're bringing our farm fresh pork and egg, to the tail gate. Where Chef Todd is going to create a unique garnet and gold feast. I have cooked a lot of meat, I've stood behind a lot of grills, and I've never seen it be that golden and gorgeous. Welcome everybody to the Hyundai field house. This is Chef Tom from Moxie kitchen in Jacksonville Florida. Give it up for Chef. - Thank you. - Tell us what you're cooking today. - Today we did the pork loins, we did a brine on them for about 24 hours, then we made a really cool coleslaw, we did a South Carolina style potato salad, we topped the dish with garnet and gold sauce. - I have cooked a lot of meat, I've stood behind a lot of grills, and I've never seen it be that golden and gorgeous. - This is just beautiful pork to start with, I mean it's raised well, it has lots of love, so we had to share that love back to it. But a big piece of that caramelization that you're seeing is that this pork has been brined. And the brine is what helps give it that beautiful color. - You started this two days ago? - I started two days ago. - And we're gonna scarf it down in like two bites. - Okay, now we have our sauces, we have our two barbecue sauces, we have our garnet and we have our gold for our Seminoles. We have too - conveniently colored. - We have our garnet sauce. - Sweet but then the savory comes around at the end. - Yes. We're gonna add one more layer of flavor, little bit of sauteed garlic, get it nice and golden brown, and the we'll stir it in. We get a nice base with the barbecue sauce, that's going to continue that glaze, and add even more flavor. - Your barbecue sauce just took the scent to a whole new level. - When that starts hitting the heat, and the sugar, so you can smell that change. You can smell that brown sugar happening. It's really amazing. - I can't believe I finally get to taste these egg. - [Tom] Look at these. - Have you ever seen a yoke that yellow? - [Tom] So silky. - It is flavorful, it's creamy. - [Tom] So we're going to chop these whites up and add them, but the yoke we're gonna do something really cool, well push it through a sieve, nice and smooth, and then that will actually just, coat our South Carolina potato salad. Only a two time James Beard nominee would bring a sieve to a tailgate. - Everybody keeps a sieve in their tailgating gear. - Got one in my purse. - Yeah. - Oh my gosh look at this, this is amazing, it's glazed, it's crunchy, the edges, everything we said was going to happen, it's just like, I just want to dig in. Ready to slice it? - Football players have touchdown chefs, they got this. - I'm not gonna spike it, I'm gonna slice it. - Now we have to slice this, this is amazing. Oh my gosh. - [Jax] Look at how easily that cuts. It like, sweats flavor in your mouth. - Okay, so this is our coleslaw. Red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots. - It's light, it's crunchy, it's going to be the brightness on the flavor. - This is how we brought South Carolina to the table, our potato salad. Now we're gonna put'em on the plate, and eat them up. - Let us devour them. - Now we're gonna make our jersey, we'll go ahead and put this on the other side. - We're gonna make our jersey. - We have that garnet sauce that we made with the garlic. - Drizzle drizzle. And you can't have the garnet without? - The gold. - Never buying store bought barbecue sauce again. - There's one last component we have to add. - pig on pig. - We need pig skin on our pig. Adds a nice crunchy texture to it. - This is how I like to show my school spirit. - We cook with an audience everyday, we have a wide open kitchen, but never bleachers. - And the energy at a tailgate - Awesome energy. Yeah. It's inspiring. - The culmination of what we've seen over the last few days is all of the love, and all of the heart, and all of the hard work from Chef, from the farmers, that go into this dish, and I promise you, you can taste the difference. Up next, we're heading to Knoxville, home of the Tennessee volunteers. Where chef Matt Gallaher, is taking me to the home of the world famous, Benton's Bacon. Tucked into the Smokey Mountains, is a unique American way of life. The Appalachian custom, self sustenance and hand crafting, we're born out of necessity. But live on, out of reverence for the past. The Tennessee volunteers are named after the very act of caring, sharing, and selflessness, and that's what game day is all about. It's about hugs, and high fives, and your heart and soul on a plate. On a campus where, at the root of everything, is kindness, and overwhelming Tennessee charm radiates. Through the crisp game day air, on fans smiling faces. And on piping hot grills. In keeping with the school spirit, we are giving the best of what we've got, and the best of what we've got is a true Southern gentlemen, a hometown boy who was primed to be Knoxville's first rockstar chef. - Hi, I am Matt Gallaher, I'm the chef of Knox Mason, in Knoxville Tennessee. Our philosophy when we first opened was, lets source as much as we can locally, and then build on that. Lets foster new relationships, and lets get to know new farmers, and new farms. It's been an amazing experience for me as a chef, because the farmers market allows us to be really creative because we're sensitive to what's available on the market. At Knox Mason, we strive to feature local and regional artisans. Up to 70% of our food dollars are going to Tennessee farms. Most of our meats are sourced regionally, all of our farm eggs are sourced locally. I think it's made me a better chef to be able to do that. The flexibility, of not being locked in to a certain way of doing things. And so, we have a small menu, but it changes regularly, we can change a dish at a moments notice, if we want to, or if we need to, depending on availability. I am very gratified that the community in Knoxville has responded to that. And people do care, about the providence, of the raw ingredients, and they want to see, you know the farms around here succeed. I grew up in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. One of the amazing things about cooking in Tennessee, we have this strong tradition of Appalachian cuisine, and so, all these artisanal products that people had to use a century ago, carving their living off the land, those are cornerstones of our cuisine, and we're proud to feature those on our menu. It's really about making people feel comfortable, and feeling welcome, and being hospitable. And I think our city does that, I think this area of the country does that very well, we try to reflect that in the service at Knox Mason. Football is a religion in Knoxville. The energy surrounding the stadium on game day, it is unlike anyplace I've ever been in my life. It's a competition to see how many people you can get at your tailgate. How many people you can feed. How many people you can take care of. It's a great source of pride, that's something we do, and that's something we do very well. It's pretty special. - It's said round'these parts, that the worlds nicest man, also makes the worlds best bacon. This is Benton's Smokey Mountain Country Hams, in Madisonville, Tennessee. - So we're here at Allan Benton's smokehouse, to get the best bacon in the world, and the reason I want you to see this place, is because the Appalachian traditions Allan employs are very true to this region, and the history of this region. - I can't believe I'm here because every chef I have ever worked with, across the country, raves about this place. - You must be disappointed to see what a hole In the wall business you've come to. - This is exactly what I was hoping for. - I still use my original family recipe on this bacon. And I've tweaked and played with that recipe for 41 years. I'm excited to have you here, and I'm excited to show you. Come on back. - [Jax] And with that, Allan so generously invited us into his world. Everywhere you look in this building there is just ham hanging, and curing, aging, taking on that flavor that makes it, the best. Every room smells better than the next. - Those packing houses make bacon within 24 hours. This is a time honored process, that has been done in Europe for centuries before it was ever done on this colony. Get your hands dirty and lets see what you can do Chef. It's just a mixture of salt and brown sugar, and little pepper flakes maybe. - This has got to be really cool for you Chef. - This is amazing, I've known Allan for about 11 years, and I've seen this box before. - [Allan] My father and I built this old salt box about 41 years ago. This has seen a few piece of meat go through it in that length of time. - This box could be at the Food Smithsonian. - Getting my hands in here, and touching this beautiful belly, it's really special. Thank you very much for this. - [Jax] Once the rub has been massaged into the pork belly, it's ready for Benton's time tested ritual. 30 unhurried days of curing and aging. - I was once asked why I didn't smoke my bacon with pecan, or mesquite, or something else. Because we don't have pecan, or mesquite here in East Tennessee, we have hickory. - What I feel like gives Benton's bacon it's signature flavor is this wood. From the smokehouse, to the pan, that flavor carries through. - Oh man, now I know why he chose hickory. That is phenomenal. - We'll keep the fire going, seven days a week. First thing I do before I have my warm coffee on Sunday, is come out and put wood on the fire. - This man comes here on Sundays, to keep his fire going. - This is final process. I's been in the smokehouse for 3 days of intense smoke, lets open these doors, and see what the bacon looks like. - [Jax] Oh man. That smells unreal, I am in awe. I'm in awe right now. It's caramelized, it's glistening, you can see all the flavor running through it. It's, just, perfect. - I get to smell it, I get to see it, but this, to have it warm in my hands, is pretty special. - When I touch it, I know from touching it, after this many years, that it's, there. This is perfectly smoked, it's ready to slice and package, and hopefully, it will make it easier for somebody to get out of the bed in the morning if they smell this cooking. - [Jax] Allan's still warm perfectly cured bacon, is destined for the greatness it deserves. chef Matt's capable hands, and an early morning, volunteer game day. Next up, we're hitting the tail gate. Where chef Matt is making an amazing bacon stuffed quail dish, for hungry volunteers. We have already fallen in love with Chef's food, and today he is taking the best of the season, and the best of Tennessee, and just fusing it into a glorious Fall feast. - This time of year, a lot of people start thinking Turkey, so for a tailgate, I wanted to do something of a smaller format, so I decided to have quail instead. - Look at these, they're like little, individualized turkeys. - And beyond that, the meat is, it's mostly dark meat. So there's not really white meat on the quail. We were gonna stuff the quail inside the cavity of the bird, ratchet up the flavor a little bit. We're staring with, a smoked sausage from Allan Benton's, with that we have Saw Works beer bread, it's a home made beer bread, made from beer from a local brewery here in Knoxville. - It's, perfect. - So we're gonna season with a little sage and thyme, a little bit of sauteed onion and celery, and salt. And that's it. Formed our little sausage stuffing football. Go right into the bird. - Look at that. It's like mini thanksgiving. - And then as it cooks, we're rendering out some of that quail fat, some of that sausage fat, so you're going to get the pork, and the smoke, and the quail and herbs, and just a great combination of flavors. - Oh and you flip they're, golden, they've got the griddle marks, the crisp on the skin. It smells as good as it looks, and it looks damn near perfect. That is just so many flavors, packed into one tiny little perfect quail. Look at that, just falls, off. Still piping hot. Golden, crispy. Oh my god. It's the juiciest piece of fowl I've ever had. I mean this is like, one tenth the size of a chicken leg, with 1,000 x the flavor. I got to point out, that this right here, is pretty unanimously voted, the best bacon, in the country, by some of our nations top chefs. How are we going to honor this beautiful bacon? - I am gonna dice this bacon up. Cut it into, some more manageable pieces. - When you have bacon this amazing, there is no way to cut it but thick. I mean, look at that. - In goes the Benton's bacon. - Oh, that's the sound I love. - And let that, beautiful smokey fat start to render. - There is so much juice coming off that bacon. It is that heavenly smell of sweet, and smokey. - So the bacon is beautifully rendered, now I am gonna add some light brown sugar. - [Jax] Oh, nice. - [Matt] Gonna start to build a little caramel in the pan. - The bacon grease is just, drinking up all of that sugar. - So, next ingredient, is gonna be, apples. as delicious as a pan of caramel and bacon might be, I think a little local apples, is gonna introduce a little sweetness, actually a little tartness too, and ultimately a little crunch. - [Jax] Yeah, perfect time of year for this too. Oh my god, it's dripping with sugar, and bacon grease. - No tailgate is complete without the flask, - What's in there? - So this is Bell Meade Tennessee bourbon, give it some of that vanilla, charred oak, aged bourbon barrel, kind of component to it. - That really, added, a whole new level. - Caramelly, it's burnt, it's sweet from the apples, to bite into it there is so much good crunch. That's, I mean that's evil genius right there. That's insane. - [Matt] So taking it to the plate, first component is gonna be, this beautiful sweet potato puree. Sweet, tangy, a little spice, I love it. - And a great base for our quail. - That's right. - We're gonna, lovingly place this beautiful bird right on top. Final component, these beautiful caramelized, local apples. And that bourbon caramel, and bacon fat - and the sauce this is just beautiful. It's autumnal glory. It's Tennessee, at the best time of year. Thanksgiving was my favorite day of the year, today's my new favorite day of the year. Thank you. In the spirit of the volunteers, who wants, some beautiful food. - That volunteers spirit, caring and sharing. - I am really proud to be from Tennessee. I am really glad to have the volunteer spirit. It's amazing, it's infectious, I'm so glad to be apart of it. And, in my own way, represent what's great about Tennessee. - Go big orange!

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