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More women than ever are taking control of the outdoor barbecue, with a record 25 percent fearlessly flipping burgers and steaks, according to a new survey by the company that produces Weber grills.

So if Dad needs a break from the heat this Sunday, there's no reason why Mom can't grab the tongs and fire up the grill for a festive Father's Day feast.

Chef Michael Pryor of Michel-Schlumberger winery has planned several barbecue menus this summer aimed at welcoming guests of all ages to the winery.

"On Father's Day, it's going to be steak and potatoes — Father's favorite meal," Pryor said. "It's an outdoor picnic with lawn games like putt-putt, badminton, petanque and Frisbee golf."

For the manly fiesta, Pryor has planned a delicious, all-grilled menu of tri-tip sandwiches, grilled baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

"I love steak, and I like to cook it myself," Pryor said. "There's a lot of good steak available in the area."

For the Father's Day picnic, Pryor will sear the tri-tip on the hot side of the grill for a few minutes, then move it to the slow side of the grill for about an hour.

"I always have a couple of different temperatures going on the grill," he said.

"You want one that's good for larger cuts that can get the sear on, and one where you can let them go low and slow."

On a gas grill with three burners, you can simply turn off the burner in the middle and cook over it for indirect heat. On a charcoal grill, keep the coals and the fire off to one side.

With charcoal, it's best to let the fire die down a bit before grilling so that you don't burn the outside of the steak, Pryor said. If you want to grill a New York strip, Porterhouse or T-bone steak, place the thicker side of the meat closer to the fire.

By cooking the tri-tip on low to medium heat, Pryor will be able to keep the meat from getting tough on the outside.

"The tri-tip is really a roast," he said. "When you slice it, slice it against the grain."

For the sandwich bread, Pryor suggests using a soft roll, such as ciabatta. For toppings, he is partial to a classic mixture of caramelized onions and blue cheese, arugula and mayonnaise or aioli.

"Slather the aioli on the bread, add the meat slices and sprinkle with the blue cheese, caramelized onions and arugula," he said. "Then pair it with a nice cabernet sauvignon."

Alongside the sandwich, you can serve wedges of russet potatoes that have been baked, cooled and sliced, then thrown on the grill to give them a nice, crispy exterior.

"I put oil, salt and pepper on them," he said. "You can also wrap them in bacon first."

For added flavor, Pryor likes to serve the grilled spuds with a dipping sauce of sour cream and chives.

To grill the corn, he soaks it with the husk on, then cooks it on indirect heat on the grill until the kernerls are tender and juicy.

"I like to serve it with an herb butter," he said. "Herbs really go well with the cabernet, because they really bring out the fruit."

For the kids, Pryor likes to grill some hot dogs and serve them with a simple salad of field greens. And for dessert, it's hard to resist a big platter of chocolate brownies.

Pryor grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., and graduated from the CIA at Hyde Park. N.Y., in 1995. He also attended Cornell University's School of Hotel Management, graduating in 1998.

After college, he moved west and worked as the wine and beverage manager at the CIA's Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in St. Helena. That's where he met his wife, Traci Dutton, a sommelier at the CIA at Greystone.

"She was the wine buyer, and I was the seller," said the chef, who resides in Calistoga with Dutton.

In 2006, Pryor took a job as the chef at Langtry Estate and Vineyard in Lake County, then returned to the CIA at Greystone in 2009 to become the food and beverage manager for conferences.

In 2012, Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate President Gary Hawke invited him to join the winery, so Pryor jumped back into the kitchen, where he uses his wine knowledge to educate consumers about pairings.

"We have about 2,500 wine club members," he said. "We do special events once or twice a month. Some are just for the wine club, but most of them are open to the public."

The Father's Day Barbecue will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $45. <a href="http://michelschlumberger.com" target="_blank">michelschlumberger.com</a>.


You can make your own aioli for this sandwich, or take a shortcut and use a good brand of mayonnaise, such as Best Foods.

Enjoy this tri-tip sandwich with a full bodied red wine, like cabernet sauvignon or syrah.

<strong>Grilled Spice- Rubbed Tri-tip Sandwich with Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese and Arugula</strong>

Makes 6 sandwiches

<strong> <em>For the spice mix:</em></strong>

<em> 2 tablespoons kosher salt</em>

<em> 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper</em>

<em> 1 tablespoon smoked paprika</em>

<em> 1 tablespoon garlic powder</em>

<em> 1 tablespoon onion powder</em>

<em> 1 teaspoon ground cumin</em>

<em> 1 teaspoon cayenne</em>

<em> 1 teaspoon dried oregano</em>

<strong><em>For the tri-tip:</em></strong>

<em> 1 tri-tip roast, 3 to 4 pounds</em>

<em> 6 soft sandwich rolls, such as ciabatta</em>

<em> 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese, such as Point Reyes Original Blue</em>

<em> 4 cups baby arugula</em>

<em> 2 cups caramelized onions</em>

<strong><em>For the peppercorn and garlic mayonnaise:</em></strong>

<em> 3 large garlic cloves</em>

<em> 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper</em>

<em> 1 cup prepared mayonnaise</em>

<strong>To make the spice mix:</strong> Mix all ingredients and set aside.

<strong>To cook the tri-tip:</strong> Rub tri-tip with ? cup spice mix and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour while you prepare the grill.

Add charcoal to only one side of the grill for direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other (For a gas grill, heat to high on one side, low on the other). When the grill is ready, rub the tri-tip with the spice mix and on the hot side, sear the meat.

Once the tri-tip is seared all over, move it off the direct heat side and onto the indirect heat side. Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the interior of the tri-tip reaches 125-130 degrees for a mostly medium-rare roast. Remember the tri-tip varies in thickness and will have some more well done edges. Let the tri-tip rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

<strong>To make the mayo:</strong> Grate or finely chop the garlic clove, mix with the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate.

<strong>To assemble the sandwich:</strong> Toast the rolls over the hot coals just before making the sandwich. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise on the roll.

Add thinly sliced trip-tip as desired, garnish with caramelized onions, arugula, and blue cheese.


<strong>Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Baked Potato Wedges</strong>

Makes 6 servings

<em>6 Idaho potatoes</em>

<em> 24 slices thin bacon</em>

<em> — Olive oil</em>

<em> — Salt and pepper to taste</em>

<em> — Sour cream and chives, blended</em>

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash potatoes thoroughly and prick with a fork.

Bake until just cooked (about 1 hour). Cool and refrigerate (can be done a day ahead.)

Preheat the grill to medium temperature (if grill is too hot, bacon will cause flare-ups.)

Cut the potatoes into wedges lengthwise (quarters or sixths).

Wrap each wedge with a slice of bacon, drizzle with oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Grill until the bacon and potatoes are crisp and hot. Serve hot with a side of sour cream and chives.

<em>You can reach Staff Writer Diane Peterson at 521-528 or diane.peterson@pressdemocrat.com.</em>

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