Earlier this summer, Hunterdon County’s Ironbound Farm—the home of Ironbound Hard Cider—debuted a new “Mother Fire” grill. The custom-made Argentine-inspired open fire grill stands nearly three stories high, and can be used to grill, spit-roast and/or smoke a variety of meats, such as whole pigs, goats and yaks, in addition to other dishes.
In late-June, I was invited to the first of many planned “Chef’s Table” dinners, which Ironbound hosts in collaboration with the Highlands Dinner Club. The dinners, says Ironbound owner Charles Rosen, offer guests a unique experience. Talented chefs from around New Jersey and elsewhere host the pop-up dinners at Ironbound Farm, with a menu that showcase a variety of local and seasonal ingredients. The first guest chef was A.J. Capella, formerly the executive chef of A Toute Heure in Cranford. (Last week, we announced that Capella was taking over for Craig Polignano as the new executive chef of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown.)
At the inaugural Chef’s Table dinner at Ironbound in June, it was easy to recognize exactly what helped put Capella on the map as a rising Jersey talent. The dinner party started outside, with wood-fired bread, charcuterie, and pickles to snack on while sampling Ironbound’s numerous specialty cider offerings. The early part of the evening was topped off with a theatrical display of pine-roasted mussels and a vegetarian paella topped with an abundance of fresh fiddlehead ferns.
A sit-down dinner followed, with Capella’s outstanding plant-roasted local trout served with egg, bacon and fresh herbs; hay-smoked guinea hen with tortillas; and pit-roasted goat with vegetables. All the dishes were prepared in the new grill, and cider service flowed through the end of the night.
The next event, on September 22, will feature Argentinean chef Norberto Piattoni of Brooklyn’s Mettā, who worked with the Ironbound team to build the 26-foot-high grill. Tickets are priced at $200, and can be purchased here.
Can’t make the next Chef’s Table dinner, but still want to marvel over the new grill? No worries. The “Mother Grill” is also used to prepare the burgers and sausages served in Ironbound’s tasting room, open Thursday through Sunday.
Ironbound Farm, 360 County Road 579, Asbury; 908-940-4115.Click here to leave a comment