CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Today is St. Patrick’s Day, the one day of the year when everyone has a little Irish in them. The holiday first made official in the 17th century, it celebrates St. Patrick - the patron Saint of Ireland and the person who first introduced Christianity to Ireland. To celebrate the holiday people dress in green, enjoy parades, and enjoy traditional Irish food and beverages.
In the spirit of the eating like the Irish, on Friday we made a traditional Irish Soda Bread (in a cast iron pan), some smoked corned beef, and grilled up cabbage...another option is - to make a Reuben sandwich, and wash it all down with a Guinness.
For the soda bread, preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the pan inside. While heating up, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, and raisins. Separately cut cold butter into pieces and then cut into the flour mixture. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk and an egg. When the pan is almost at temperature pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, fold together until it’s thoroughly mixed, then put onto a floured board. With floured hands shape into a ball then score the top with an “x”. Take the pan out of the oven, butter it, put the ball in, and bake for 45-55 minutes until the center is 190 degrees. Let cool then slice.
For the corned beef most people think of it as boiled. The better way of course is on the grill or smoker. Either make your own spice blend or buy a pre-packaged one at the grocery store. Preheat your grill or smoker to 235 degrees, and for added flavor get some wood smoke going. Take the corned beef out of the refrigerator 30 minutes ahead of cooking, place a rack in an aluminum pan, put some water in the bottom but not up to the level of the rack, put the corned beef fat side down on the rack and empty the included spice packed into the water. When the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees it is cooked. Let rest for 10 minutes and then slice against the grain.
Like the corned beef, most people think of it as boiled food. Of course everything we do is grilled and once you have grilled cabbage you’ll never have it boiled again. Quarter a head of green cabbage, cut the knob out of the bottom, and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Heat your grill to high and put the cabbage quarters on. Turn after each side develops some “char”, then remove and reduce the heat to 400 degrees. On a large piece of aluminum foil drizzle melted butter over the cabbage, then season with salt, pepper, garlic, grated parmesan cheese, and then either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Put the pieces back together and wrap up in the foil and put back on the grill. After about 30 minutes check for doneness and continue cooking if softer cabbage is desired. Serve immediately with the corned beef and soda bread.
Finally, pour a nice glass of Guinness. While many people think it may be a heavy beer like a stout, Guinness is actually fairly light but packed with flavor. It’s also a great beer to marinate meat in for grilling or smoking another time. Then enjoy the festivities.
In addition to the recipes featured on Charlotte Today, Ernie also teaches classes to help you become a grilling wizard. For his latest recipes and class offerings, go to erniesbbq.com to learn more