If You Can’t Take the Heat…Grill

Published on: June 10th, 2010

In a world of kitchen stores full of uni-taskers, people restrict themselves when it comes to grilling. But here, we explore the grill as a brilliant multitasker that fills the role of oven and range while imparting a beautiful smoky flavor to which no indoor method compares.

Choice Cuts:
When it comes to meat, a good butcher can make all the difference. Kristen and Rich Grass, owners of Herb’s Meats in Broomfield, often help customers choose the best possible cuts for the grill and for the occasion. “We always recommend kabobs—chicken and beef with lots of vegetables,” the Grass family said. But sometimes, only a steak will do. “All cuts of beef seem to do well on the grill. It really varies by taste and price. New Yorks are our favorite cut…they’re in the middle.”

Grill Gear:
The good folks at Karl’s Farm Dairy in Thornton know about more than just milk; they’ve got a wide selection of outdoor cookery products to get your summer nights smokin’. “We specialize in Traeger Wood Pellet Smokers, which we feel are terrific for all levels of experience,” said Daneen Rucki of Karl’s Dairy. Whether you want to start with the Lil’ Tex—“a pint-sized grill with a gallon cooking potential”—or you’re ready to move up to the stainless steel Traeger Deluxe with 646 square inches of internal cooking surface, there’s something out there for everyone.

Burned Out:
Heat still too much for you? Then let someone else do the cooking. Try the crispy duck confit with grilled fennel salad or pork shoulder with grilled figs at Black Cat in Boulder, or the grilled quail at Colterra in Niwot. Veggies get some love at The Empire in Louisville where they serve grilled asparagus and shirred egg (pictured) and at Magnolia in Lafayette where you can have grilled artichokes with meyer-lemon saffron aioli. And for a truly unique taste, stop into Centro Latin Kitchen and taste their grilled pineapple-infused tequila. Cheers!

Magic Marinades
These are marinades my son Hans and I have come up with for summer grilling. The recipes have always morphed depending on the ingredients available.—John Lehndorff

Sicilian Vegetable Marinade
Makes about 1 cup
4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
Zest from one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
Mix all ingredients or puree in food processor or blender for a few seconds. Marinate eggplant slices, whole cremini mushroom caps, halved roma tomatoes and zucchini slices before grilling as a side dish or for panini sandwiches. For a potato kebab side dish: Boil four small red potatoes for each person. Cool. Halve and soak in marinade for 1 hour. Place potatoes on skewers and grill on both sides until brown.

Sweet Hot Chicken Thigh Marinade
Makes about 3/4 cup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rice (or white wine) vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust heat to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Tenderize chicken by stabbing all over with a fork on both sides and soak in marinade. Cover with some plastic and refrigerate. Cook on a gas or charcoal grill to desired temperature. To use the leftover marinade as a sauce, bring it to a rolling boil for at least three minutes, strain and serve.

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