Why Paws Up is Winning in June

Did you know that Montana is known as “the last best place?” Visit us at the Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, and you will be in on the secret, too. June is an incredible time to experience our resort and all it has to offer. From Montana’s long sunny days and optimal seasonal weather to the abundance of outdoor adventure that awaits, it’s the summer vacation getaway you and your family will never forget. If that isn’t enough to entice you, then here are 6 wonderful ways that Paws Up is winning in June.

1. Kites over Montana (June-13—19)

Brett Morris and his wife, Diane, have been featured participants at various kite festivals for more than a decade, and they’ll be taking to the beautiful big skies at The Resort at Paws Up this month. Build your own kite, and learn a few new tricks. Or, just sit back and relax as Brett and Diane’s trick kites and quads decorate the sky—you won’t be disappointed! You will learn all about kite building and flying, plus experience demos. All workshops are complimentary.

2. BBQ-U at Paws Up (June 17—19)

Father’s Day Weekend means it’s time to earn an extremely tasty, different kind of degree—perhaps a 375F degree for the perfect burger, or a 140F degree for a succulent medium steak. As part of the first BBQ-U, Montana Master Grillers alums Sam Huff (Sam’s BBQ-1 in Georgia) and Danny Fischer (Baby Blues BBQ in California) will conduct outdoor grilling demonstrations that will transform you from backyard beginner to searing expert. You will learn the techniques to expertly cooking meats and veggies from these pros—and—just as grand—this “university” will take place in Montana’s majestic outdoors. For barbecue enthusiasts faithfully devoted to the way of the grill and the passion of the flame, BBQ-U is the must-attend event of the summer. All participants are sure to get an A for appetite along with advanced barbecuing skills.

3. Bottle & Bottega (June 21—26)

Whether you’re the family Picasso or you struggle just to draw stick figures, Bottle & Bottega will bring out your inner artistic talent. This fun, hands-on art session will be totally relaxed, friendly, and filled with step-by-step instruction. No matter what your skill level is, we promise you will produce a painting to be proud of—there’s even plenty of wine to help get your creative juices flowing. We’ll have outdoor afternoon sessions in some of the most inspiring locations on the ranch, and sunset and alfresco evening sessions at individual luxury camps. There will also be a handful of vino-free sessions at the Kids Corps of Discovery, so family members of all ages will have a chance to express themselves.

4. Montana Long Table: The Ultimate Backyard BBQ (June 18)

Looking for the best way to spend Father’s Day? Join us at a Montana Long Table to dine with ranchers, farmers and food artisans who make the cuisine at The Resort at Paws Up so special. Chef Danny Fischer and Chef Sam Huff, along with Chef Ben Jones, will create a five-star menu that dad will love. Along with amazing live music, this mouthwatering adventure may become your new favorite summer tradition.

5. Behring Made Knives, C. Martini and Diane Whitehead Trunk Show (June 18th)

Don’t miss this unique trunk show featuring custom handmade knives, hunting knives and cutlery from Behring Made Knives, as well as a variety of goods from C. Martini “wearable art,” custom couture pieces (no two are the same) and fine art by renowned wilderness artist Diane Whitehead.

6. Mexicana (June 28th—29th)

Spice up your June stay with a special culinary event featuring the talented chefs of Lindo Michoacán, Las Vegas’ No. 1 Mexican restaurant. In collaboration with our Executive Chef Ben Jones, they’ll rustle up all the flavors of one of the world’s most exciting cuisines.

Mingle with fellow guests and resort staff, learn some new culinary skills, taste signature cocktails spiked with Dulce Vida organic tequila, enjoy deliciously authentic Mexican dishes, and kick up your heels with live entertainment from our outdoor stage.

Snapshots from the Montana Master Grillers Weekend

By Joshua Bousel

Holidays like Memorial Day are my time to shine—you can normally find me grill-side serving my favorites from the arsenal. So there was a very slight hesitation when considering to relinquish this annual tradition and accept an invitation from our friends at the Double R Ranch (who provided most of the meats for the event) to attend the first Montana Master Grillers event at The Resort at Paws Up, but being stuffed with grilled goodies from top chefs instead of sweating over a hot fire was too good to pass up.

Nestled in a valley surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains in Greenough, Montana—about 40 minutes east of Missoula—The Resort at Paws Up offered sprawling scenery and luxurious cabins, as well as an attentive, friendly staff who all created the communal environment that’s essential to any cook-out. Of course, you need great food as well, and that was delivered and then some.

The premise of the event—modeled after Paws Up’s already established Montana Master Chefs event—was to invite a set of chefs, winemakers, and brewers to the resort and build a weekend that alternates between massive meals and outdoor activities like horseback riding, rafting, and mountain biking to help rebuild that appetite.

There were five chefs cooking in this inaugural year: Tiffani Faison from Top Chef Season 1 and owner of Sweet Cheeks Q in Boston, Edward Lee from Top Chef season 9 and 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Frank Ostini from the Hitching Post II in Buellton, CA, Giuseppe Tentori from Boka and GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago, and Paws Up resident chef Adam Cooke.

They may not be the first names you associate with grilling, but save for one demo on how to break down an entire prime rib and a fun burger cook-off that teamed up guests with the chefs, the event was more about the meals rather than the grilling skills. As the weekend progressed, each lunch and dinner seemed to outdo the next, and that’s saying a lot because it started out strong.

The chefs all used the grill to add a little smokiness or great sear to complex dishes. Take, for example, chef Lee’s grilled lamb hearts, whose sear gave the thinly sliced hearts a nice crust against a tender texture, but it was the pairing of them with crunchy fried black-eyed peas, creamy ricotta, and a tangy grapefruit vinaigrette that formed contrasting textures and flavors.

Some other highlights included chef Faison’s grilled peaches with farro that was an unexpectedly addictive sweet and savory side, Chef Tentori’s masterfully seasoned and grilled Kobe strip loin, and Chef Ostini’s Santa Maria-style ribeye roast that had a juicy medium-rare interior and excellent crust that held a whisper of smoke.

For a lover of the outdoors and grilling, and a dude who desperately needed a break from his 9-to-5, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend last weekend. The experience allowed me to throw off the shackles of my conceptions of grilling and barbecue and relish in the creativity and quality of the food along with the relaxed atmosphere of the resort.

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Food Republic: Montana Master Grillers

By Jenny Miller

 

Take note of this name: The Resort at Paws Up. It could soon be well-known in culinary circles, if the team at this luxury ranch in Greenough, Montana gets its way. Montana? A gastro-tourist destination? It might just happen.

Last year they brought on chef Adam Cooke, a five-year veteran of highly acclaimed Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Applying the same attention to locavore detail that he did heading up Blackberry’s fine dining restaurant, Cooke, a Montana native, wants to help “figure out where [the state’s cooking] is going to be in the future,” he says. In other words: He wants to put Montana cuisine on the map.

Frank Ostini

Paws Up also hosts several food-focused events designed to draw culinary-minded attention. The resort hosted me for the Montana Master Grillers festival this past weekend, a four-day event during which Cooke turned over his kitchens to guest chefs Tiffani Faison (of Top Chef Season 1 and Sweet Cheeks Q in Boston) and Edward Lee (Top Chef Season 9 and 610 Magnolia in Louisville), along with Giuseppe Tentori of Chicago’s Boka and GT Fish & Oyster and Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post in Casmalia, California. (The resort will also bring back their annual Montana Masters Chefs event in the fall, featuring a number of Top Chef contestants.)

To participate in the weekend events, guests, chefs and press had to get to Greenough, Montana, situated serenely beneath some mountains, on a river. (If you’ve ever seen A River Runs Through It, you’ll have a sense of the soul-wrenching gorgeousness of the scenery.) Luckily, it’s just 30 minutes outside of Missoula, which has a small, charming airport with a cabin-in-woods vibe and non-ironic taxidermy.

The resort itself is a former working cattle ranch where black steers can still be seen grazing in some of the fields that make up the 37,000-acre property, and a number of the original buildings from that enterprise remain, made over into the “reception barn” or other facilities. Guests stay in separate houses complete with porches, hot tubs and barbecue grills — or go “glamping” in riverside camps fixed with luxury canvas tents, plus a chef and a butler for each tent cluster. One hundred percent rustic Paws Up is not, but activities like mountain biking, rafting and even driving cattle ensure everyone works up an appetite.

On Friday night, after an afternoon tasting of meaty bites from Double R Ranch Co. and beer from Chicago’s 3 Floyds, everyone staying for the weekend convened at upscale restaurant Pomp for dinner prepared by Cooke. The four-course meal started with a crowd-favorite duck prosciutto salad and also set the tone for a couple of running themes for the weekend: there was steak to eat and plenty to drink, courtesy Pinot Noir and Merlot pairings from Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines. After dinner everyone repaired to the bar for live bluegrass, more drinks and cigar-smoking by the campfire. Welcome to living it up in Montana.

Having skipped breakfast (I might’ve roused myself if the resort’s plans to cook it over a campfire and serve alfresco hadn’t been foiled by cold, rainy weather), I showed up at the equestrian center around noon the next day to see Faison break down some serious steaks and prepare a few sides. As those who’ve seen her on TV know, Faison is a small woman who’s not afraid of a big piece of meat. Along the way, she imparted meaty wisdom: salt the heck out of your meat when grilling; don’t mess with it too much and “let the grill do the work,” she advised. We ate Faison’s lunch seated at picnic tables smack in the middle of the horse corral, digging into grilled peach and farro salad, watermelon with yogurt and mint, cotija-rubbed corn on the cob, and sliced steak in flatbread. With Blue Mountain cider from Oregon to drink, the meal made for a jaunty picnic of sorts.

Following a rather chilly rafting outing (the weather was unseasonably cool all weekend), I was ready to eat again. That night was Tentori’s dinner, with a tasting of 3 Floyds beers. Out of the mind-boggling lineup of family style dishes, the crunchy fennel salad with Manchego, sweet shrimp-studded corn succotash and creamy lobster mac-and-cheese with firm edamame swapped in for peas made me reach for seconds. By the time the cheese course and excellent rhubarb-strawberry pie arrived, I was stuffed.

Ed Lee Tiffani Faison photo

After dinner came “Cowbody Karaoke,” and let’s just say neither Faison nor Lee is a shy performer. Memorably, during “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Faison wound up tackled on the floor beneath a certain Paws Up staffer I won’t name. I decided to hold off on Tweeting the photo, along with the one where Lee swept a calfskin rug up from the floor and straddled it, pretending to go for a ride. Party!

Possibly my favorite meal happened at Sunday lunch, following a barbecue demonstration by chef Frank Ostini, who grilled everything from beef to shrimp to quesadillas to locally foraged morels, and veggies and bacon produced nearby, all of which we then tucked into. Ostini’s Hitching Post is a local favorite for barbecue in Central California’s wine country, memorably featured in the movie Sideways. His simple food had a smoky char that a Montana ranch hand would’ve approved of, and even the shortbread dessert was lightly grilled.

It had snowed (!!) lightly that morning, but that didn’t stand in the way of the first annual Bad-Ass Burger Dash, sponsored by Double R. Ranch and held in Trough restaurant’s backyard. Faison and Lee had each been tasked with putting together the perfect burger, assisted by sous-chefs plucked from the crowd. After 30 minutes of action and saucy commentary from Paws Up’s marketing director (“Chef Lee, we saw you lick that sauce spoon and put it back,”), the timer buzzed. Faison rushed to finish plating her chorizo-laced patty with secret sauce, crazily delicious bacon and Cheddar on an English muffin bun while Lee offered his soy-sauce-spiked beef with chipotle-fish-sauce ketchup and bacon jam. Ultimately, the judges pronounced Lee’s dripping, umami-rich version the winner.

Lee was in charge of the last dinner, where he showcased his signature style, which he dubs “one part Southern, one part Asian, one part New York.” It’s Southern fare with help from “the Asian pantry,” as he told me. Think chilled spring pea soup with salmon belly, pork rinds and pickled shallots. The meal was paired once again with Blue Mountain cider, which is lower in alcohol content than wine, and not all that boozy in general. It was definitely a good thing for my liver, which needed a break after three days of fun.

Three Floyds Brewing

We’re pleased to announce that Three Floyds Brewing from Chicago will be joining us at Montana Master Grillers 2012.  Three Floyds Brewing was founded in 1996 by brothers Nick and Simon with their father Mike Floyd.  Since then, they’ve been providing craft beer enthusiasts with “not normal” quality ales and lagers.

Click here to learn more about Three Floyds.