French Grill Fandango

French Grill

Dateline:Hot Springs, Virginia.

Eileen and Betsy are back… with their LABOR DAY FRENCH GRILL FANDANGO

French Grill
Smoky Pork Shoulder fhphoto

“No one really cares that OUR objective is to cook our way through French Grill,” Eileen said.  “Every day we got the question “Are we having the Camembert burger today?’ More about that later.
We grilled ourselves to…well I don’t want to say death, let’s just say we grilled a lot” Eileen continued.  “And oops, we made some repeats, because they’ve become our favorites – The Grilled Bread with Smashed Tomatoes (pg. 41) the Romesco Sauce (pg. 74).

“Now for the Smokey Pork Shoulder à la Francaise (pg. 166) which we are renaming Smokey Pork Shoulder à la Dragon. The honey, beer, and grainy mustard (and it HAS to be the grainy stuff) marinade makes a gorgeous, tangy and sweet crust on the meat.  We doubled the recipe so that we would have plenty of sauce and we are glad we did,” Eileen says.

à La Dragon

“So…à la Dragon.  When you make something for the first time there is a hiccup, which is why you should never try out a new recipe for a dinner party, even though all of our friends know that their role is to be guinea pigs. This takes the pressure off. “ Betsy said.   “Sort of.”

French Grill
à la Dragon

Eileen continued.  “The pork is fool proof, we did discover…but not right away. We took it out of the glorious marinade, put it in the center of the heated grill and closed the lid for 15 minutes (when we were to turn it because we do not have a rotisserie).  From the kitchen things looked a tad smokey.  Then it went from a tad smokey to, well…….we ran out, opened the lid, and the dragon inside spit fire at us!!!  We would have taken a photo, but between putting the grill mitts on, looking for the industrial strength tongs to remove the damn pork, and our singed eyebrows, the photo op was missed.”

“Now, you’d think that that was the end of the pork, wouldn’t you?  Nope.  We were the champs Susan has taught us to be (always a way to correct a mistake) so we turned down the heat, scraped off the more industrial strength charred bits, put it back on the grill and turned it every five minutes LIKE THE RECIPE SAID and we did not leave it once!  It was delicious – moist, a ton of flavor as though the meat was infused.”

Grilled Vegetable Salad is so Easy

“We served Grilled Vegetable Salad (pg. 76), too, which is super easy because you grill the vegetables whole or halved so it is easy to move them around,” Betsy said.

French Grill

“And we did  the Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Salad (pg. 62) too, which was OUT OF THIS WORLD.”


French Grill
Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese fhphoto


“The Little Spice Cookies (pg. 244) were a snap, even without an electric mixer. We served them with store bought vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce…sorry Susan! Next time we’ll use your recipes, but it was (non) Labor Day.” Eileen said.

French burger grill
The Best Burger You Ever Ate fhphoto

And now, the Camembert Burger

“We were down to a small group. Betsy’s husband, Rags, looked at us so plaintively we caved.  Susan, when we drift from your suggestions we goof.  We used apples that weren’t from your list and they were mealy and not sweet. Never again. Always follow the recipes…” Eileen said.

“As we were finishing off the cookies and the ice cream (and the wine) we asked Rags, who is a great taster because he’s been eating so well for so long, if there has been one recipe so far that we should not make again.”

“No, I could have every single dish again.”  Nuff said…

clean plate french cooking
Rags and clean plate (Betsy Regnell photo)


Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Servings: 4 dozen
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks;180g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) honey that is somewhere between mild and strong such as blackberry, at room temperature so that it is liquid
  • 1 large egg
  • 2-1/4 cups (295g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon heapingground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground star anise
  • ½ cup (100g) vanilla sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the honey, then the egg, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and the spices onto a piece of parchment paper. With the electric mixer working, or by hand, stir the dry ingredients into the honey mixture. The resulting dough will be quite stiff.
  4. Pour the vanilla sugar into a shallow bowl. From the dough into ¾-inch (about 2cm) balls, and roll each in the sugar. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2-inches (5cm) apart and bake until they are puffed and golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack, and when they are cool, store in an airtight container. The cookies will keep for 1 week, but they will never last that long!
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (dried from page 261) if using commercial herbes de Provence, try 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey
  • 10 tablespoons mild flavored beer 155ml
  • pounds One boneless pork shoulder that weighs about 3 1.5kg
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all but ½ cup (125ml) of the beer together, for the marinade. Keep the remaining ½ cup (125ml) beer aside.
  2. Place the pork in a non-reactive baking dish, and pour the marinade over it. Turn the pork, and rub the marinade into it. The marinade is quite liquid, so be sure to turn the pork several times while it is marinating, which should be at least 2 hours, and up to 4 at room temperature, or overnight.
  3. Build a good-sized fire in the barbecue. When the coals are red and covered with ash, divide them in half, placing half the coals on either side of the barbecue. Place a drip pan in the center of the barbecue. Place the rotisserie motor on the barbecue.
  4. Tie the pork shoulder to make a narrow roast; this is a bit messy, but persevere because your roast will cook more evenly once it is tied.
  5. Thread the roast onto the rotisserie bar, and secure it at each end. (If you don’t have a rotisserie, you can roast this directly on the grill, but you will need to turn it every 15 minutes to make sure it roasts evenly.)
  6. Just before putting the roast on the rotisserie or the grill, place a handful of woodchips or grape vine cuttings on the coals. If they are dry – I prefer them this way – they will smoke and flame up a bit, but will very soon die down and just emit smoke.
  7. Cover the barbecue and roast the pork should for 1 hour. The rotisserie will make sure it’s cooked evenly; if you don’t have one, remember to turn it regularly.
  8. When the roast is browned on the outside and cooked through, (155-160F; 68-71C) remove it from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board for about 15 minutes.
  9. While the pork is resting, place the remaining marinade and the reserved ½ cup (125ml) of beer into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour any juices that the pork shoulder gives up into the sauce. Reduce the mixture by half, taste for seasoning, then keep warm.
  10. Remove the rotisserie clamps and the bar, and slice the shoulder into the thickness of slices that you prefer. Arrange them either on warmed plates or on a warm platter. Pour the reduced juices over the pork, garnish with the herbs, and serve immediately.

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