Hot Off The Grill
Hot off the grill
A guide to summer barbecuing
A female comedian once
noted that men are
willing to cook if thereís
danger involved. So it's
the perfect season for
guys to demonstrate
their cooking and
courage; just bring out
the barbecue and
Grilling isnít rocket science; no precise
timing or complicated techniques are
required. Hereís a guide to grilling
essentials that will have you throwing
shrimp (or burgers) on the barbie in no
using a simple
grill or a deluxe
gas version, the
charcoal briquettes for fuel and takes
about 45 minutes from lighting to
cooking; in a gas grill, propane heats
porous lava coals or metal bars, which
are ready in about 10 minutes.
Judge the heat of the coals by holding
your palm above the coals at the height
your food will be cooked. If you need to
remove your hand after two seconds, the
coals are hot; after three seconds,
theyíre medium-hot; and after four
seconds, theyíre medium.
If the coals are too hot for your food,
adjust the intensity by:
Moving the food to a cooler, outer
edge of the grill
Raising the grilling rack
Adjusting the vents (closing slightly
to reduce heat)
Redistributing the hot coals
Lowing the heat to medium on gas
Use a basting brush or nonstick vegetable
spray to lightly oil the grill rack.
Toss any of the following onto hot coals
to produce an aromatic smoke that
deliciously penetrates your grilled food:
well-soaked wood chips or chunks
of hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry,
soaked grapevine cuttings
dampened fresh herbs ó tarragon,
rosemary, basil, etc.
Wood and greens could clog the fuel line
in a gas grill. So place the soaked
aromatics on top of a piece of
heavy-duty aluminum foil or in a
disposable foil pan, poke some holes in
the bottom, and lay this on top of the
hot lava coals or grids.
Playing it safe
A few basic food and fire safety rules:
Set the grill out in the open away
from the house or low-hanging
Never leave an operating grill
Never add kerosene or gasoline to
the coals, and never add liquid
starter fluid to an already-burning
Use heavy-duty grilling mitts and
have a water-filled spray bottle
handy for flare-ups.
Once grilling is done, close the air
vents on a charcoal grill, replace
the cover and wait until the coals
have cooled completely before
emptying them out.
Donít use utensils or dishes that
have touched raw meat to serve
cooked food; bacteria from the raw
items could contaminate it. For the
same reason, cook food for at least
five minutes after brushing with
marinade that contained raw meat,
to kill any bacteria in the marinade.
So whatís for dinner? Here are tips for
some grill favorites:
Trim excess fat to ¼ inch and score the
fat to prevent curling. Sear both sides
quickly over hot coals, then grill
uncovered turning once with tongs. Brush
frequently with fresh marinade. For
medium doneness, grill a two-inch steak
10 to 15 minutes per side; a one-inch
steak should take six to nine minutes per
side. Donít pierce the meat with a fork;
you will lose the juices. To test for
doneness, press the steak with your
finger. If it feels firm, the steak is
well-done; if it is somewhat firm, then itís
medium; if it feels soft or spongy, the
steak is medium-rare to rare.
Sear both sides quickly over hot coals,
then grill uncovered over medium-hot
coals four to six minutes per side, turning
often with a spatula and brushing with
Thread marinated beef cubes (1 to 1½
inches) onto metal or soaked wooden
skewers. Place the cubes close together
for rare meat, farther apart for more
well-done. Sear all sides quickly over hot
coals, then grill over medium-hot coals,
turning and brushing frequently with fresh
marinade. Allow about eight minutes for
rare; 10 minutes for medium; 12 minutes
for well-done. (Grill marinated vegetables
on separate skewers instead of
alternating them with the beef; the
vegetables cook more quickly and will be
overdone by the time the meat is
First, partially bake them in a covered
dish in marinade in a 350 degree F oven
for about 45 minutes. Then grill over
medium-hot coals about 30 to 40
minutes, turning and basting occasionally
with reserved marinade. Or grill over
medium-hot coals using the indirect
method of grilling (pushing coals to the
outer edge, with ribs in a pan in center
and grill lid closed) for 1½ hours, turning
and basting occasionally with reserved
Grill marinated chops that are at least
one-inch thick so they wonít dry out.
Sear both sides quickly over hot coals,
then grill over medium-hot coals about 10
minutes per side, turning once with
tongs. Brush occasionally with fresh
Grill marinated chicken parts over
medium-hot coals, turning once with
tongs and brushing frequently with fresh
marinade until the chicken is no longer
pink and the juices run clear when
pierced. Begin with skin side down; for
skinless chicken, lightly oil rack. If grilling
assorted pieces of chicken, let the thighs
and legs cook for 15 minutes before
adding the breasts and wings. Estimated
Wings: 15 to 20 minutes
Breasts: 20 to 25 minutes
Boneless, skinless breasts: 10 to 15
Legs/thighs: 30 to 35 minutes
Thread marinated boneless chicken cubes
(1 to 1½ inches) onto metal or soaked
wooden skewers. Alternate, if desired
with marinated fresh vegetable chunks.
Grill over medium-hot coals eight to 10
minutes, turning and brushing frequently
with fresh marinade.
Brush fish frequently with reserved
marinade to keep it from drying out. As a
general guideline, allow 10 minutes grilling
ó five minutes per side ó for each inch
of thickness of steaks and whole fish.
Grill marinated steaks (tuna, salmon, etc.)
over hot coals, brushing with reserved
marinade frequently and turning once
with a spatula.
Place in a hinged wire basket and grill
over hot coals, brushing with reserved
marinade frequently and turning once. If
you donít have a basket, grill whole fish
as for steaks above.
Peel and devein large or jumbo shrimp,
then marinate 30 minutes. Grill over hot
coals on skewers or atop a grill screen.
Turn once and brush frequently with
reserved marinade until shrimp turn pink,
about eight minutes.
Place marinated fillets on top of two
squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Place sliced lemon or onion underneath
and on top of fillets. Double-fold the top
and sides to seal the packet and grill over
medium-hot coals, without turning, five
to eight minutes. Thick fillets can be
grilled as steaks.
Use a basket or grill screen to keep
smaller foods from slipping through the
Whole potatoes: Wrap in foil and cook
right in the coals until fork tender.
Corn on the cob: Shuck and grill
foil-wrapped, marinated corn over medium
coals, turning occasionally, 15 minutes or
until nicely browned. Or peel back husks,
remove corn silk, brush corn with
marinade, reposition husks and tie
together at the top with string. Then you
can either place the corn directly in the
coals or grill them over medium coals,
turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Eggplant, summer squash, green/red
pepper: Slice (lengthwise or horizontally)
and marinate 15 minutes. Grill over
medium coals, turning with a spatula and
brushing with marinade, until
crisp-tender: 10 to 12 minutes for
eggplant; four to eight minutes for
squash; and eight to 14 minutes for
peppers or until the skins blacken.
Tomatoes, red onion: Grill marinated
slices in a hinged wire basket, brushing
occasionally with reserved marinade and
turning once, three to four minutes per
Mushrooms: Grill marinated portobello,
porcini or other mushrooms over hot
coals, turning once and basting
occasionally with reserved marinade,
three to five minutes per side.
"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and
people, you might better stay home."
CHARCOAL-ROASTED BEETS AND
The flavor of these smoky roasted beets
spectacularly concentrated. Serve them
as a side dish; they're rather high
sweetness and make a good accompaniment
to duck, goose or pork.
6 small fresh beets, trimmed of
all but 1 inch of greens (about 1
1/4 pounds trimmed weight) and
2 medium red onions, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive
1/3 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to
1. Prepare a moderately hot charcoal
fire in a grill unit that has a cover (like a
Weber). Place the beets and red onions
in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and drizzle with
the olive oil. Place the skillet over
the fire, cover the grill unit, and roast the
vegetables at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours,
depending on the size of the vegetables. You
may have to leave the beets in a little
longer than the onions. The onions should be
soft to the touch, and a fork should
pierce the beets easily. Alternatively, you can
roast the beets in the skillet in a
2. Remove the vegetables from the skillet
with tongs. Add the stock, balsamic
vinegar, and 1 teaspoon thyme to the
skillet, place over high heat, and boil the
liquid, scraping the bottom of the skillet,
for about 4 minutes, or until it's dark,
glossy brown and syrupy. Season with
salt and pepper.
3. Peel the beets and onions when they're
cool enough to handle. Slice the beets into
julienne strips and the onions into
thin rings. Spoon the liquid over the onions and
beets, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon
thyme, and stir well to combine. Heat briefly
& Deluca Cookbook
The perfect starter, or add a green
salad and a glass of red wine
Makes 12 bruschette
1 1/4 pounds eggplant
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 round loaf of country bread
1 large garlic clove, cut
freshly ground sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces prosciutto, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons very finely chopped
1. Slice the eggplant into 12 rounds.
Sprinkle the salt over them, place them in a
colander, weight them, and let
sit over a bowl for 1 hour.
2. Prepare a charcoal fire. When
ready to cook, remove the eggplant slices from the
colander, and wipe off excess
moisture and salt with a towel. Brush each side of the
eggplant slices with the extra-virgin
olive oil. Grill them, turning once, for 10 to 15
minutes, or until they're brown
on the outside and soft on the inside. Reserve.
3. Cut the bread into 6 slices,
and halve the slices (each half slice should be a little
larger than the eggplant slices).
Brush very lightly with extra-virgin olive oil on both
sides, and grill the bread for
about 2 minutes, turning once. Remove from the fire,
and rub each slice on one side
with the cut clove of garlic. Turn that side up, and
brush it with a little more extra-virgin
4. When ready to serve, place a
slice of eggplant on a slice of bread, and spread
roughly with a knife. Top with
a little freshly ground sea salt and a little freshly
ground black pepper. Repeat with
all of the bread and eggplant. Cut the prosciutto
into slices that fit neatly over
the eggplant, and drape the slices over the 12
bruschette. Top with parsley,
Dean & Deluca Cookbook
Some vegetables need blanching first:
Artichokes: Trim medium-sized artichokes to their small, inner leaves,
quarter, trim spiky tops and remove fuzzy choke. Rub with half a
lemon. Blanch in salted, acidulated water until al dente, dry and
skewer. Brush with oil, mark over hot flame. Season and drizzle with
herb-infused extra virgin olive oil.
Asparagus: Boil in salted water until crisp-tender, then
drain and plunge into ice water. Dry
thoroughly. Double-skewer stalks side by side. Brush with
olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook
over a moderately hot fire, marking lightly. Remove skewers,
drizzle with a flavorful vinaigrette, or
lemon olive oil, minced preserved lemon and Champagne
Carrots: Choose slender, youngish ones, peel and blanch.
Rub with olive oil, mark lightly on the grill,
then serve with a white wine vinaigrette flecked with
fresh mint; or dress with orange oil with a
squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cumin and cayenne.
Leeks: Choose leeks no more than ½-inch in diameter.
Discard dark green leaves and trim root end.
Blanch and grill like asparagus, but without skewering.
Dress with balsamic vinaigrette or herb-infused
Some can take a direct char:
Eggplant: Set slim Italian eggplants directly on the grill
over a hot flame. Turn with tongs until skin is
charred all over and flesh is soft. (20 to 30 minutes).
Remove to glass or ceramic plate (juices turn
bitter on aluminum), cool slightly and peel. Mash flesh
and mix with finely minced garlic, salt, pepper,
extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and chopped capers.
Serve on grilled, garlic-rubbed bread.
Tomatoes: Treat like the eggplant, turning with tongs until
evenly browned and blistered. Peel, drizzle
with pungent extra virgin olive oil, torn basil and crumbled
feta or goat cheese. Delicious.
Others need a little wrapping to hold things together:
Radicchio: Cut small heads of radicchio in 2-inch wedges.
Trim away most of the core from each
piece, leaving just enough to keep wedges intact. Wrap
midsection of wedge with paper-thin pancetta
(keeping pancetta in a single layer), tuck pancetta ends,
brush with olive oil, season and grill over
Fruit, too, likes it hot (but be sure to scrub the grill
clean and oil it just before cooking):
Figs: Marinate ripe black figs in extra-virgin oil and
a splash of fig balsamic for 20 to 30 minutes.
Wrap in paper-thin prosciutto, season with salt and freshly
ground pepper. Grill over indirect flame
until warmed through. Brush whole black figs with orange
oil, sear quickly over moderate flame. Split
and set on a plate, add a dollop of mascarpone whipped
with cream and top with a swirl of Vincotto.
Peaches: Make a backyard Peach Melba. Split and pit ripe,
firm-fleshed peaches. Brush cut side with
clarified butter and dip in sugar. Caramelize over high
fire. Serve with a scoop of premium vanilla ice
cream over a puddle of raspberry syrup.
Tropical fruit: Brush fresh pineapple spears, peeled bananas
cut in quarters, and mango halves with
coconut milk and dip in brown sugar. Grill over high heat
(turning once), until caramelized. Serve with
a scoop of coconut or vanilla ice cream and top with rum-spiked
dulce de leche.