Enjoy the smokey flavors of Labor Day

This distinctive taste of summer is ideal this holiday weekend as grilling season draws to a close


Labor Day weekend is an ideal time to grill. After all, for many people it marks the end of summer but the weather is still warm enough to make it easy to grill.

Of course, grilled food is delicious year-round, but there’s something about the smell and taste of foods cooked over fire that evokes summer.

Ignoring the debate over whether cooking foods over a gas or charcoal-fueled fire is best, there’s little question that the smoke adds a special flavor to foods.

All types of food, from appetizers to desserts and everything in between, can be made on a grill. Vegetables, fruits, meats and cakes can all benefit from a trip to the grill.

There are three basic ways to cook on a grill:
• Using direct heat – For grilling chops, burgers, tenderloins and kabobs, use direct heat. Place the meat on the cooking grate over the coals. The hottest heat will be found above the center of the coals.  
    For gas grilling, turn all burners to high.  After preheating, adjust the temperature according to your recipe. Place food on the cooking grate and close the lid. Turn food according to the recipe.
• Using indirect heat – For roasts and ribs, use indirect heat. Place the coals on one side of the charcoal grate and a drip pan filled with a small amount of water on the other side. Or, arrange the coals on both sides of the grill, with the drip pan in the middle.
    On a gas grill, after preheating, turn off burners directly below the food. The burners on both sides of the food should be adjusted to equal amounts of heat, medium or low, as indicated in the recipe. The heat circulates inside the grill, so turning the food is not necessary.
• Using a combination of the two – It is used to sear foods before cooking them slowly by the indirect method. Place food directly over coals for a few minutes, then move them to the center or other side of the cooking grate to complete cooking.This method is good for extra-thick chops and larger tenderloins, which will be nicely browned on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.

When grilling, trim visible fat from meat and poultry to help prevent flare-ups.

Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the side of the meat to check if it is done. Thermometers should penetrate the thickest part or center of the meat and not touch bone, fat or the grill.

Use a long-handled spatula to turn meats, and don’t press, flatten or pierce the meat or flavorful juices will be lost.

Following are recipes from the website www.delish.com.



Beef and Broccoli Kabobs

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice of 2 limes, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 pound sirloin steak, cut into cubes
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Green onions, for garnish
    In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and ginger. Add steak and toss until coated. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to  two hours.
    In another bowl, toss broccoli florets with olive oil.
    Skewer steak and broccoli, then season all over with pepper. Grill over medium-high heat eight minutes, turning occasionally, until steak is medium.
    Squeeze with lime, garnish with green onions and serve.
    Makes four servings.


Grilled Ranch Potatoes

2 pounds baby potatoes, halved
1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 packet ranch seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Ranch dressing, for drizzling
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
    In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, lemon juice and ranch seasoning. Season with salt and pepper.
    Thread potatoes on skewers and grill over medium heat for 15 minutes, until tender and lightly charred.
    Drizzle with ranch dressing and garnish with chives.
    Makes eight servings.


Campfire Cobbler

6 peaches, chopped
2 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
2-1/3 cups biscuit mix
1/2 cup milk
    In a large resealable plastic bag, combine fruit, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Seal tightly and shake bag until fruit is evenly coated.
    In another large resealable plastic bag, combine biscuit mix and milk. Seal and mix, kneading with your hands, until completely combined.
    Butter a large cast-iron skillet. Add fruit mixture, then top with biscuit topping. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
    Cover with foil and cook over a campfire about 50 minutes, until biscuits are no longer doughy and fruit is warm and bubbly.
    Let cool 20 minutes, then serve.
    Makes six servings.


Grilled Corn Salsa

For salsa:
5 ears yellow corn, husks removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sliced basil
For dressing:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
    Brush corn with olive oil and season with salt. Grill eight minutes, until kernels begin to char. Let cool slightly, then slice kernels off the cob with a knife.
    In a large bowl, combine corn, avocado, tomatoes, onion and basil.
    In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime, garlic and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture over salsa and stir until ingredients are fully coated.
    Serve with tortilla chips.
    Makes six servings.


Bang Bang Corn

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sriracha
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Juice of 2 limes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ears corn, husks removed
Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish
    In a medium bowl, mix together chili sauce, butter, Sriracha, garlic and lime juice.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
    Slather butter all over corn.
    Grill corn over medium-high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning and basting with remaining butter occasionally, until tender and charred. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
    Makes four servings.


Grilled Pizza Bread

1 large loaf, halved
1 15-ounce jar pizza sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/3 cup pepperoni
1/4 cup black olives
1/2 red onion, cut into thin half moons
1 green bell pepper, chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    Scoop out the middle from both bread halves to create shallow boats. Spread pizza sauce onto each half, then top with mozzarella, pepperoni, black olives, red onion, green bell pepper and red pepper flakes.
    Wrap bread loosely with aluminum foil and place over campfire or hot grill and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the crust is toasted.
    Let cool about 10 minutes, then slice and serve.
    Makes six servings.



Grilled Pineapple Sundaes

4 pineapple slices
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Dulce de leche
2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
    Grill pineapple over high heat about one minutes per side, until charred. Top each pineapple slice with vanilla ice cream, then drizzle with dulce de leche or caramel. Top with shredded coconut and serve immediately.
    Makes four servings.



Grilled Watermelon

Juice and zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small watermelon, cut into 1-inch thick wedges
Freshly torn mint leaves, for serving
Flaky sea salt, for serving
    In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice and zest, honey, and olive oil.
    Brush lime juice mixture all over watermelon wedges and place on grill over medium-high heat. Cook about two minutes per side, until grill marks form and fruit softens slightly.
    Sprinkle with mint and flaky sea salt and serve.
    Makes five servings.


Caprese Steak

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 6-ounce filet mignon or 4 large pieces of sirloin
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
Kosher salt
4 slices mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
    In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, olive oil, dried thyme and dried oregano. Pour over steak and let marinate 20 minutes.
    Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
    Grill steak over high heat four to five minutes per side, then top with mozzarella and tomatoes. Cover grill and let sit for about two minutes, until cheese is melty. Top with basil before serving.
    Makes four servings.



Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Sriracha Slaw

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons sriracha
4 medium tortillas
    In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, cilantro, and one-third of the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Place shrimp in a baking dish and pour mixture over the top. Toss until coated and let marinate 20 minutes.
    In a large bowl, toss cabbage with mayonnaise, remaining lime juice and Sriracha. Season with salt.
    Skewer shrimp and grill over high heat for three minutes per side, until charred. Grill tortillas one minute per side, until charred.
    Serve shrimp in tortillas with slaw.
    Makes four servings.

Honey Soy Pork Chops

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes
4 pork chops
    Mix together honey, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add pork chops, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to two hours.
    Heat grill to medium-high heat, then cook pork chops eight minutes per side, until seared and cooked through. Let rest five minutes before serving.
    Makes four servings.


California Grilled Chicken

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices mozzarella
4 slices avocado
4 slices tomato
2 tablespoons freshly sliced basil, for garnish
Balsamic glaze, for drizzling
    In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, honey, oil and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken and marinate 20 minutes.
    Heat grill to medium-high. Oil grates and grill chicken about eight minutes per side, until charred and cooked through.
    Top chicken with mozzarella, avocado and tomato. Cover grill and cook two minutes, until melty.
    Garnish with basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
    Makes four servings.



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