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Grilled watermelon salad...who knew?!
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Pretty as a Picture
Picnic in style with fresh flowers and a bright checked tablecloth.
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A seafood twist to your traditional barbeque fare.
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Laid Back Low Country
Low Country flavors work nicely on the grill.
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What else but our own sweet Vidalias?
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Fired Up Flatbread
Why settle for frozen pizza when you can grill this?!
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Try some new combinations to top your classic hot dog.
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Lemonade Southern Style
Mason jars are the perfect way to serve cold beverages.
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Wonderful WatermelonGrilled Watermelon Salad with Sour Orange and Mint Dressing Grilling the watermelon adds a smoky note that turns the melon from sweet to savory and the heat concentrates the flavor, making it refreshing and perfect for the summer! Grilling Method: Direct / Medium Low Heat 1 small 3-4 pound seedless watermelon, not overripe 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing
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Lazy Days of Summer
Does it get any better than this?!
CLICK ON THE SLIDESHOW TAB TO SEE PICTURES OF ALL THE RECIPES.
FOOD, FAMILY, FRIENDS & FIRE
The table awaits, ready for the crowd to gather and enjoy an afternoon of backyard barbecuing. This time, add some ooh’s and aah’s to the conversation by serving something different than the usual burgers, brats and chicken. All recipes were grilled on-site, taste-tested and teen-approved. Now, that’s family culinary success to celebrate!
The History Of Grilling
Cooking meat over an open flame began with the dawn of civilization. However, the popularity of “grilling out” is fairly recent. Until the 1940s, grilling over a barbeque was reserved for park picnics and campsites. As the middle classes began to move into the suburbs, backyard grilling became popular.
Chicagoan George Stephen was a metalworker for Weber Brothers Metal Works, and like many American suburbanites, he grilled in his back yard on summer weekends. Growing frustrated with open-air braziers, he hinged together two metal half-spheres (used by Weber to make lake buoys), punctured the upper half and created moveable air vents which allowed the flame, smoke and air circulation to be controlled by the chef. This was the first Weber Grill.
Originally sold as George’s Barbecue Kettle, the dome-covered kettles became Weber Brothers’ best selling product. In 1958 Stephen bought the company, which he subsequently renamed Weber-Stephen. He had a dozen children and a strong aversion to personal publicity, so next to nothing beyond these basics is known of his life. He died in 1993, his Weber-Stephen Product Company remaining in family hands. But boy, did he leave a legacy.
LAID BACK LOW COUNTRY
Instead of scattering the meal across a newspaper-topped table, the main ingredients are assembled into a burger and salad. Of course, corn is corn, but it gets special spicy treatment here.
Shrimp Burgers with Sweet ‘n Spicy Tartar Sauce
Much heartier than a crab cake, this isn’t a burger; it’s a seafood experience! Sweet ‘n Spicy Tartar Sauce adds another flavor layer.
Grilling Method: Direct / Medium High Heat
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled, medium-size, wild-caught shrimp, raw (40/50 count)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 large egg, beaten
1 T mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
3 T finely chopped celery
2 T each finely chopped Vidalia onion and red bell pepper
1 1/4 cups crushed saltine crackers
4 hamburger rolls
4 Bibb lettuce leaves
Sweet ‘n Spicy Tartar Sauce
Peel shrimp and devein. Cut each shrimp into thirds.
Cover small cookie sheet with foil, coat with cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, whisk together egg and next 4 ingredients until well blended; stir in celery, onion and bell pepper. Fold in shrimp and cracker crumbs (mixture will be very thick). Shape into 4 1-inch thick patties. Place patties on prepared cookie sheet, cover and chill for 1 to 24 hours.
Grill burgers, covered, 4-5 minutes, or until burgers lift easily from grate using a large spatula. Turn burgers and grill 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and burgers are cooked through and lightly crisp.
Grill buns, cut sides down, until lightly toasted. Serve with Sweet ‘n Spicy Tartar Sauce and lettuce.
Sweet ‘n Spicy Tartar Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp paprika
Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.
Grilled Lowcountry Corn
When grilled this way, stubborn corn silks slip right away along with the husks. Sprinkling on Old Bay on the hot buttered corn instead of salt and pepper adds the unmistakable flavor of a lowcountry boil.
Grilling Method: Direct/Medium Heat
1 ear of corn per guest, unshucked
Old Bay dry seasoning
Trim the silk ends of the corn with a pair of scissors. Fill the sink or bucket with cold water and soak corn, husk and all for 30 minutes. Shake excess water off of corn and take to grill.
Place corn directly on the cooking grate and grill for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the outside is slightly charred and the inside is steamed and tender. Field-fresh corn takes between 4-5 minutes to cook and fresh grocery-store corn will take closer to 10 minutes.
Remove from grill, serve in the husk and let everyone shuck their own corn. Butter the ear, then sprinkle with Old Bay to taste.
Confetti Potato Salad
The combination of red-skinned, purple and white fingerling potatoes creates a new look for the traditional favorite, plus smaller potatoes mean little peeling or chopping. White balsamic and honey vinaigrette dressing and bacon is reminiscent of German potato salad.
1 bag assorted variety small potatoes plus 4-5 small, red new potatoes
1/4 cup each finely chopped celery and Vidalia onion
1/2 cup combination of finely chopped red and yellow bell peppers
3 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled
1 tsp celery seed
Salt and pepper to taste
Olde Cape Cod All Natural White Balsamic & Honey Vinaigrette dressing to taste
Boil potatoes until tender, 15-20 minutes. Rinse under running water until cooled, but still warm; blot until dry. Cut larger potatoes into chunks, and put into serving bowl. Add remaining dry ingredients. Pour vinaigrette to coat and while stirring, slightly mash some of the potatoes for creaminess, leaving the remainders in bite-sized chunks. Adjust vinaigrette and seasonings. Serve room temperature or cold.
MAYO, OH MY … OH!
Yes, white barbecue sauce. It’s a mayonnaise-based sauce created in the South that’s quickly growing in popularity. Eyed with extreme suspicion by veteran barbecuers because of its main ingredient, it’s winning over adventurous eaters bite by bite.
Grilled Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce
Add a little heat and lemony zest to your barbecue chicken repertoire. Use it as a marinade, a baste, dipping sauce or all three! This sauce contains less sugar than the more familiar red sauces, but still caramelizes nicely over heat.
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 T grated lemon zest
1/2 cup each lemon juice and water
2 T chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 T white Worchestershire sauce – “rooster booster”
1 T each coarse black pepper and dry yellow mustard
3 large cloves garlic, crushed through a press
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp prepared horseradish
5 lbs chicken parts (wings, drumsticks, thighs and quartered breasts)
Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Place chicken in a 2-gallon ziptop bag; add ½ cup sauce, seal bag and toss to coat. Marinate chicken in refrigerator up to 2 days. Refrigerate remaining sauce.
The trick to perfect barbecue chicken is grilling over a two-zone fire and only applying extra sauce after the chicken is mostly cooked. Grill the chicken, covered, over the cool side of the grill until the skin starts to brown and crisp. Then move the chicken closer to, but not directly over, the flames and begin to baste. This will give the chicken time to absorb the flavors without burning it. When the chicken is almost done, approximately 35-40 minutes, apply the last layer of sauce and move directly over the heat source, grilling until the sauce slightly is caramelized, not burned.
While you’re breaking away from traditional BBQ sauces, try a side of grilled vegetables. Easy, tasty, and oh, so good for you, too! Grilling enhances the flavor of fruits and vegetables by concentrating and caramelizing their natural sugars. Give fruits and veggies a very light brush of oil, then stick them on the grill over medium to high heat, turning as soon as grill marks appear. Cook for no more than 5-8 minutes total to help them retain their natural texture. Try the following prep techniques:
Beefsteak tomatoes, bell peppers, endive, fennel, leeks, mangos, melons, nectarines, onions, peaches, pineapples, plums, portobello mushrooms, and romaine lettuce
Keep them big – whole, halves or large chunks – to keep them from falling through the grate.
Eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini
Slice lengthwise; round cuts are more likely to drop down.
Husk on or off? Leave on for a steamy, smoked flavor; off and the kernels’ direct access to heat results in a deliciously sweet, charred taste.
Larger spears can sit right across the grill. To keep thinner spears from plummeting to a fiery death, place them on a perforated vegetable grill pan.
Brussels sprouts, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and white mushrooms
These need help staying above the flame. Always cook on skewers, in a vegetable basket, or wrapped in foil.
FIRED UP FLATBREADS
OK, technically it’s not pizza, but topping pre-made crusts with your own yummy combos and tossing them on a hot grill beats home-delivery any day. Frozen pizza? When you can do this? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Making your own pizza crust from scratch is so Martha Stewart. The goal of outdoor grilling is to cut out the hard work. Making these flatbreads is all about being fun-to-create and quick-to-fix!
Grilling Method: Direct / Medium High Heat
1 12” or 8” premade pizza crust (such as Boboli)
Before starting, brush the bottom and top crusts of each pie with olive oil. For added flavor, before the oil soaks completely into the top crust, sprinkle with sea or garlic salt, poppy or sesame seeds, or shredded parmesan cheese. Then gather toppings and get going! Lay your creation on a clean grate and close the lid. Check the crust bottom and toppings after 8 minutes. Below are three idea starters; adjust amounts to your personal taste and the size of your pie.
Semisoft cheese spread with garlic and herbs, such as Alouette
Baby heirloom tomatoes, different varietals for more complex flavors, thinly sliced and blotted dry
Fresh basil, 5-6 large leaves cut into long, thin strips with kitchen scissors
Fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese
Spread pie with a thin layer of herbed cheese. Cover with slices of tomato, arranged so they are closely touching. Slice mozzarella cheese into bite-sized pieces and arrange on top of tomatoes. Sprinkle entire surface with basil to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and place on the grill.
Selection of mushrooms containing cremini, baby portobellos, shitake, white and oyster varieties (available pre-packaged in some grocery stores)
Vidalia onion, cut into half moon slivers
Goat cheese; crumbles or log, sliced into thin rounds
Fresh marjoram, optional.
Cut desired amount of onion into half moon slivers and select the amount of mushrooms needed to completely cover the pie. Pour 1 T olive oil into sauté pan and over medium heat, cook onions and mushrooms until slightly wilted, approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside. Brush the top of a pie with olive oil. Arrange sautéed mushrooms and onions to cover and top with goat cheese. Pinch leaves from sprigs of marjoram and sprinkle over top, if desired, and place on grill.
Classic Spinach Salad
Baby spinach leaves
Vidalia onion, cut into half moon slivers
3 – 5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and broken into pieces
Bleu cheese crumbles
Cook bacon in a sauté pan on the stove until crisp; set aside on paper towels. Drain all but 1 T of the bacon grease or if preferred, clean pan and use 1 T olive oil to cook onion slivers until slightly wilted, approximately 7-8 minutes. Remove from stove and set aside. Brush the top of a pie with olive oil. Layer spinach leaves, covering the top. Scatter with sautéed onions and crisp bacon pieces. Top with bleu cheese crumbles and place on grill.
Take this all-American edible icon to the height of culinary fashion. When grocery shopping, push your cart right past the usual ketchup and mustard and shop for quirky condiments, saucy salsas and piquant pickles to dress your dog to the nines.
The tried and true basic grilling method yields a spectacular dog, ready to be loaded into a bun and covered with treats.
Grilling Method: Direct / Medium Heat
Place premium quality, all beef hot dogs directly over the heat and close cover, grilling 5-7 minutes or until heated through and showing grill marks. Lift lid to turn occasionally. During the last 2 minutes, place buttered buns, cut side down on grill, to lightly toast. And once you try these toppings you’ll be begging for more.
Corn, onion and red pepper relish
Grated Swiss cheese
1000 Island dressing
Diced fresh pineapple
Chopped sweet red cherry peppers, such as peppadews
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Apples, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pineapples, plums – they’ve all had their turn on the grill and they’re stars, with recipes showing up in all the national magazines. But icy, crisp slices of watermelon? We had to try it. And now, so do you.
Grilled Watermelon Salad with Sour Orange and Mint Dressing
Grilling the watermelon adds a smoky note that turns the melon from sweet to savory and the heat concentrates the flavor, making it refreshing and perfect for the summer!
Grilling Method: Direct / Medium Low Heat
1 small 3-4 pound seedless watermelon, not overripe
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing; additional for grilling
3 limes, juiced
1-2 large navel oranges, juiced
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese, whichever is preferred
Sea or kosher salt
Cut the watermelon in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half lengthwise again so that you have 4 long, triangular pieces. Cut each of the 4 sections into wedge-shaped, 2-inch thick slices. Brush both sides of each slice lightly with olive oil and set aside until ready to grill.
Combine the juice of limes with 1 orange and taste. If it’s too tart, add more orange juice; it should taste like a “sour” orange. Add a pinch of salt and cayenne. Add oil in a thin stream and whisk continually until well mixed (emulsified). Taste and adjust oil and salt to taste. Add mint.
Just before serving, place oiled watermelon slices directly on a very clean cooking grate. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until slightly warmed through but still crunchy. Remove to serving platter. Drizzle Sour Orange and Mint Dressing over the slices and sprinkle with an additional pinch of cayenne and coarse salt. Add cheese crumbles and serve immediately.
All items featured in Food, Family, Friends, Fire were purchased locally and prepared using a gas grill. Cooking temperatures are given for both charcoal and gas grilling.
***Content reprinted from August 2010 issue, photography courtesy of Sarah Deshaw