We know you use your Memphis year-round, but there is just something about warm weather and sunny days that put us in an especially grill-happy mood. We’ve got our Old Faithfuls on the back burner when we’re in a hurry, but what about new food trends hitting the plate this year? Here’s our list of favorites – we can’t wait to start incorporating these into some great new recipes… and we want to hear how you will too! Just remember, trends may come and go, but Memphis Grills (and cheesy lines) are forever.
Trending Now: #Mashups
Fusion, melting-pot cuisine, hodge-podge, potpourri, miscellany. Call if what you will; we always thought this form of cooking was what happened when the ratio of leftovers in the fridge to space available in the fridge became an issue. (Or if it was our mothers cooking, anything labeled “________ Surprise.”) As it turns out, food without borders is a popular theme this year in the culinary world. We’re sure you’ve heard of the elusive cronut (a donut/croissant hybrid originating in NYC and currently being copycatted across the US), but what about the ramen burger? The New York Daily News says this new dish replaces the burger bun with fried ramen noodles and restaurants are selling out. So, friends of Memphis, what do you think? Barbecue sauce ice cream anyone?
Trending Now: #Umami
Umami, otherwise known as the “fifth taste element” has been around (pretty much) forever, but it’s only recently that foodies have started to take notice. Meaning “pleasant, savory taste” in Japanese, umami fills in the gap the taste sensations that sweet, salty, bitter and sour don’t cover. When scientists tried to replicate this delicious flavor, the result was something many today stray away from: MSG. According to Foodable though, many foods we already eat such as bacon, potatoes, mushrooms and beef jerky shoot off the umami Richter scale, no additives required. Forbes says this savory flavor will soon be found in salts, sauces and burgers everywhere. Now you can indulge your Japanese cravings with more than sushi.
Trending Now: #Local
Whether you’re picking it from your garden, scavenging for it in the woods, fishing it out of the nearby lake or sourcing it from the farm in the neighboring town, it’s all about location, location, location. And for 2014, that location can only be one place: local. In your kitchen at home, on the grill or dining out, the National Restaurant Association predicts consumers’ interest in where their food comes from will translate directly to the food made available. Everything from seafood, meat, vegetables and herbs made the “gotta be local” list and some restaurateurs have even gone so far as to serve only vegetables harvested from their own restaurant gardens. So make like a savvy chef and get to work on that backyard greenhouse you’re always talking about. Or at least stick some basil in a pot and call it a day.
Trending Now: #Tea
And no, we aren’t just talking that that thing proper British ladies drink in the afternoon with their crumpets (though that counts too). In addition to more cafes and restaurants featuring late afternoon “Tea Times” like those of our pals across the pond, tea-flavored desserts are on the rise (think green tea cupcakes). If sweets aren’t your thing, The Dish suggests incorporating ground tea into your dry rub on beef, pork, chicken or whatever else you’re throwing on the grill.
Trending Now: #Smoking
If the idea of cooking around a campfire puts a spring in your step, then this trend is definitely for you. No longer just a cooking technique, smoke is now a popular food flavor. Smoked spices, chocolate, beer and fruits are all foods to watch for, says restaurant consultants Andrew Freeman & Co. (And let us just point out, all can be mastered on a Memphis.) If smoke-flavored chocolate sounds like child’s play to you, take your grill game to a completely new level with this trend: smoked ice. By infusing water with smoke, then freezing it, you’ll get a savory dimension in any drink you add it to. (But we suggest the grown-up variety as smoky blue raspberry Kool-Aid doesn’t exactly sound mouthwatering.)
Feeling inspired? How about going for the 2014 Trending Memphis “Fivefecta”? Add a pinch of umami salt to smoked ice cubes that you serve in a green tea cocktail alongside a ramen burger you made yourself (on a Memphis Grill, of course) after locally sourcing all the ingredients needed (patent pending).