Mouth-watering dishes inspired by summer.
Summertime is the right time to fire up the grill! Don’t wait for the weekend, any night of the week is the perfect time to get started.
Dry-seasoning combinations save prep time, so keep them on hand for both meats and veggies. To make delectable baby-back ribs, pat ribs dry and coat both sides with rib rub. Place in the smoker for at least 6 hours. Enhance the flavor of the meat by putting coffee in the water pan. The sugar in the rib rub will melt and make a crunchy caramelized coating.
Pat it dry and coat both sides with an even mixture of salt and pepper, making sure to rub into the meat. This tenderizes the meat as it cooks. Place the steak on a grill set on high, immediately reduce the heat to medium. Cook approximately 10 minutes on one side, turning only once, then cook 5 minutes on the other side. Adjust cooking times based on how you like your steak. Preheating the grill to high helps steak sear on the outside without overcooking.
Sprinkle chicken pieces (breasts, drumsticks, wings, etc.) with salt and pepper, then toss in a bowl with your favorite marinade. An easy one is to whisk together a combination of 1 cup orange juice, ½ cup honey and a tablespoon of Dijon. Spray your grill grates before adding the chicken, to prevent sticking, then baste the chicken during cooking to keep it from drying out. Do not baste the chicken with the same marinade used on the raw chicken, so save some for basting.
Shrimp can be threaded through a skewer, but if you put vegetables on the same skewer, give them a head start. Also, if using wooden skewers, soak them in water at least 30 minutes before using, to prevent burning. There’s no need to baste the shrimp while cooking. Instead, have a combination of melted butter, whole garlic cloves and lime juice ready as a dipping sauce when done.
Whole fish fillets do well on the grill, but you need a cast iron pan to cook them in, or the fish might fall apart. Coat the pan with a little butter, then sprinkle the bottom of the pan with your favorite seafood seasoning. Add the fish fillets and baste with additional butter, a drizzle of lemon or lime juice, and seasonings. Cook until the fish is almost done before turning. Don’t turn more than once, or the fish may fall apart.
Corn on the cob can be prepped ahead of time, and placed on the top rack of the grill while the meat cooks on the lower rack. Coat the cob on all sides with mayo, sprinkle your favorite corn seasoning on it (salt, seafood seasoning, chili lime seasoning, etc.), then loosely wrap in foil. Thick slices of eggplant can be cooked directly on the racks. Serve with balsamic vinegar. Bell peppers are great when cooked on the grill — the char on the outside makes them even sweeter.
Slice peaches or plums in half lengthwise, remove the pits, then lay cut-side-down on the grill. If your grill is preheated, the fruit will caramelize in 1-2 minutes. As soon as it is removed from heat, place the cut side in brown sugar, then flip over and put back on the grill just long enough for the sugar to melt. Serve warm with ice cream. Fresh pineapple should be cut thickly, and then placed in a grill pan coated with cooking spray. Cook on both sides until golden brown. Pineapple will caramelize while cooking, without any additional sugar. It is a great way to dress up angel food cake or pound cake, and also is very good on pecan cobbler.
Snacks and Drinks
You’ll want your guests to have ample snacks and drinks while waiting. Add ginger ale and fruit juice to iced tea, which can be served to the kids while your favorite adult beverage can be added for older guests. Snack foods, such as pineapple strawberry salsa, pretzel bites, or even a fresh veggie platter with salad dressing as a dip, are good choices for snacking.
Grilling doesn’t need to be fancy, but it definitely gives your family, and guests, a new flavor profile for foods normally cooked indoors. So, dust off the apron and barbecue tongs, and show off your grilling skills.
– Tiffany Hughes, an Acworth resident and is volunteer coordinator/scheduler for the Booth Western Art Museum.
Hughes Rib Rub
• 2 tbs. Chili powder
• 2 tbs. ground red pepper
• 2 tbs. garlic powder
• 2 tbs. Hungarian paprika
• 2 tbs. lime zest
• 3 tbs. onion powder
• 2 cups brown sugar
• Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk seasonings together in a medium bowl, then add the brown sugar, a little at a time. Sprinkle salt and pepper last (no more than 2 tsp. each). Store seasoning in an airtight jar. Makes approximately 3 cups (enough to cover one rack of ribs).
NOTE: The flavor of the ingredients will strengthen the longer the rub sits, so be sure to taste before adding to meat.
• 2 cups chopped pecans
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 6 tbs. butter, divided
• 2 cups pancake mix
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 cups milk
• Dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pecans in a small skillet over medium heat, and add the brown sugar and 2 tbs. butter. Cook just until sugar and butter have melted. Pour pecan mixture into bottom of 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together pancake mix, white sugar and milk. Add a dash of salt. Whisk until no lumps remain, then pour over the pecan mixture. Cut remaining 4 tbs. butter into small pieces and dollop across the top of the batter. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the top is set and no liquid bubbles up on the sides. Serve warm with ice cream and grilled fruit, or serve cold with whipped cream.
Strawberry Pineapple Salsa
• 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
• 1 ½ cups diced fresh pineapple
• 2 Roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 sweet onion, diced
• 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (Remove seeds if heat isn’t your thing!)
• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 tbs. lime juice, or more to taste
• Dash of salt
In a large bowl, combine strawberries and pineapple, then stir in tomatoes and onion. Add jalapeno, and stir well to combine. Finish with the fresh cilantro, lime juice and salt. Store in fridge until ready to serve.
NOTE:This is fantastic over salad greens, in fish or shrimp tacos, served over grilled chicken, or as an appetizer with tortilla chips.
• 2 cups self-rising flour
• 1 ¼ cups Greek yogurt
• 1 cup warm water
• 1 ½ tbs. baking soda
• 1 tbs. sea salt, or more to taste
• 2 tbs. butter, melted
Mix together the flour and yogurt, making sure there’s enough flour in the mixture so that the dough isn’t too wet to handle. In a small bowl, stir baking soda into water until dissolved. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough into hands and roll slightly, then dip into soda water. Place on a greased cookie sheet, then press a few pieces of sea salt on top of each bite. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the outside of the pretzels are shiny. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.