Why paella? With roots in the coastal region of Valencia, paella was cooked over open fire to infuse the aromatic, smoky flavor of branches from the native orange trees. Also, like our Kettle, paella was designed for gathering family and friends around fire and good food. It’s a natural fit.
In fact, the first time we saw Chef Chris Hastings (Ovenbird & Hot and Hot Fish Club) cook paella on the Kettle, we were blown away! (read his Paella on the Kettle recipe) Then and there the seed was planted.
Fast forward to May 2020 and a conversation between two couples - SIF’s Steve & Sandy Schoettle and Chef Katie Button & Felix Meana - blossomed into the first iteration of the Paella Rig. “When Felix and I first got the Kettle,...I was enthralled with the mechanism for raising and lowering the Grill. It gives you full control over the distance from the coals. I remember telling Steve & Sandy that it would be a PERFECT setup for paella,” says Button.
With some tweaking, and Button’s guidance, the Rig (Buy it Here) now fully integrates the paella pan onto our Grill with a ratchet system that allows perfect heat adjustment. And it’s ALL about the heat! Get it right and you’ve got a beautiful, delicious socarrat - that caramelized crust of rice on the bottom. Button says, “It’s the thing I have cooked most on over the past year.”
With that prized socarrat in mind, Steve developed his own version of a paella spoon -- long enough to work over open fire and flattened on one edge. “I love this paella spoon, primarily because of the flat edge on the end. It allows you to scrape the pan as the sofrito cooks, browning the ingredients well, and evenly. The flat back of the spoon also allows you to spread the rice across the bottom of the pan evenly - increasing your chances for success!”
And when you're not cooking paella, the Rig is perfect for any large format sauté. Shrimp scampi, stir fry, or fajitas for a group would be great on the Rig. Use your imagination and we'd love to see what you come up with!
SIF takes paella back to its open-fire roots. And if you’re a little adventurous at heart, you will love perfecting your paella with various ingredients on the Rig.