Retired Ice Hockey Star- Restaurateur, Teemu Selanne Grills and Thrills At Home – Dinosaur Bones

Celebrity Interviews, Chefs, Recipes, Restaurants By May 27, 2015

The allure of grilling seems obvious, especially when it comes to meat cookery. The taming of flame and smoke has a primordial vibe, the welcome challenge of creating scrumptious flavor and texture while conquering flare-ups, cool downs or interruptions.

Teemu Selanne grills ribs
Teemu Selanne grills ribs

For retired Anaheim Ducks superstar Teemu Selanne, the appeal runs even deeper. He likes the camaraderie that it fuels, the sociability that grilling generates at gatherings for family and friends.

I joined the Finland-born sports hero, known in the ice hockey world as the Finnish Flash, at his home in Coto de Caza.

His four children say that he can grill better than the chef at the acclaimed restaurant that he co-owns, Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach. I was eager to taste.


Clad in a team-themed apron, he stood at the large gas barbecue in his outdoor kitchen. The grill, perched to overlook the spacious patio dining areas, seemed perfectly located for fun and conversation.

Teemu Selanne grills ribs

He placed racks of behemoth beef ribs on the preheated grill. Long back rib bones, clean at one end and meaty on the other, sizzled as they met the hot grate. The day before, he had brined the ribs. Drained, they were oven-braised for 90 minutes covered in his special saucy mixture, a honey-and-bourbon spiked concoction designed to add plenty of flavor while turning them tender. Cooled and covered, they spent the night in the fridge.

Heated on the grill, the sauce-coated meat sent sweet, captivating scents over the patio, pool and sprawling grounds beyond.

After generously brushing additional sauce on the ribs and allowing about five minutes of grilling that browned the underside, he turned them over using a spatula in one hand and tongs in the other.

More sauce followed and then came the Selanne pinch test. He pinched the meat between the bones (next to the meaty end of the bone) to determine temperature and degree of doneness. If it was soft and squishy, he said it wasn’t close to being ready. A little firmness in that region along with some crispy bits on the exterior would signal doneness.

Teemu Selanne grills ribs

Off the grill, he cut them between the bones into individual ribs. We dined on those tasty “dinosaur bones” accompanied with a delicious Finnish-style potato salad made using a recipe from his wife, Sirpa.

Onnellinen Syöminen! (Happy Eating!)


Teemu’s Bourbon BBQ Beef Back Ribs
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 whole rack beef back ribs, cut into 3- to 4-bone pieces
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 quarts water
Braising liquid (sauce):
1 cup honey
2 cups Maker’s Mark bourbon (or your favorite brand of Bourbon)
3 cups barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite brand, Selanne prefers a smoky BBQ sauce)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dried red chili flakes
2 quarts veal stock or salt-reduced beef broth (Selanne says that good veal stock is preferred and makes a big difference)
Cook’s notes: Selanne says to buy the ribs at a quality meat market or a good supermarket. He buys them at The Meat House in Mission Viejo. He says to serve the ribs hot with a thirst-quenching Moscow Mule.
1. Mix all brine ingredients in nonreactive container large enough to hold ribs; stir until honey dissolves. Add ribs; refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 10 hours. Discard the brine and transfer ribs to a large deep roasting pan, such as 12-by-20-inch hotel pan that is 4-inches deep.
2. Place all braising liquid (sauce) ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour the boiled sauce over ribs. Tightly cover pan with aluminum foil. Place in oven for 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let ribs rest for another 30 minutes. Remove ribs from braising “sauce” liquid; reserve braising liquid “sauce.”
4. Preheat grill. Place ribs in single layer on hot, clean grill. Brush with some of the reserved sauce; grill until heated through and caramelized, turning once and brushing again with sauce, grilling about 6 to 10 minutes total (grilling times vary depending on heat of grill and thickness of meat). Cut between bones and serve hot.
Source: Teemu Selanne


Selanne Steak Tavern

1464 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Finnish Potato Salad
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 pounds fingerling or German Bliss potatoes
2 tablespoons cooked, minced bacon
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Cook’s notes: “This is an easy traditional Finnish potato salad and doesn’t require any fatty mayonnaise,” Teemu Selanne said. “My wife and I often serve it as an accompaniment to fish or hot steaks off the grill. Nauttia! (Enjoy!)”
1. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in ice water. When cool enough to handle, drain and remove peel with a small knife (skin should peel off easily); cut crosswise into bite-size pieces.
2. Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl; mix to combine. Add potatoes and toss. Allow to sit for 1 hour for flavors to build. Toss again.
Source: Sirpa and Teemu Selanne


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