Archive for the ‘Grilling’ category

Peanut-coconut chicken

March 26, 2022

This dish comes together quickly and is a nice change from more ordinary chicken recipes. I think of it as showing an African influence. Serve on basmati rice and pass chopped cilantro and/or scallions at the table.

Before cooking, have about 20-6 inch wooden skewers soaking in water for at least an hour.

  • 6 boned, skinned chicken thighs cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tennis ball-sized onion, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 TB natural (unsweetened) peanut butter
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 TB oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put all ingredients except the chicken in a food processor and zap to a paste. Put in a bowl with the chicken, mix well, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Thread a couple of chunks of chicken onto each skewer. Cook over a grill or under a broiler, turning as needed, until cooked thru and lightly charred–10 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: you may be tempted to pass excess marinade at the table, but don’t. It has been in contact with raw chicken and is uncooked, so is not safe.

BBQ ribs in the oven

April 27, 2019

When you have a hankering for BBQ ribs but the weather prevents you from firing up the grill, try this. I confess to having been doubtful at first–how could an oven duplicate the flavor of cooking over wood or charcoal? I was pleasantly surprised.

The coffee, with its bitterness, mimics the slightly charred flavor of the grill, and the liquid smoke adds authentic smokiness (it is, after all, a natural product made from condensing wood smoke).

2 racks St. Louis style pork spareribs
1/2 c ground dark roast coffee
2 TB liquid smoke
1 TB salt
Store-bought BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

If it hasn’t been done already, remove the thin white membrane from the underside of the ribs. If desired, cut each rack in half crossways.

Put the coffee and 1 c water in a small saucepan and simmer for 5-10 min. Strain thru a paper coffee filter or paper towel; discard grounds.

Add water to the coffee to make 3 c, then add the smoke and salt, stirring to dissolve. Put ribs, meat side down, in one layer in a roasting pan. Pour in the liquid, cover the pan tightly with foil, and bake for 90 min.

Remover meat and discard liquid. Brush the ribs on both sides with sauce and place on a rack on a rimmed cookie sheet. Return to the oven and bake for 90 min, brushing more sauce on the top after 45 min. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, and let sit for 30 min before serving.

Bourbon-glazed smoked chicken

March 17, 2015

Adapted from the wonderful cookbook Charcuterie, this recipe makes moist, flavorful chicken that is tasty either warm or cold. I think it goes well with German potato salad. The glaze is terrific and will make your kitchen smell very good! You need to start the process the day before you plan to eat.

1 gallon room temperature water
1-1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)
A 4 pound (more or less) chicken, preferably organic and/or locally raised
1 c bourbon
1/2 c maple syrup
2 TB dark brown sugar
Big pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. If there’s a giblet packet inside the chicken, remove it and save for other uses. Truss the chicken, which means to use cotton kitchen string to tie the ends of the drumsticks together and to wrap the main part of the chicken so that the wings are held against the body. Immerse the chicken in the brine, weigh down with a plate if needed to keep the bird submerged, and refrigerate for 20-24 hours.

Remove the chicken, rinse, and pat dry. Discard the brine. Place chicken on a rack, uncovered, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to a day. This dries out the skin and makes for better penetration of the smoke flavor.

Combine the bourbon, syrup, 2 TB sugar, and cayenne in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer, stirring, until reduced to about a cup. Let cool. If the glaze has reduced too much and is very stiff, add some water and stir over heat to thin it out.

Smoke the chicken at 200-220 degrees. I prefer mesquite or hickory for this, I think fruit woods would have too delicate a flavor. After about 90 minutes, remove the chicken and brush all over with about half the glaze. Return to the smoker until the internal temperature in the thigh is 165 degrees. Total smoking time will probably be 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature used and the size of the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the smoker and brush with the remaining glaze. It is now ready to serve.

Miso-glazed chicken

July 31, 2014

Miso, fermented soybean paste, is a traditional Japanese ingredient that can impart a wonderful flavor to many non-Japanese dishes. In Japan I was amazed to see a dozen or more large barrels of miso on display at the market where customers could buy in bulk. There are many varieties in Japan and regional differences as well, but the main distinction is between shiromiso (white miso) and akamiso  (red miso), both of which are widely available in packaged form at Asian markets. It keeps essentially forever in the fridge. For this recipe I prefer the shiromiso for its somewhat milder and sweeter taste. Because miso is rather salty, you do not want to salt or brine the chicken. For this recipe you’ll also need mirin, sweet Japanese cooking wine.


4 whole skin-on chicken legs
1 c shiromiso
1 tsp powdered lemon grass
1 tsp ground white pepper
Mirin as needed (perhaps 1/2 c)

Mix the miso, lemongrass, and pepper in a bowl, adding enough mirin to get the desired consistency. Put half of this mixture in a large bowl with the chicken, mix well, and let sit for at least an hour. Longer is fine! Now you can either grill or bake.

To grill: Because the marinade contains sugar it can burn easily, so you need to use medium to medium-high heat keep an eye on things, moving the chicken to a cooler or hotter part of the grill as needed. Cook until done, perhaps 30-40 min, flipping and brushing with more marinade a couple of times.

To bake: Put a flat rack in a baking pan and spray with cooking spray. Put the legs, skin side up, on the rack and bake at 375 degrees until done, about 35 minutes or until the center of the thigh reads 165 degrees. Brush a couple of times with the extra marinade during cooking. No need to turn.

Corn on the grill

July 20, 2014

I don’t like to cook shucked corn on the grill. It can dry out and if it starts to burn, well, no one likes that taste. Here’s a better way.

Take your corn and pull back the husks, leaving them attached to the ear at the stem end. Remove the silk. If desired, brush with butter or sprinkle with seasoning. Pull the husks up to their original position and fasten with a length of kitchen string at the tip end. Soak in water for a few minutes, then grill. If you are worried that soaking will wash off your seasonings, wet the husks thoroughly with a sprayer before closing up the ear.

Steak salad with walnut vinaigrette

June 11, 2014

This is a lovely summer dish that fits in well with a goal of eating more vegetables and less meat. Serves 4.

The vinaigrette:

1/2 c shelled walnuts
1 peeled clove garlic put thru a press
3 TB red wine or sherry vinegar
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts by shaking over medium heat in a small, dry skillet until fragrant. Remove to a cutting board and chop finely – pieces the size of raw rice grains, more or less. Put in a small jar with the remaining ingredients and shake well.

The steak:

Ribeye or NY strip steak about an inch thick or a little thicker. You want 3-4 oz of meat per person, which means either one large steak or two smaller ones. Rub with black pepper, pat dry, and let come to room temperature. Grill over very hot coals until medium rare. Remove to cutting board and set aside. You will be serving it at room temperature.

The salad:

2-3 medium boiling potatoes
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 small or 1/2 large fennel bulb
1/4 of a large sweet or red onion
About 20 cherry or grape tomatoes

Peel the potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces, and simmer until tender. Drain and while still warm toss with 1/4 c of the vinaigrette. Set aside to cool.

Shred the lettuce. Cut the fennel into fine julienne and the onion into thin slices. Halve the tomatoes. Toss these 4 ingredients in a large bowl with vinaigrette to taste (you probably will not use all the dressing).


You can do this on a single large serving platter or individual plates. Mound the salad and top with the potatoes. Cut the steak into 1/4 inch thick strips and arrange on top. Pass additional dressing for people to add if desired.

Chicken wings on the grill

September 24, 2013

Chicken wings have exploded in popularity, with deep-fried seeming to be by far the people’s favorite. As good as they are, the deep frying is a hassle for most home cooks and of course adds some fat to what is already a fatty dish (that’s why they taste so good!). But, it’s hard to get that nice crispy skin any other way–hard, but not impossible! The trick is to render out some of the fat in the skin at low temperature before a final crisping at high temperature. There are two ways I have done this, one using the grill and the other, devised when a sudden rainstorm made grilling impossible, done entirely in your kitchen.


Start by cutting your wings into 3 sections and discard the tips (or save for making stock). Then:

On the grill

Build a 2-level fire in your grill – that is, put the charcoal on one side only so you’ll have a hot side and a less hot side. If using a gas grill, light only one burner. When the grill is ready, put the wings on the less hot side of the grill, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning once or twice. While this is happening, make your sauce (see below).  At this point the wings will be cooked through and will have lost some of their fat. Remove to a bowl and toss with enough of your sauce to coat. Return to the grill, the hot side this time, and cook, turning as needed, until nicely browned – 5 minutes or so. Serve with the remaining sauce for dipping.

In the kitchen

Place the wing sections in a steamer and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove, let cool, and pat dry. Place on a rack set on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning the wings over about halfway through. Adjust cooking time to get a nice brown skin on the wings. Remove from oven, toss with some of your sauce, and serve.


The traditional Buffalo sauce is quite easy – simply mix 1/3c melted butter, 1/3c hot sauce, 2 cloves garlic put thru a press, big pinch salt, and some ground black pepper. There are lots of other sauce possibilities – experiment!

Marinated roasted red peppers

July 3, 2011

These are a little bit of work, but so vastly better than the jarred peppers you can buy. Even when you’ve eaten all the peppers you’ll be sopping up the last oil with your bread, it’s that good.

Use the long Italian sweet red peppers (see photo). Make sure they’re nicely ripe and nice and “meaty.” The recipe can be doubled. Note that the amounts for ingredients are all estimates – it’s be subtly different each time and you’ll soon figure out just how you like it.

Take 4 or 5 large Italian red sweet peppers, washed and dried. Start a charcoal fire and get it as hot as you can—the coals should be glowing cherry red. Grill the peppers over the fire, as shown here.

Roasting red peppers

Roasting red peppers

Turn occasionally until they are charred black over almost the entire surface. This will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your fire. The ones in the photo have just started to cook.

Put the finished peppers in a brown paper bag and seal the top. Let sit for about 15 minutes – this steaming makes them easier to peel. Then, peel all the charred skin off—this is important because it tastes awful. Resist the temptation to rinse the peppers, you’ll just wash the flavorful juices off. We find the the combination of a sharp paring knife and a small wad of damp paper towel works well. There’s no doubt that the peeling is a bother, but it gets a lot easier once you’ve done it a few times. Then, remove and discard the stems and seeds and cut each pepper into pieces 2-3 inches in size (not critical).

You’ll need a small flat-bottomed container that will hold the peppers in 4-5 layers.

Have the following at hand:

6 anchovy fillets cut in small pieces
1 TB chopped fresh oregano
1 TB capers packed in brine, drained and rinsed
1 TB minced or thinly sliced  fresh garlic
salt, black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, about 2/3 c

Put a thin drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of the dish and cover with a single layer of pepper strips. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the anchovies, oregano, capers, and garlic over the peppers followed by a grinding of pepper, a small sprinkle of salt, and more oil. Here’s what it looks like partially assembled. Repeat additional layers until all the peppers and other ingredients are used up.

Marinated peppers

Putting the dish together

When finished, make sure everything is covered with oil. It doesn’t have to be swimming in oil, just covered. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. You can eat it now, but it’ll be better if it marinates for a couple of days in the fridge. Let come to room temp before serving.

Grilled leg of lamb with mustard

April 22, 2011

This is a great way to do lamb on the grill for a fancy picnic. Because you unroll the boned leg, it is not too thick and therefore does not take a long time to cook. Watch the heat – you don’t want the mustard coating to burn.

1 boneless leg of lamb
1 jar Gray Poupon or other brand grainy mustard
5 garlic cloves
2-3 TB olive oil
2 TB dried herbs du Provence (I use Penzey’s)
Salt, black pepper

Untie the leg and discard the netting. Trim off any excess fat (but leave the thin layer that’s on the outside). Put all other ingredients in the mini-blender and zap until well blended. Rub both sides of the lamb with the with this mixture, wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least several hours. Grill over medium-hot coals until medium rare in the thickest parts.

Pork and fennel burgers

April 21, 2011

These make a tasty change from the traditional beef hamburger. If you are grinding your own pork, use Boston butt because it has the right level of fat for juicy burgers. This makes 6 generous burgers, or 8 for the less-hungry.

2 lbs ground  pork
1 fennel bulb, chopped fine (about 3/4 c).
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 c minced onion (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Grind the meat. Mince the fennel. Peel the garlic and put thru a press. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. Form into 6 patties and cook on a grill or in a fry pan until just cooked thru – a touch of pink in the center is perfectly safe. Serve on toasted buns with lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.

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