Five cool grilling recipes for the long, hot summer

by Terry B on July 6, 2011

From tea-smoked chicken to lamb feta burgers and a classic Alabama white sauce, here are five great recipes to liven up your summer grilling.

For Americans everywhere, the 4th of July weekend is a time to declare independence from the kitchen stove and fire up the grill. For Marion and me, this weekend was more about the freedom of the road—some 700 miles of it, without a kitchen in sight. So this week, I’m serving up grilling recipes from the Blue Kitchen archives.

1. Grilled Lamb Feta Burgers with Light Rémoulade

This is a truly American burger, in that it happily borrows ingredients from other cultures and then reinvents them. The lamb and feta from Greece and the creamy, tangy rémoulade from France (with Greek nonfat yogurt standing in for mayonnaise). Grilled Lamb Feta Burgers are a flavorful change from classic beef burgers, and the  light rémoulade, with parsley, garlic, capers and whole grain mustard really livens things up.

2. Asian Grilled Pork Chops with Asian Slaw

Pork chops are perhaps the perfect grilling food. They play nicely with all sorts of marinades—here, they’re teamed up with soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper—and the smokiness of the grill really brings out the meat’s savory richness.  Pork chops also pair beautifully with the sweet/tart/tangy flavors of Marion’s Asian Slaw, with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapeño peppers, lemongrass, lime juice and basil. You’ll find both recipes here.

3. Alabama White Sauce, with Grilled Chicken

Regular readers know I’m often finding ways around mayonnaise in recipes—the lamb feta burgers above substitutes Greek yogurt and olive oil for the fatty white stuff. But sometimes, you just can’t hold the mayo. This iconic sauce, invented by former railroad man Big Bob Gibson in 1925, combines it with cider vinegar and horseradish to create the surprisingly subtle, deservedly famous Alabama White Sauce. It’s great on pork, beef or, as seen here, grilled chicken.

4. Grilled Pork Roast with Mustard and Fresh Herbs

I’ve done my share of chops, steaks, burgers and assorted chicken parts on the grill. I’m not sure what took me so long to get around to doing a whole roast. All it takes is slow, indirect grilling to cook the meat through, and the smoky, tender meat greatly rewards your patience. A rub of Dijon mustard, fresh herbs (sage, rosemary and thyme, in this case), salt and garlic adds further flavor to this boneless pork shoulder roast.

5. Tea-smoked Grilled Chicken with Star Anise & Orange

You can keep your wood chips. The delicate, complex flavors created by a foil pouch of tea leaves, Asian aromatics, orange zest and a few other simple ingredients can’t be matched by mere mesquite. It’s wonderfully foolproof too—no need to soak chips and still worry about them catching fire. Tea-smoking produces a reliable source of fragrant smoke that imbues the meat with a deliciously mysterious quality that will have diners asking for seconds—and for the recipe.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

altadenahiker July 6, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Want to hear about the trip…

Deb July 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Holy smokes! I would gladly sit down and eat any of these right now…they are beautiful! My only suggestion would be to use HimalaSalt pink salt from Sustainable Sourcing (here’s their website: https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com ). The salt really, really does make a difference…so don’t use the store-bought stuff!

Terry B July 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Altadenahiker—It was a familial mix of having fun with our daughters and working our butts off on their behalf (unfortunately, they keep growing back—the butts, that is). Nothing that would make for an interesting travelogue. But we did eat some great food, at The Soup Spoon Cafe in Lansing, Michigan, for instance, and Royal Kabob in Hamtramck, Michigan.

Thanks, Deb! Regarding specialty salts, we do use them on occasion. Kosher salt, sea salt and even Hawaiian Black Lava Salt make it into the rotation. But I would caution you against banishing plain old iodized table salt from your kitchen. Iodine deficiency can lead to gland problems, including goiter, and in extreme cases, even mental retardation.

Mellen July 7, 2011 at 2:50 am

Hi guys!

Just wanted to note that we tea-smoked our first duck last week and it was stupendous! Quite a process (first day, glaze, then dunk in boiling water twice to shrink the skin; hang overnight (we did it in the shower of the extra bathroom – hey, we didn’t have guests); then smoke on the grill over a bed of black China tea, raw rice, and brown sugar….

Did I mention it was so incredibly delicious the two of us devoured the entire duck in one sitting? OK, I’ll admit, after looking at recipes for making the pancakes, we opted to walk down the street to the nearest Chinese takeout and for $3 bought a package of 10.

Wonderful recipe lineup – we’ll be using these this week and next! Come back to DC again soon!

Terry B July 7, 2011 at 3:50 am

Wow, Mellen. What an impressive process. And now I understand the odd smell of duck in the extra bathroom when we visited. I’m thinking of tea-smoking some duck legs, which should be a much more straightforward process. And we’d love to come to DC, in part to eat at the bistro Medium Rare I wrote about this week. But when are you guys coming to Chicago?

Mellen July 7, 2011 at 4:00 am

Terry, if you smoke the duck legs, I recommend a glaze that involves a finger-sized chunk of ginger, grated, plus a garlic clove or two, grated, plus a cup of water and a half cup of brown sugar, plus some chopped coriander and some ground cumin, plus some tamarind paste if you have it – just a thumb-size bit, plus some Thai chilis (as much as you like), plus some orange zest or a bit of orange juice.

Just put that all in a small pot and let it melt and stir it together, then slather it all over the duck legs. Let them sit overnight in the fridge.

I guess you don’t hang duck legs (that would make our guest bathroom look even stranger than it normally does), so just make sure you dry the glazed legs on something that allows air to circulate.

Grill them however you like, but the tea/rice/brown sugar thing did great things for the color and crispiness of the skin.

We can’t afford to come to Chicago, unfortunately at the moment, but the minute our fortune changes, we’re there!

Terry B July 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

The glaze sounds like an interesting approach, Mellen. But with the success of tea-smoking chicken seasoned only with salt and pepper and of steaming duck legs for my Chinese Duck Pasta with Mushrooms, I’d be inclined to also try just letting the tea-smoking do all the heavy flavor lifting with duck legs, which are already flavorful.

Laura [What I Like] July 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Hi Terry, these all look wonderful! I’m actually helping to host a farewell party this weekend and have been on the look out for good chicken marinades, this sounds like a winner! By the way, have you seen that ginger-miso chicken thigh recipe on TheKitchn.com? To die for, I think it’s right up your alley and perfect for summer.

Terry B July 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Thanks, Laura! I’ll look for that recipe. And speaking of marinades for chicken, you might also consider these Grilled Hoisin Chicken Thighs.

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