Two Guys Help Save Father’s Day!

June 6, 2009
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From left, David Biber and Mike Swan

From left, David Biber and Mike Swan

Outdoor Elegance brought the thrill of the grill to La Verne on Saturday, June 6, as Two Guys Grilling served up a mouth-watering bounty of free barbecued rib-eyes, chicken, chipotle-seasoned asparagus, pineapple and other grilled goodies.

The two guys behind Two Guys Grilling are David Biber, a former computer entrepreneur, and Mike Swan, a government bond trader. Two barbecue books later, and a third on the way, “California Q,” Biber and Swan are really cooking. They also sell 15 different blends, rubs and seasonings sold locally at Outdoor Elegance and The Corner Butcher Shop, which also supplied all the meats for the demonstrations.

Budding barbecue chefs can learn Two Guys’ “Q” secrets at a series of grilling classes offered this summer at Outdoor Elegance. Currently, the menu of classes includes:

·         The Perfect Steak: From Freezer to Grill

·         Girls Gone Grilling

·         Smokin

·         Strictly Seafood

·         Beef-muda Triangle, based on the T-bone steak

For more information about dates, times and fees, call Outdoor Elegance at (909) 592-5711 or (888) 827-2846.

Working their magic over a Twin Eagles stainless steel grilling system that has a searing station that can go from 0 to 900 degrees in 90 seconds, Biber and Swan produced a variety of healthy grilled choices that were full of flavor and moisture.

“Grilling is hot and fast,” Biber said, advocating propane as a far better choice than a bag of charcoal briquettes. “A lot of the inexpensive charcoals use petroleum binders, and personally, I don’t want to eat something that came off the Exxon Valdes. Propane is cleaner and greener.”

Biber isn’t opposed to smoking steaks and poultry, and even smoked 40 turkeys for U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton last Thanksgiving. The process just lacks grilling’s sudden impact. “Smoking is lower and slower,” explained Biber. “I refer to it as the 12-pack system. Fire up the smoker, sit down, open a 12-pack of beer, and when you’ve finished all 12, the meat is done.”

Biber is such a grill master, you wonder why he spent 25 years in the computer business before finally retiring at age 46 in 1999. “I was in the pressure cooker for 25 years,” Biber said, never at a loss to squeeze in one more cooking reference. After buying a bluff-top house overlooking the Dana Point Harbor, he noticed two other homes sending up frequent smoke signals from their backyards. One of those was Michael Todd, and the two combined their BBQ and IQ to start Two Guys Grilling, first cooking for neighbors, then block parties, then offering classes at a local barbecue retailer until it finally blew up. “We got dragged kicking and screaming into this business. I was retired. I was happy.”

Actually, Biber who’s from Des Moines, Iowa, said he graduated from culinary school when he was 11 (that’s right, 11; his parents were friends of the owners) and ran a restaurant but moved to computers because “back then cooks were servants, not celebrities,” and he needed to make a living.

He’s making a living now. After buying out his partner, he brought Mike Swan on board as a partner. A government bond trader, Swan has organized many of the festivals in San Juan Capistrano that center on the arrival and departure of the famous cliff swallows. At one such festival, Swan and Biber met, and Biber asked him to help him out at the Thanksgiving event for the Marines.

“Mike jumped right in,” Biber said. “He’s a natural. He’s a grilling machine.”

Mike pretty much uses the grill like Jackson Pollock use a canvas, throwing splashes of apples, pears, pineapples on the grill to make healthy desserts. He’ll even use the grill to make cakes and cornbread. “Anybody can take a grilled pineapple or banana, add ice cream to it, and you have dessert,” Swan said. “If you can afford the extra calories, make a banana split. You can do that, too.” In fact, Two Guys Grilling has a saying it tries to live up to keep things fresh and exciting on the grill: “It’s not wrong until it tastes bad.”

Like Biber, Swan has more than a few grilling techniques up his chef’s sleeves. “Always use a grill that’s nice and hot; when it’s hot, things don’t tend to stick to it,” Swan said, dabbing some tri-tip with extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil before placing it on the grill.

Of course, it also helps the chef any time he can use quality meats. The Corner Butcher Shop satisfied that requirement supplying competition-trimmed steaks that yielded the most delicious tasting experience.

The Corner Butcher Shop guys are all pro,” said Biber, a certified Kansas City barbecue judge. “When I opened the package of tri-tip, I grinned from ear to ear. I think my lips met at the back of my head. It was prepped absolutely perfectly. It’s exactly what you look for. They do it better than I do. I’ve worked with a lot of companies who bring food in for us to do at events, but I’ve never seen anything like that, not even close. I have never seen chicken tenders so giant and juicy. All of their stuff is incredibly impressive.”

So, let the grilling season officially begin. The resources are all here. The table is set. With Outdoor Elegance ( furnishing the barbecues and outdoor living furniture, Two Guys Grilling ( furnishing the blends, rubs, seasonings, sauces and instruction, and The Corner Butcher Shop supplying the other meats and treats, summer will never taste so good or be as healthy or exciting.

Happy Father’s Day!

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