logoWell, here we are again. Another year, another game against the Steelers. So grab a terrible towel and use it to wipe off your grill – hey, there is a use for those things after all. I thought they were only good for drying the tears of Steelers fans and players.

Oh crap, I think I just hurt Hines Ward’s feelings. He’s crying now, but I’ll probably get blindsided later. Hines is tough that way. The Steelers haven’t been to Foxborough since the Patriot Place Mall opened. I hope for Hines’ sake he stays away. The Bass Pro is full of taxidermy – Hines wouldn’t be able to take the sight of those deer, foxes and wolves stuffed as decorations. Ben Roethlisbledsoe, on the other hand, should take a trip over – they have all sorts of four wheelers, power boats and other things he could drive fast and crash into something.

C’mon, Ben, what are you chicken? Dare you to drive that ATV through the Christmas Tree Shoppe.

Speaking of chicken. We’ll be making our take on a Pittsburgh favorite this weekend, a Cambodian chicken shish kebab. Invented by the owners of Cambod-Ican Kitchen, an American-Cambodian fusion restaurant, this dish drove their business from a single truck to a full fledged restaurant.

Innovation from Pittsburgh? I’m glad it hasn’t made its way onto the football field.

Cambodian Chicken Shish Kebab

3-4 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 green peppers, cut into slices
2 onions, sliced
1 tbs. sweet curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbs. sugar, Cambodian palm sugar would be the most authentic choice, brown sugar will work
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tbs. rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
Peel from 1 lime
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 loaves pita bread

Blend all ingredients except the chicken, pita, onions and peppers. Cut the chicken from the bones, cut into 1″ to 1.5″ square pieces. Marinade the chicken overnight.

Skewer the chicken pieces, alternating with pepper and onion slices, being careful not to skewer your hand in the process. If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water first. Grill the chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning 3-4 times as each side browns.

Grab a piece of pita bread, and pull off the kebab pieces into it to make a sandwich.

If you want extra sauce, either reserve some of the marinade, or pour the marinade you used into a pot and boil for a few minutes to pasteurize.

Time for a drink!

We’re moving from new Pittsburgh to old Pittsburgh for our beer this week. Iron City, the official beer of Pittsburgh, has seen many ups and downs since 1861. It keeps on surviving and keeps on innovating. This was the first beer offered in aluminum bottles. Before that it was the first beer packaged with twist-off caps.

Iron City falls into a beer style with many names. You may see it listed as an American Lager. American Macro Lager is a more accurate name. Finally, in marketing speak these are known as retro lagers. Retro lagers used to be large regional or national brands. The retros were unable to compete as Bud, Miller and Coors expanded through advertising and takeovers. The age of large regional breweries was ending as we moved to a national system. Some of these regional companies did survive in a smaller capacity, or by consolidating. Keeping to themselves in their home markets.

Now as Bud is being bought by a European/South American conglomerate, Miller is owned by a South African corporation, and Coors joined Molson and then teamed up with the Miller-South African corporation. It is these old regional breweries along with some of the larger craft breweries that are finding themselves to be the largest American owned brewers.

From an American Macro Lager we can expect a light body, very low bitterness, high carbonation and easy drinkability. These are the beers that are just made for drinking. They’re great for drinking with foods that have a lot of contrasting flavors, like our Cambodian chicken. The retro Lager will not get in the way of whatever you are eating. What it will do is clear out your taste buds with its high carbonation.

It also won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Six packs of Iron City cost $4.70 at the store I go to. Big spenders can get a 30 pack for $19.99.

There are a number of Retro lagers available. My favorite is Narragansett. If you’re from New England and the macro lager is your style of beer, then this should be in your fridge.

The Pabst/G. Heilman Company owns a large percentage of the remaining retro lagers. This marketing company bought many of the unused brands from the companies that originally took them over, from their namesake Pabst Blue Ribbon to the namesake of the Patriots old home stadium, Schaefer. From the onomatopoeically named Blatz and Schlitz to Stroh’s, Piel’s and Ice Cube’s favorite St. Ides. There is a good chance that any other retros you’ll find are made by some subdivision of the Pabst marketing company, and brewed under contract in a Miller facility. In a touch of irony, quite possibly a facility originally owned by the retro brand before it was bought and sold by Miller to Pabst.

Chef’s ‘Buffet Table’ appears before every Patriots home game on Patriots Daily. He can be reached at feedback@patriotsdaily.com.