Keep your leis on and your coals going for the tropical feast in this special night school edition of BBQ U begins with a Tuna "London Broil" prepared with a sesame-pepper-wasabi crust, served with a wasabi cream sauce and grilled baby pineapples. A succulent traditional rotisseried Honey Lime Huli Huli Chicken follows, and Steven wraps up his dissertation on Hawaiian barbecue with Huli Huli Pineapple, a carved whole pineapple painted with a brown sugar glaze as it spit roasts over a bed of glowing coals.
Note: when buying pineapple, look for a yellow rind and a musky, fruity aroma. These are the signs of ripe sweet pineapple.
1 large ripe pineapple
For the glaze:
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 pint blackberry or blueberry ice cream or sorbet for serving (optional)
You'll also need: 1 rotisserie; 8 martini glasses (optional)
1. Cut the rind off the pineapple, leaving the leafy crown intact. I find a serrated knife works best for this. Even after you've removed the rind, you'll notice some diagonal rows of "eyes" (brown spots)-cut these out, making long diagonal V-shaped cuts to give the pineapple a rippled spiral effect.
2. Make the glaze. Place the butter, brown sugar, rum, cream, lime juice, cinnamon, and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick and syrupy, 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Set up your grill for spit-roasting and preheat to high.
4. Using a long slender knife, make starter holes in the crown end and base of the pineapple, pushing the knife lengthwise through the center to facilitate inserting the spit. Working gently but firmly, insert the rotisserie spit through the pineapple. (Be sure to have the first set of prongs on already.) Tighten the prongs. Loosely cover the pineapple leaves with foil. Place the end of the spit in the rotisserie motor socket and turn on the motor.
5. Spit-roast the pineapple until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, basting with glaze every 15 minutes. You should have about half the glaze leftover for serving.
6. To serve, unspit the pineapple and unwrap the leaves. Show it off whole-talk about way cool. Then cut it crosswise into slices for serving. Drizzle each slice with leftover glaze.
7. For the ultimate gilding of the lily, cut the pineapple slices in quarters and serve over blackberry ice cream in martini glasses. Spoon the glaze on top and garnish each glass with a pineapple leaf.
Sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds, or black sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
1. Make the rub: Place the untoasted sesame seeds, wasabi powder, peppercorns, and garlic salt in a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Or place them in a mortar, and using a pestle, grind them to a fine powder.
2. Trim any skin or dark or bloody spots off the tuna. Rinse the tuna under cold running water, then blot it dry with paper towels. Place the tuna in a baking dish. Sprinkle the rub all over the tuna on both sides, patting it onto the fish with your fingertips. Drizzle the sesame oil over the tuna and rub it on with your fingertips. Let the tuna marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.
4. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the tuna on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste. Grill tuna loin until the outside is nicely seared, 1 to 2 minutes per side (4 to 8 minutes in all) turning the loin with tongs. Grill tuna steaks for about 2 minutes per side for rare; 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare; 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium, rotating each steak a quarter turn halfway through grilling on each side to create an attractive crosshatch of grill marks. Test for doneness using the poke method: Rare tuna will be quite soft, with just a little resistance at the surface; medium-rare tuna will be gently yielding; and medium tuna will be firm.
5. Transfer the grilled tuna to a cutting board and let it rest for 2 minutes. Carve tuna steaks into broad, thin slices, holding the knife at a 45 degree angle to the top of the fish. Carve tuna loin crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Fan out the tuna slices on a platter or plates. Squirt zigzags of Wasabi Cream Sauce over the tuna, top with the scallions and toasted or black sesame seeds.
Wasabi Cream Sauce
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
1 to 2 tablespoons wasabi powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann's)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Place the wasabi in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to form a thick paste. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and soy sauce, and whisk to mix. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If necessary, thin with a little more water. The Wasabi Cream Sauce tastes best when it is freshly made.