Grill Recipes

Seasoned Hamburgers

These are perfect for the grill! You can use any of these spice blends in this super-simple burger recipe:

  • Chipotle Maple
  • Sweet Onion Maple
  • Smoky Maple
  • Hot & Smoky Maple
  • Spicy Maple
  • Santa Fe
  • Smoky Texas
  • Spicy Hot
  • Sweet Carolina
  • Baharat
  • Berbere (add some brown sugar to balance the heat)
  • Kashmiri

Directions

Thoroughly mix 1-2 tbsp seasoning into one pound of ground hamburger. Shape into 4 or 5 hamburgers and grill as usual.

Adding a spice blend that includes sugar – and some spices – will cause a normal “blackening” effect on the surface. Be sure to check for doneness by temperature or by slightly opening the burger to see if the center is at its desired level of cooked.

Hint: Meat flavor is in its fat. That’s why grilled meats taste best when they include 10-15% fat. (Fat also keeps grilled meats from drying out.) The higher the heat during cooking, the more fat will be lost; a slower cook will help seal in the flavor – and the blackening effect of the spice blend will contribute to the sealing.

Chicken Schwarma

This delicious Middle Eastern meal is best made on the grill, although good results come from the oven, too. Serve with large rounds of flatbread with fillings like chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, black or green olives, chopped scallion, and even grated goat or lamb cheese. Let your meal companions make their own wraps!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Marinade

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tbsp Baharat Spice Blend
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: 2 tsp smoked paprika

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, or in a large sealable bag. Add the chicken thighs and mix to coat. Marinate overnight, up to 24 hours.
  2. Combine and mix the yoghurt sauce ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  3. To grill: Heat the grill to medium high. Grill the chicken on each side about 5 minutes, until nicely charred and cooked through. Tent loosely in foil and rest 5 minutes.

     To pan fry: Heat a heavy pan on the stovetop on medium high. Cook the chicken until nicely charred on each side and cooked through. Tent loosely in foil and rest 5 minutes.

  1. Slice the chicken and pile on a platter.

To Serve: Slather a flatbread with the yoghurt sauce, then top with chicken and toppings.

To roll up: first fold the bottom up about ⅓ of the way, then roll from one side across to the other, tucking around the meat and vegetables.

Tips:

  1. You can freeze the chicken thighs in a freezer bag with the marinade days ahead. As the chicken and marinade defrost, it will marinate!
  2. You can cook the chicken a day ahead, or the morning before an afternoon or evening party, and reheat it prior to serving. Mix the reheated chicken slices with the marinade and it will be perfect.

Tasty Grilled Chicken

Here’s a Southwest grilled chicken recipe that makes great chicken tacos or fajitas!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp Mellow Santa Fe spice blend
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Garnishes

  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • grated Monterey Jack cheese (perhaps with jalapeno peppers)
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • sour cream

Directions

1. In a small bowl mix Mellow Santa Fe blend, brown sugar, and olive or coconut oil. Mix until crumbles form.

2. Thoroughly and generously coat chicken breasts with the mixture and place in a baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

3. Grill at a medium heat 6-8 minutes on each side until cooked through.

4. Rest for 5 minutes, then slice into strips and serve as is, or with soft tortillas and taco garnishes.

Side Dish Suggestion: Corn Salad

Ahead of time, cook 6 ears of corn. Let cool, then cut the kernels off the cobs.

In a large bowl, mix the corn kernels with

  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons red wine (or apple cider) vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and ground black pepper.

Cover and chill.

When ready to serve, mix in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves.

Lamb Koftas

Try this is easy, fun, and tasty grilled dish – you’ll be glad you did!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 onion, grated on a box grater
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 tbsp Baharat Spice Blend
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; thoroughly mix with your hands. (There’s no better way to do it!) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to make the meat easier to handle – and up to 24 hours in a sealed container or bag.
  2. Dampen you hands, then divide the meat into 8 pieces. Shape around 8 skewers.

Tip: If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for half an hour to assure they don’t just burn up on the grill.

  1. Grill the koftas on the BBQ until nicely browned all over. Remove and rest 10 minutes before serving.

Serve topped with Yoghurt Sauce with a side of green salad. Or, serve in flatbread slathered with Yoghurt Sauce, with some of the salad included as a garnish.

Yoghurt Sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Thoroughly combine ingredients and refrigerate for several hours, or up to 24 hours, in a sealed container.

Smoked Texas Short Ribs
or Pork Spare Ribs

Okay, so it takes half a day to make these delicious smoked ribs, but that makes it ideal for a day at the lake with friends – and the results will knock your socks off!

Ingredients

  • 2 racks of beef short ribs or pork spare ribs, roughly 1 square foot each
  • 6 tbsp Smoky Texas spice blend
  • 1 package of oak or hickory smoking wood (available wherever grills are sold)
  • optional: 2 large pieces of butcher paper (try asking your local butcher when you buy the ribs)

Directions

  1. Prepare the rib racks by removing the membrane and trimming the hard fat cap to about 1/8″ thickness. Then thoroughly and thickly coat them with Smoky Texas spice blend. Let rest bone side down until ready to cook, at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours wrapped and refrigerated. Add remaining rub as a second layer, and let rest 10 minutes before grilling.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-low. Use the vents to achieve a temperature of 225-250° F. Then spread 1 cup well-soaked wood chips on the coals.
  3. Place the ribs, bone side down, on the grate. Cover and smoke until the meat’s internal temperature registers 165° F in the thickest part – 4 to 6 hours.

Note: check the ribs every hour or so. As needed, add a dozen briquettes to each side of the grill and spread a cup of soaked wood chips over the coals at those checks.

  1. When the ribs register 165° F, wrap each rib in a piece of butcher paper and replace on the grill. Continue smoking until the internal temperature reaches 185° F, another 2 hours or so.

Note: Texans often use tin foil, which doesn’t breathe; it’s a matter of choice. Foil traps the stream and speeds up the cooking process. It also softens the “crust.” By contrast, butcher paper allows much of the steam to escape, but retains enough to help soften the meat without altogether softening the crust made by the rub. So it’s a question of time or crust: you decide!

  1. When the internal meat temperature reaches 185° F transfer the ribs to an empty cooler and let it rest at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours. The longer it rests, the softer and juicier it will become.

To serve: Slice into individual ribs and serve garnished with steak sauce or Hickory smoked BBQ sauce.

Spicy Shrimp BBQ

Easy-peasy! Mix this into your next Surf-and-Turf barbeque, make it as a stand-alone hors d’oeuvre, or serve as an appetizer to nibble while waiting for the main course to grill.

Directions

  1. Start the grill heating, and soak wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 3 tbsp Spicy Hot spice blend.
  3. Peel and de-vein 2 lbs of large shrimp. Thoroughly coat the shrimp in the oil-and-spice paste.
  4. Skewer the shrimp. Grill 2-3 minutes, turn and grill another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Rest a couple minutes before serving.

Tilapia in Berbere Butter

In addition to tilapia, any firm white fish (like cod or halibat) will work for this super-simple dish, and it’s an excellent choice for your next weekend BBQ!

Directions

Rinse the fish fillets and pat them dry. Set aside.

For every 2 fillets, heat in a large pan:

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 t Berbere Spice Blend
  • 1 T fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
  • a pinch of salt (optional)

Place the fish in the pan, cook for 1 minute; flip the fish and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through, basting with the butter sauce every minute or so.

Hint: if you are cooking a fish with its skin on, start on the non-skin side, then flip the fillet so the skin side is down for the longest cooking.

Test for doneness by lightly flaking with a fork. The flesh should flake easily and be white throughout.

Adding a spice mix will cause a normal “blackening” effect on the surface. Be sure to check for doneness by temperature or by raking a fork over the flesh as discussed above.

To serve: place a fillet on a plate (skin side down), and spoon some of the butter sauce over the top.

Fiery Grilled Salmon & Gazpacho

This delicious barbequed salmon tastes great right off the grill, as well as served cold; and it’ll surely spice up your Fish Friday! Serve it with something cooling, like Gazpacho.

Ingredients

  • 8 (4-5 oz) Salmon filets
  • ½ cup peanut oil (olive will work, also)
  • 4 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 1½ tbsp Spicy Hot spice blend
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Place the filets in a large plastic bag; pour in the marinade; refrigerate and allow to marinate 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  3. Prepare a grill, bringing the temperature to 350° F. Lightly oil the grate and add the fish. (If your grate height is adjustable, 5″ is ideal.)
  4. Grill for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish, turning half way through.

Note: if you’re cooking salmon with its skin, cook the non-skin side first for 3 minutes, then turn the fish and complete the cooking with skin side down.

To confirm the fish is fully cooked test flakiness by running a fork across the flesh.

Gazpacho for Six

Makes about 6 cups.

Directions

In  a stainless steel or glass bowl, combine, cover, and chill for 4 hours:

  • 1 cup finely chopped, peeled fresh garden tomato
  • ½ cup each, finely chopped green pepper, celery, and cucumber
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp snipped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tbsp tarragon wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • Optional: ½ tsp Worcestershire Sauce, and 3 drops Tabasco

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, and sprinkle with a pinch of fresh, snipped chives.

Carolina Style Pulled Pork (with Carolina Coleslaw)

This is a very simple recipe and meal – really, it can’t get much easier to make a delicious lunch or dinner treat for your next party or gathering! But it does take time to do it right, so consider preparing your pulled pork a day or more ahead, if your party day is going to be busy. Then simply reheat it in a low oven or on the grill before serving.

We find the Carolina Coleslaw too vinegary and spicy for our palates, however we’re including it because it’s traditional, and you might enjoy it.

Ingredients

  • 1 pork shoulder butt (this is not a part of the pork’s butt; it’s the upper portion of the front shoulder, also known as Boston Butt.)
  • 3-6 tbsp Sweet Carolina spice blend
  • 1-3 tbl olive or pure peanut oil (if you use peanut oil be sure it’s pure – most available peanut oil is mixed with some low-quality vegetable oil or is treated with an anti-foaming agent; neither is good for your health)

Hint: In choosing the size of the pork shoulder (or how many pork shoulders) you need, estimate ⅓ to ½ lb finished pork per person; and know that pork shoulder loses about 40% of its weight between cooking and removing the bone. So, a 5 lb pork butt will yield about 3 lbs of finished, pulled pork. At ½ lb per person, that will feed 6 people (9 people at ⅓ lb per person). 1 packet (3 tbsp) Sweet Carolina spice blend will easily and richly coat a 5-pound roast, but only thinly cover twice that. For best flavor, you want a thick coat that blackens richly as it cooks, which is why doubling the spice coat can be a good idea.

Preparation

Coat the thawed pork butt in a very thin film of oil. Then cover thoroughly with my Sweet Carolina spice blend, and pat or rub it in. (You can add 1-2 tsp salt to the spice blend before you spread it over the pork, if you wish.) Let it rest, fat side down, until it’s time to cook.

Cooking/Smoking

You can cook a pork shoulder butt in the oven, or on a grill. But you can’t smoke your pork in the oven.

Simple Oven Method

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Select a large enough roasting pan with a rack in it for lifting the meat off the floor of the pan; place the seasoned pork on the pan, fat side up. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees. Continue cooking until a thermometer reads 190 degrees in the center, near the bone, typically 4 – 5 hours. Remove the pork from the oven and rest it 20 minutes or so, to finish cooking and so you can pull it apart without burning yourself.

Smoking on a Grill

To smoke your pork shoulder, you’ll need a package of smoking wood chips. You should be able to purchase one for about $5 wherever grills or smokers are sold. Soak your chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding them to the grill so they’ll smoke rather than burn. (Leftover chips can be let dry and re-bagged.)

Gas grill

To use a gas grill for smoking you will need a smoker box and a drip pan. Both are available wherever gas grills are sold, and should not be very expensive. They are, however, a great investment!

Make sure you have a full propane tank! (A backup wouldn’t hurt, either, but one tank should be enough.)

Fill your smoker box with the well-soaked wood chips.

Preheat the grill to high.

When smoke appears, reduce the heat to medium. (If you have a thermometer built into the cover, you’re looking for about 300 degrees cooking temperature.) Center the pork butt on the grate over the drip pan, fat side up. Close and smoke until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 195 F. It will take at least 4 hours, unless it’s an unusually small butt, and could take 6 hours. When it gets to temperature, it should be falling-off-the-bone tender.

Charcoal grill

To use a charcoal grill, you will need a drip pan that you can place in the coals to catch the melting fat. Otherwise, you could end up with a flash fire.

Preheat the grill to medium-low. Use the vents to establish a temperature of 300 degrees F.

Spread 1 cup of well-soaked wood chips on the coals. Place the pork shoulder on the grate, centered over the drip pan.

Cover the grill and smoke the pork shoulder at least 4 hours, and as much as 6 (or even longer if it’s a very large butt), until the meat’s internal temperature registers 195 F. It should be fall-off-the-bone tender.

Check the grill every hour, and add a dozen or so fresh briquettes to each side when you do. Also spread another cup of soaked woodchips over the coals at those hourly inspections.

After Smoking – Final Preparations

When the internal temperature of the pork butt has reached 195 F, transfer it to a cutting board or platter. (Use care, if it’s very tender it may fall apart easily!)

Tent loosely with a bit of tin foil and let it rest 20 minutes, until you can pull it apart without burning your fingers.

Using two large forks (or your washed fingers), remove any remaining fat and bits of skin. Then shred the pork into thin, short strips. Patience and time pay off, here. You’re aiming for something like 1-2 inches long and not more than, say, 1/4″ thick pieces. Toss the bones and fat you come across.

Transfer the shredded pork to a nonreactive roasting pan. Stir in enough of your favorite BBQ Sauce to keep the meat moist, but not so much it becomes sloppy. You want it to be able to sit on a bun without sliding out or dripping all over your new summer shorts.

Cover with foil and warm in a 300 degree oven, or on the grill. Keep it covered and on a medium-low heat until served.

Serve on a bun.

Carolina Vinegar Sauce

If you want to be more Carolina authentic, try this Carolina Vinegar Sauce in place of your BBQ Sauce. Simply whisk until thoroughly dissolved and combined:

  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1⅓ cups (non-chlorinated) water
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 5 t salt (or less)
  • 4 t hot red pepper flakes (halve it for more flavor and less heat)
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t freshly ground white pepper

Carolina Coleslaw

Shred one small green cabbage, and mix it with 1 cup Carolina Vinegar Sauce. Salt to taste. Let it rest at least 1 hour, and even overnight in the refrigerator for a softer texture.

Use the Coleslaw as a side dish, or as the topping for the pulled pork on a bun.