In our house, I'm not just the chief cook; I'm also the chief experimenter.
So I was pretty stoked to get a chance to fly to New York earlier in the year to attend a luncheon and watch a cooking demonstration by Chef David Guas for the National Honey Board (who also has a cookbook out now -- it's pretty cool and worth a look).
The whole idea of the demonstration was about using honey more in home cooking while the audience analyzed Guas’ Backyard NOLA Honey Swingers (photo above), because good god man, they were delicious.
They've become our go-to party drink since the New York trip.
Guas, who works with the National Honey Board, is a bit of a honey nut. He said he uses dozens of different varietals at home. Up until the trip, I had really only used honey in occasional recipes or just drizzled on yogurt. (I agreed to take part in this because I do use honey all the time to get through grueling workouts, and even completed the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon using only honey as my natural energy booster.)
But Guas convinced me to experiment more with honey at home, and I have to say: It works. Big time.
I started tinkering around with honey as the chief sweetener in my marinades, sauces, and dressings. It's really brought out a flavor profile I wasn't expecting -- adding an earthy and sometimes heavy component to grilled meats. It helped create a syrupy layer and just tasted better all around. I've been particularly taken with finding buckwheat honey. It's dark and rich and reminds me of fields and earth -- you can just taste a difference. It's been my perfect helper for his Asian Grilled Tri-Tip with Honey recipe.
Over the next few months, I'll be posting a few family recipes I've tweaked to include honey instead of another sweetener. I also hope to take Emme out to an apiary near my hometown. I'm pretty excited about this adventure because I've always been a big fan of honey but I've only really been using it for a few purposes. I hope you follow along. And I hope you do try out Guas' Backyard NOLA Honey Swingers, and his book. It's really pretty cool and Guas is a good dude who talked about letting his kids help out in the kitchen. Sold.
The National Honey Board is partnering with me in this campaign, providing compensation with a chance to fly out to New York to learn more about cooking with honey. And be sure to follow along on my Facebook page for updates about the #HoneyBeeBQ campaign.