Seghesio chef shares Father’s Day BBQ menu and new line of condiments
By the time Father’s Day rolls around, the warm weather and longer days demand an old-school cookout in the backyard with lots of cold beer and other adult beverages.
But here’s the rub: If you want to make it truly memorable, forget the wimpy hot dogs and go for the porky gusto: fat, juicy sausages and big slabs of fall-off-the-bone ribs, coated with a dry rub and brushed at the end of cooking with a tangy barbecue sauce.
“Ribs always work for me, that’s a no-brainer,” said Seghesio Family Vineyards’ Executive Chef Peter Janiak, the father of 2-year-old Gemma. “On Father’s Day, I just want to hang out at the house with my wife and daughter and grill in the backyard with a glass of wine or a beer.”
The native New Englander has become renowned in Wine Country for his killer ribs, served annually with a zinfandel barbecue sauce at the Seghesio Zin & BBQ festival in July. In the past, the ribs have also made a zingy encore at the annual Taste of Sonoma. At either event, folks lined up for miles to sample the sweet’n’spicy ribs, then licked their fingers clean so they can take another sip of zinfandel.
This Father’s Day, we asked Janiak to create a finger-licking good barbecue menu that would be easy enough for mom and the kids to pull off on their own, without a professional chef at their side.
That turned out to be pretty easy, since Janiak recently launched a line of three Seghesio Kitchen condiments, providing shortcuts that can dazzle dad with dishes such as St. Louis-style cut ribs finished with Zinfandel BBQ Sauce and sausages topped with Zinfandel Mustard Pan Sauce.
As a side salad, he shared a favorite recipe for a Corn and Mushroom Salad with Frisée, a curly endive. And for a savory appetizer, he suggested a savory bruschetta topped with Seghesio Kitchen Artichoke and Piquillo Pepper Tapenade and a slice of Bellwether Farms Carmody.
“We cut a slab of toast, put the tapenade down and put the cheese on top,” he said. “It’s like a French bread pizza.”
Starting with tapenade
This sweet and briny tapenade was the inspiration behind the trio of Seghesio products. At the tasting room bar, Janiak said guests often order an antipasti board to enjoy either in the tasting room or outdoors with their wine.
“There are three house-cured meats, two local cheeses, crostini, marinated olives, and housemade quince or fig or another seasonal jam,” he said. “And we always have that tapenade.”
The tasty blend of roasted piquillo peppers, roasted artichokes, cooked shallots, capers, olive oil, oregano and other spices was so delectable that customers started asking if they could buy it.
At the winery, Janiak and his team made the tapenade by hand, in small batches. For the product line, the winery partnered with Preserve Farm Kitchens out of Petaluma to help with the prep and the bottling.
For the jarred tapenade, Janiak orders the roasted peppers from Spain and the roasted artichokes from a California producer. The result still has the same, bright flavors of the original.
“I make it at their facility … and then everything gets mixed and the jars are filled,” he said. “We get the best quality (ingredients,) and the consistency of the product is great.”
With its acidic bite, the tapenade can balance out the rich, creaminess of the house-cured meats, he said, but it’s not too acidic to interfere with the wine. Perfection.
Zinfandel BBQ sauce
It was natural next step for Janiak to bottle up the Seghesio Zinfandel BBQ Sauce, which grew out of the barbecue party the winery throws every summer.
“We wanted to find a barbecue sauce that wasn’t too sweet but a little sweet … so it would match well with our zinfandels,” he said. “This one really has a lot of red wine - we use our Sonoma Zinfandel, sourced from all over Sonoma County.”
To make the sauce, Janiak starts by sauteing the onions and garlic, adds tomato paste and deglazes the pan with the zinfandel, then adds in ketchup, molasses, brown sugar. For heat, he throws in sweet and smoky chipotle chiles and sprinkle of California chile powder made from Anaheim peppers.
“It has just the right amount of hot, but it’s not spicy,” he said. “It matches up with the spice profile in a zinfandel, and that’s what we were going for.”
Before grilling, Janiak coats the ribs with a dry rub made with spices such as cumin and paprika. (If you coat the ribs the night before, they can really penetrate the meat). After the ribs have been smoked, he takes the rack off the grill and portions the rack into smaller pieces.
“Then we’ll brush them with the sauce and throw them back on the grill to char them up,” he said. “I don’t put a lot of sauce on them. I just brush them, and then we have the sauce set up in squeeze bottles too, for more sauce on the side.”