Back Yard BBQ
Tired of grilling the same old burgers and dogs? Try these four fantastic recipes for a mouth-watering barbecue banquet.
By Eric Martin
If you want to hang out with friends or family and have fun in the backyard, a summer barbecue can help make it happen. All too often, however, the barbecued fare is the least interesting part of the day. There are only so many ways to slather pre-made sauce on burgers, right?
Never fear, we’ve assembled four fantastic dishes that will bring new life to your backyard barbecues. By tossing aside the frozen meat patties, tube steaks and even the chicken and foil-wrapped potatoes, we guarantee that all who feast on your meals be back for more.
Grilled Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
Whether or not you’re a vegetarian, portobello mushrooms make for a filling, tasty treat. The mushrooms in this recipe, from Rick Rodgers’ Barbecues 101 (Broadway Books, 2001) work either as a side dish or as a sandwich on crusty bread with tomatoes, grilled peppers and a touch of goat cheese.
Preparation time: 20-15 min (including marinating time)
Cooking: 5 min
Â·1/2 cup hearty red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
Â·1/6 cup balsamic vinegar
Â·1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 3/4 tsp dried
Â·1/2 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 3/4 tsp dried
Â·1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 3/4 tsp dried
Â·1 garlic clove, crushed under a knife
Â·1/4 tsp salt
Â·1/4 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
Â·1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Â·6 large portobello mushrooms
Â·Additional salt to taste
Step 1. If you are using a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill, let it burn until the coals are covered with white ash. Or, if you’re cooking with gas, preheat on high.
Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the wine, vinegar, rosemary, sage, basil, garlic, salt, and red pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil to create a Napa Red Wine Marinade.
Step 3. Remove the mushroom stems. Wipe the caps with a moist paper towel to remove dirt. In a large glass dish, combine the mushroom caps and the marinade. Let stand, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4. Lightly oil the cooking rack. Place the mushrooms on the grill and cover. Cook, turning once, until tender (about five minutes). Season with salt and serve hot.
Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 9g fat, 10g carbs, 3g protein
Sesame Pork Balls
Mix, compact, cook – it doesn’t get more straightforward than that. The sesame seeds in this recipe from Company’s Coming: Grilling (Company’s Coming Cookbooks, 2000) aren’t essential, but the visual and textural touch they provide make them a nice addition to this simple dish.
Preparation time: 5-10 min
Cooking: 16-18 min
Servings: 4 Skewers
Â·1 lb lean ground pork
Â·1 large egg, fork-beaten
Â·1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Â·2 garlic cloves, minced
Â·1/3 cup sliced green onion
Â·1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Â·1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Â·1/2 tsp salt
Â·Freshly ground pepper, sprinkle
Â·1/2 cup sesame seeds
Â·4 long double-pronged metal skewers
Step 1. Combine the first nine ingredients in medium bowl until well mixed. Form into 16 balls, about 1-3/4 inches wide. Roll balls in sesame seeds.
Step 2. Preheat a lightly sprayed electric grill to medium-high. Push 4 balls onto each skewer. Cook for 16 to 18 minutes, turning frequently to cook all sides (until balls are no longer pink inside.) Serve while hot.
Sweet Potato Rounds with Honey Butter
Preparation time: 5-10 min
Cooking: 14-18 min
Â·2 (1 lb) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
Â·1/4 cup honey
Â·1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
Step 1. Preheat grill to 400F (205C). Pare out bad spots and cut the potatoes crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices, leaving the skin on. Arrange the slices on the grill. Grill eight to 10 minutes, or until grill marks show on the flesh.
Step 2. Meanwhile, mix together honey and butter in a small bowl until combined. Turn sweet potatoes and spread with honey butter. Grill second side for six to eight minutes or until fork tender. Spread with honey butter and grill until bubbly.
Nutrition per serving: 150 calories, 8g fat, 21g carbs, 0.5g protein
Grilled Jicama with Lime Chile Rub
Preparation time: 30-60 min
Cooking: 15 min
Â·1-1/2 pounds jicama (1 large or 2 medium)
Â·1/4 cup good quality olive oil, preferably Spanish
Â·1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Â·1 tbsp crushed caribe chile, plus additional for garnish (optional)
Step 1. Preheat grill to 400F (205C). Peel jicama and cut from top to bottom into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Step 2. Combine olive oil, lime juice, and one tablespoon chile in a large bowl. Add jicama slices and marinate 30 to 60 minutes, spooning marinade over tops of slices and turning occasionally.
Step 3. Arrange jicama slices on the grill and cook for seven minutes. Turn and grill another five minutes or brown as desired. They will remain crisp. To serve, sprinkle with additional caribe for garnish.
Nutrition per serving: 160 calories, 9g fat, 19g carbs, 1.5g protein
About the Author: W. Eric Martin writes about health, computers, and board games from his home in southeastern Massachusetts. His fiction has appeared in Speak, Nexus, Art Times, and The MacGuffin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.