Friends, I’m stoked today to share an interview we did with Jameson Fink for his Wine Without Worry Podcast. Jameson came down from Seattle to visit and chat about smoked foods and wine, and recorded it for his popular podcast.

Jameson Fink BBQ Podcast with Sean Martin

It was a crazy windy day but we did manage to give Jameson a tour of the beast, and Sean taught him how to pull pork with a drill. Seriously.

Using the pork puller to pull pork

Jameson was here to talk about the potential of wine pairings with barbecue so we decided to feed him a wide variety of smoked goods, outside of the usual suspects (ribs, brisket, etc.), although we did have some pulled pork… because Sean’s pork is just downright delicious.

Among the items on the menu:

He asked as a lot about our philosophy of pairing wine with barbecue. It’s easy to go down the route of saying Zinfandel with Ribs, or Cabernet Sauvignon or Tempranillo with Brisket (those are both fine choices), but instead we talked about some of the lighter and more versatile options when it comes to barbecued foods. And I say food, because we don’t just smoke meat. We had a few vegetarian options there. Smoked tofu anyone?!

We had wines from Sparkling Rosé, to Riesling, to Assyrtiko from Greece, to Pinot Noir and even Cru Beaujolais. It was a blast.

See Jameson’s introduction and listen to the full podcast here.

 

Smoked Baba Ghanoush (smoked eggplant dip)One of the favorite pairings of the day was a smoked Baba Ghanoush that we paired with an Assyrtiko from Santorini. Ironically, Jameson and I first met on a trip to Santorini where we were introduced to these bracingly acidic and delicious white wines from the island. They are so good and worth seeking out!

We enjoyed that test batch of Baba Ghanoush so much that we worked on it throughout the following week and have the finalized recipe below.

Smoked Baba Ganoush (smoked eggplant dip)Baba Ghanoush is usually made by fire roasting eggplant, or roasting it in the stove, but we decided to give it a special kick by cooking it in the smoker for about an hour to infuse it with some rich flavor. What we discovered after making this several times is how easily and quickly eggplant absorbs the smoky flavor. So, unlike meat, it doesn’t need to spend much time in the smoker to get the right amount of flavor.

Prepping smoked eggplant

 before and after smoking the eggplant

After smoking it, you can remove the flesh and just mix up the remaining ingredients with a fork, or you can blend it like I do in the food processor or blender. Some will tell you Baba Ghanoush should be chunky, and therefore mashed with a fork. But shoot, I happen to love it super silky and creamy. It’s pretty darn indulgent that way! Yum.

Smoked Baba Ghanoush (Smoked Eggplant Dip)
 
Baba Ghanoush is kicked up a serious notch by smoking the eggplant to make the dip. It's awesome!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup flat leaf parsley
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil (we used Oregon Olive Mill Koroneiki)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
Garnish with:
  • Smoked salt
  • Smoked paprika
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Drizzle of more olive oil
Instructions
To smoke the eggplant:
  1. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise (with skin intact) and season with salt.
  2. Place skin side up on a drying rack set on top of a cookie sheet (see photo above), and place in refrigerator for two hours to let water draw out of eggplant.
  3. Preheat smoker to 250 degrees.
  4. Remove eggplant from refrigerator and place on smoker for approximately one hour or until the outer skin begins to brown and the texture is soft when inserting a toothpick or knife.
  5. Remove from smoker.
To make the dip:
  1. When eggplant is cool enough to work with, spoon out all the flesh and place it in a food processor. (Alternatively you can just mix everything in a bowl. But I like the smooth texture you get from the processor. It rocks!).
  2. Add in all the other ingredients and pulse until you get to a texture you like. Some like it a bit chunky, but I prefer it silky smooth, so feel free to pulse until your hearts content. Add more olive oil if it appears too dry or is not pureeing to satisfaction. Adjust ingredients until you get the flavor you like.
  3. Pour into a serving dish or bowl. Top with your preferred garnishes. Serve with pita bread, baguette slices, or crackers. Whatever you like.

WINE PAIRING 

 

Smoked Baba Ghanoush and Wine Pairing

We served this with a 2013 Sigalas Assyrtiko and it was a great match. Assyrtiko is super acidic, with salty and briny flavors that it derives from growing so close to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a fantastic match for seafood and oysters especially, but worked great with this dip. The acid from the wine contrasted quite well with the creamy and smoky dip. Mmm.

Assyrtiko is a hard wine to find. I was even surprised to find some at Liner & Elsen here in Portland. So, if you can’t find it, look for a Greek white blend (those should be easier to track down), or something that has a high acid profile. I’m thinking it would be a good match with Albariño from Spain (that would be easier to find too), or quite a few Italian white wines like Falanghina or even Vermentino.

Now, go listen to that podcast and hear all about our adventures in barbecue and wine pairing with Jameson Fink. You’ll even find some bonus pictures of him bonding with our kids. Click here.


 

You should also know Jameson has been nominated for a SAVEUR Blog Award for Best Wine Coverage. So cool! His site, along with a few other of my favorite wine blogs (like Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews and Vinography), have also been nominated. Check it out.

Speaking of voting. There’s still time to VOTE for the Traeger Grills Meat Madness Competition. We made it to the Final 4. Please vote for our recipe for Brisket Nachos! VOTE HERE.


 

For more recipes and wine pairing check out the Recipe Index.

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