It’s hot! And if you can’t take the heat, why not get out of the kitchen? Firing up your outdoor grill instead of your oven and stove will help you keep your cool this summer.
BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY
There are places in our country where people use the words “grilling” and “barbecuing” interchangeably, as if they were the same thing. In the South, we know better. Barbecue is a specific style of food cooked with a particular method; it’s predominantly meat smoked on low heat for a long time to yield a heavenly flavor and texture, and our region is renowned for its collective barbecue skills.
A grill might be involved in barbecue, but the term “grilling” is much broader; it means the act of cooking anything at any temperature for any amount of time in or on any kind of grill — gas or charcoal, large or small. And in the South, we’re pretty good at this technique too.
We even have a “grilling season.” We love to play with fire, and oddly enough, especially when the outside temps are rivaling those of our grill grates. Summer is definitely the time of year we head to our decks and patios to “grill out.” Perhaps it’s because while it may be toasty in the backyard, at least there’s fresh air (an actual breeze if we’re lucky), and that’s preferable to the swelter a hot oven or stovetop can cause in our kitchens.
On a summer afternoon or evening, you can open plenty of Alabama grill lids and find the usual suspects like hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks and chicken breasts sizzling and searing to perfection. But the options for cooking over an open flame are limitless. If you can eat it, you can probably cook it on a grill.
Gadgets like grill baskets and skewers mean you can confidently grill veggies, fish and shrimp. Some genius stuck an opened beer can in a whole chicken and stood it up, creating a wonderful way to roast a bird sans indoor oven. You can even grill up some dessert. How about some peaches, sliced in half, thrown interior-side down on a blazing hot grill to caramelize the natural sugars? Serve these warm, soft bites with a drizzle of honey and homemade vanilla ice cream, and you’ll definitely have requests for seconds.
If your grilling menu is currently stuck in a burger rut, find inspiration in this issue’s reader-submitted grilling recipes.
Kathy Stewart, Central Alabama EC
Kathy Stewart loves to cook, bake and grill and finds that central Alabama’s climate is perfectly suited to grilling almost all year long. “With our region having little to no really cold weather, we even grill in some of our winter months,” she said. And with so much grilling, she’s always looking for new things to put on the flame, so she modified a stuffed pork chop recipe she’d had for years to create her Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops. “I love stuffed pork chops, so I modified an old recipe and used prosciutto with garlic, rosemary and oregano, and, then grilled the chops instead of baking them.” She says the flavor is superb, but so is the aroma. “The smell of the prosciutto, garlic and rosemary is wonderful,” she says. “They are very easy to prepare and will definitely add variety to your grilling.”
4 boneless pork loin chops,
1 and 1/4 -inch thick
4 ounces prosciutto, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Cook prosciutto in a medium skillet for 5 to 10 minutes. Once crispy, add in 2 teaspoons rosemary, oregano and garlic. Cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Set aside. Trim fat from pork chops and create a pocket by cutting the side of each chop. Spoon in prosciutto mixture and press down lightly on chops to secure filling. Brush chops with olive oil and season with pepper and remaining rosemary. Preheat grill. Place chops on a lightly-oiled grill grate and cook over indirect medium-high heat for 35-40 minutes. Turn chops once. Remove from grill and serve.
1/2 cup olive oil
5 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound asparagus
1/2 pound carrots, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped or sliced
2 medium squash
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Place 3 tablespoons of this marinade in a large zip lock bag. Add veggies; shake bag to coat. Marinate 2 hours at room temperature. Transfer veggies to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack. Grill covered over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until crisp tender, turning occasionally. Place vegetables on a large serving plate and drizzle with remaining marinade.
Misty Allbright Roberson, Cullman EC
2 slabs of ribs
1 teaspoon mustard
½ cup steak sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup light brown sugar
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until sugar is dissolved then spread all over ribs. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Cook on a grill until golden brown.
Judith Lamar, Central Alabama EC
2 salmon fillets
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon orange juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground pepper
Combine all ingredients and pour over salmon. Let sit 15 minutes to 2 hours. Cook on cedar planks [available at many grocery stores] on grill for 15 minutes over medium heat.
Sue Robbins, Coosa Valley EC
Grilled Lemon Chicken
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons thyme
In a small bowl, combine salt, lemon peel, thyme and a little pepper. Spray grill with cooking spray and heat coals. Sprinkle seasoning mixture over chicken breasts. Grill chicken for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Turn once during cooking.
Heather Cline, Tallapoosa River EC
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Oct: Cast Iron Cooking | July 12
Nov: Apples | August 9
Dec: Nontraditional Holiday Food | Sept 13
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