Grill Talk

3 Top Chefs Create the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen

Best bets for barbecuing from Miles Angelo, Keith Theodore, and Will Nolan with editor's picks on what and where to buy.

By Amanda Rae July 26, 2017 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Halwilliams2011 0997 iqqvcd

Miles Angelo, Executive Chef, Caribou Club

Image: Hal Williams

Miles Angelo
Executive Chef, Caribou Club

1.Charcoal is an absolute must. I’m not keen on outdoor gas grills—you might as well be inside. I’d include at least three small Weber charcoal grills, set up like a drum set. They’re not expensive but versatile and long-lasting. There are a number of ways to use them: direct heat, indirect heat, smoking (wood, hay). Use a charcoal chimney—a big, cylinder-like tin can with holes in it—to light charcoal. Fire-starter is key; I use Kingsford firestarter briquettes. (I do not like lighter fluid. It tastes terrible, it’s not good for you, and it’s dangerous.) It’s amazing what you can achieve off something that simple and primitive.”

Our pick: Start with one Weber 22-inch Original Kettle Charcoal Grill ($109), offering 363 square inches of cooking surface to grill food for four to six people and all-weather wheels for mobility; a Rapidfire Chimney Starter ($18) makes lighting coals a snap. At Miners Building, 319 East Main St. or Alpine Ace Hardware, 300 Puppy Smith St., Aspen

Weber original kettle 22 inch zoxt7i

2. “A tabletop wooden cutting board—hard maple, on lockable wheels—[with] a groove to collect the juices of meats, poultry. The most flavorful parts of food are lost on the cutting table.”

Our pick: Build a custom rolling cart through Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens, an industry leader of outdoor cabinetry in weatherproof stainless-steel with soft-close doors. At Modern Kitchen Center, 5050 County Rd. 154, Glenwood Springs,

3. “The ultimate fantasy would be a pizza oven made of Himalayan salt. Whenever you cook something in a salted environment, it imparts brine. Similar to volcanic glass or flint, it will hold heat [unlike] stainless steel. Gosh, the flavor off that would be amazing: toasted salt!”

Our pick: Charcoal Companion’s Himalayan salt plates (from $35), which can be placed directly atop a grill, are super portable, and cleaning their antimicrobial surface is easier, too. At Kitchen Collage, 840 E. Valley Rd., Basalt,

Cc6059 9928 w mwxkiv

4. “Refrigeration outdoors—Sub-Zero, Traulsen—tabletop units where you can have cutting boards on top is key.”

Our pick: Crafted from heavy-gauge stainless steel that is UV-, salt-, and moisture-resistant, Sub-Zero outdoor panel refrigerator doors (from $4,325) make al fresco cooking insta-cool. At Thurston Kitchen and Bath, 202 AABC, Aspen,

160823 littlenell portrait 060 uabpda

Keith Theodore, Executive Sous Chef, The Little Nell

Keith Theodore
Executive Sous Chef, The Little Nell

1. “I would be all about a wood-burning grill—cooking on coal develops far better flavor than propane, especially in our area, with the great peach, cherry, and apple woods from Palisade. When meat drippings hit wooden coal, it creates smoke and imparts flavor from the ash. It takes time to build, but that’s the first step for flavor. If we have nature as our background, we can showcase food without over-manipulating it.”

Our pick: Turn up the heat with the Tesla of smokers: Traeger’s Timberline 1300 ($2,000), a double-walled, cylindrical wood-pellet grill with convection control and triple-tiered grates that accommodate up to 14 rib racks simultaneously—plus, it goes into Super Smoke mode at the push of a button. At Big John’s Ace Hardware, 2602 S. Glen Ave., Glenwood Springs

20170209 timberline 1300 pdp main 5 lhu0kl

2. “Reclaimed wood or pieces of polished stone are unique serving vessels. You don’t need a whole lot more than that. It’s fun to serve food on top of hot rocks!”

Our pick: Little Hands boards (from $30) are crafted from wood remnants in New Castle, while Nambé out of New Mexico fuses museum-worthy platters (from $100) from mixed hardwoods. At Kitchen Collage, 840 E. Valley Rd., Basalt,

3. “I haven’t bought a thermometer in 15 to 20 years. I go by smell, touch, and instinct. Pay attention to your mistakes. That’s the only way to improve: by messing up.”

Our pick: Not taking chances? Try the new-to-market FireBoard (from $189), a cloud-connected, battery-operated smart thermometer that tracks temps and time with up to six food probes. And it will send alerts via email or SMS alerts to your smartphone.

Thermometer rvwkj7

4. “At the Nell we use bamboo compostable plates for large events because it saves a lot of water—always a hot-button topic here. Bamboo grows almost anywhere. We can use it for straws and other serving vessels.”

Our pick: It’s Not Paper! melamine plates (with or without cheeky ant illustrations; $20 for four) only appear disposable; in fact, they’re fold-proof, unbreakable, and dishwasher safe. At Amen Wardy Home Store, 520 E. Durant Ave., Aspen

Will Nolan, Executive Chef, Madeline Hotel, Telluride (and former executive chef, Viceroy Snowmass)

Will Nolan
Executive Chef, Madeline Hotel, Telluride; Former Executive Chef, Viceroy Snowmass 

1. “A Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet grill or any wood-fired smoker—the super-thick metal plates/grill tops hold constant heat. Use it for vegetables to fish to steaks to you name it.”

Our pick: Kalamazoo’s wood-fired Gaucho Grill (from $19,995) raises the bar on barbecue—literally. Adjustable laser-cut grill grates and a rotisserie spit, plus a gas-powered starter and built-in ash-collection system on this Argentinian-style apparatus allow for unparalleled outdoor cookery.

K750gt outlined oblique viee9s


2.  “A crawfish boiler, too—that’s a must. It’s a huge, really loud propane burner, and a 50-gallon stockpot sits up on top. There’s a steamer basket inside, and all your seasoned water goes in the pot, with crawfish, turkey necks, Andouille sausage, corn, garlic, onions, potatoes, brussels sprouts, edamame, artichokes. We always buy Zatarain’s crab boil seasoning packets (coriander, cayenne, bay leaves), each for 10 gallons—it’s pretty much heaven.”

Our pick: For smaller groups, jerry-rig an All-Clad 12-Quart Multi-Cooker ($150) with removable steamer basket—and don’t forget the spice! At Kitchen Collage, 840 E. Valley Rd., Basalt,

3. “Another great thing to have is a meat box—a China box—like a pig roaster. I got one made down in Chihuahua, [Mexico]. It’s basically a big empty barrel with a metal plate and a circular interior, with a top or side cut off so you can put coals on top. It cooks food so fast—we call it a ‘Cajun microwave’ back home [in New Orleans].”

Our pick: At just 18 pounds, the smallest La Caja China roasting box ($319) prepares one to two pork shoulders, three whole chickens, or a 16-pound turkey—marinating syringes included.

Lcc 003 1 usoo3m

4. “A leather apron, especially around the super-hot stuff, and fireproof-leather gloves, ’cause you’re grabbing so much stuff. We all came back from Heritage Fire [in Snowmass during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen] with burns all over us.”

Our pick: While it may not turn you into the Denver Prince of Porc (Nolan won the title at Cochon555 in March and competes for national honors at Grand Cochon in Chicago this October), a leather-accented apron by chef-approved Blunt Roll (from $130) will make you look like a champ.

Show Comments