Grilled Salmon BLTs/Buckle Down Brewing Painted Turtle/Moonbow “War Bear”

 In Fish, Pale Ale, Recipes

Blame it on Bar Louie.  Blame it on Bar Louie for being the dealer the first time we had the intoxicating combo of salmon and bacon thanks to their addictive sliders.  Now, we can’t get enough of the combination; wherever there is salmon now, bacon has to follow.  It wasn’t always this way, in fact, salmon was always a pass over item on any menu we perused.  Now here we are, grilling and smoking perfect planks of perfectly pink wild Norwegian salmon.  The flaky salmon goes on soft bakery-fresh onion rolls and topped with crispy smoked bacon, red lettuce, sliced tomato and a dill dijonnaise.  We went super local for the beer, indulging in a six pack of Buckle Down’s Painted Turtle session pale ale from right up the road in Lyons.  Capping off a great evening, we had “War Bear” from Kentucky’s Moonbow dishing up their latest southern-fried grungy grooves.

Grilled Salmon BLTs – Let’s start with grilling the star of this sandwich, the salmon.  We take thick planks of wild caught salmon and season them with a super simple dry rub of brown sugar and cracked black pepper, about a 4 to 1 ratio.  Leave some rub left over for the glaze.

Next up we get the charcoal grill going and toss in a couple of chunks of pecan wood directly into the hot coals.  The salmon goes skin side down over the hot side.


After a few minutes a couple of cool things happen.  First, the flesh will start to separate indicating that the fish is starting to flake and is getting near doneness.  Secondly, since we’re not “fish skin people”, the high heat sear on the skin side will crisp it off right off the bottom of the fish without sticking or bothering the filet itself.  At this point, we can move the now skinless salmon to the cool side.

Now we glaze it, taking the reserved brown sugar and black pepper rub, we heat it up with a little water to form a thin glaze and carefully pour it over the fish.

Cover the grill and let the glaze bake in for a couple of minutes then remove from the grill onto the bottom half of an awaiting onion roll and top with strips of crispy bacon.

Now we just need to whip a quick and creamy dill dijonnaise by combining a 3 to 1 ratio of mayo to dijon with a small handful of chopped dill.  Mix well and smear on the top half of the bun.

Toss on a little red lettuce and slices of tomato and that’s all she wrote to this incredible variation of the classic BLT.

Buckle Down Brewing Painted Turtle -A quick search through our BBQ history revealed we haven’t yet featured local brewers Buckle Down from nearby Lyons but that changes today.  We were partaking in their session pale ale, Painted Turtle and they were delicious.  The beer pours cloudy yellow and bubbly with an enormous head and an aroma that is light and fruity.   The flavor is sharp, more due to the heavy carbonation than the hop bite with an easy drinking mouthfeel.  It’s a great session beer as advertised, able to toss a few back with a fairly low ABV but still getting that great hop taste.

Moonbow “War Bear” – We couldn’t wait to crank up the latest from Kentucky’s favorite sons, the supergroup known as Moonbow.  ‘War Bear” is a (pardon the pun) beast of an album.  Incorporating good time southern rock with some darker grunge melodies, it’s an amazing album from start to finish.  The title track kicks things off in brutal fashion with a hard hitting southern rock anthem custom made for the backyard BBQ party.  It’s a killer track and sets the tone for the rest of the album.  “Sword in the Storm” finds itself in fine mid-90s grunge territory with it’s crunchy riffage and darker harmonies.  The punk-tinged “Drinkin’ Alone” is along the lines of Halfway to Gone and A Thousand Knives of Fire, southern-tinged stoner rock delivered with attitude and meant to be played at the roughest and tumblest of roadhouses.   “Bloodwash” really shows off singer’s Matt Bischoff’s layered, atmospheric pipes which go from Travis Meeks to Billy Gibbons in this one tune alone.  “Death of Giants” is a boot-stomping, groove machine that is slow and controlled but still insanely heavy.  The bass takes center stage to open up to “Alone Eyes Roam”, the down tuned, rumbling bass line combined with the huge vocals make this tune a hybrid of Tool’s “Ænema” and Sugartooth’s “Sold My Fortune”.  “California King” is a huge arena tune complete with a monstrous AC/DC worthy riff behind it.  It’s a fun tune to crank up and just adds to the overall BBQability of this album.  Dabbling in what we refer to as “outlaw rock” over here, “The Road” is a twangy rocker along the line of Clutch’s “The Guild of Mute Assassins” that kicks major ass.  “Son of Moses” is another song that hits right between the eyes like a shot of warm Wild Turkey with a High Life chaser with its heavy hitting, dirty swagger.  To finish off this killer album, “Towards the Sun” reintroduces that chest rumbling bass line to kick things off before the song settles into a medium paced rocker that brings on the southern sludge much like Dixie Witch does with perfect execution.  Our year-end top ten list is already starting to fill up, but pretty sure this one will still be there at the end of the year.

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