Grilled Margarita Shrimp

I just bought some new grill plates and tested them out with Margarita Shrimp. The nice thing is that you don’t have to marinate shrimp all day or overnight. It only takes a couple of hours and you’re go to go. While the shrimp marinates, you can be busy drinking margaritas. One of our family favorites is Eric’s Avocado Margarita. Yes, I know it sounds weird, but once you’ve had one there is no turning back!




Grilled Margarita Shrimp

Serves 4-6

2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 Tbs triple Sec
2 Tbs lime juice
zest of one lime

Combine all ingredients, except shrimp, in a medium mixing bowl. Add shrimp, cover and let marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Remove shrimp and discard marinade. Thread shrimp onto skewers and grill for 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from grill and serve immediately.


Marinade for Kabobs

For Valentine’s Day, I bought my husband a bag of Hardwood Briquettes from Trader Joe’s. Yes, I know, very romantic!  Unlike most of the charcoal on the market, Trader Joe’s 100% All Natural Hardwood Briquettes is made with 100% hardwood that’s sustainably grown and harvested. Most conventional charcoal is loaded with additives. These briquettes have only two ingredients: natural hardwood and cornstarch. It produces very little ash, and since the resulting ash is made up of calcium carbonate and potassium, you can use it as compost for your garden. It also burns longer than most, and lends excellent flavor to grilled food. (Your welcome Trader Joe’s for the free plug!)

I hate going out to dinner on Valentines’ Day. It’s one big scam – over priced, mediocre, prix fixe meals all with a “complimentary” glass of cheap champagne. Ditto New Year’s eve and Mother’s Day. Though on a side note, Mother’s Day is the best day to golf. You’ve got the whole course to yourself!

Anyway, I will stop ranting. I marinated some beef for 24 hours to make beef kabobs. They were delicious.


Marinade for Kabobs

(Beef, Pork, Lamb and Chicken)

1½ cups oil
¾ cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dry parsley flakes
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper ( or to taste)
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 small green onions, chopped (optional)

Put all ingredients into a blender (except the green onions, if using add them in after blending). Blend for 30-40 seconds. Mix in in green onions.

This recipe makes 3-1/2 cups of marinade, but may be stored in the refrigerator tightly covered in a glass container for up to 3 weeks.

Note – marinate the beef, pork or lamb for 8 hours or up to 24 hours chicken up to 8 hours.

Bourbon Marinated Flank Steak

Flank steak is one of our favorite meats to grill. This one is marinated in bourbon. It was a huge success and we will be adding this to our repertoire. The other wonderful marinade is my brother-in-law, Russell’s Flank Steak, which is also a big crowd pleaser.


Bourbon Flank Steak

Serves 6

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
3 Tbs packed brown sugar
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (2-lb) flank steak

Add to marinade while steak is on the grill:
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs bourbon

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zipper-style plastic bag, mixing well. Add the steak; seal bag securely, removing as much air as possible, and place in a large bowl. Marinate for 8 hours or overnight in refrigerator, turning occasionally.

Remove steak from marinade, reserving marinade.

Grill, uncovered, over medium-hot coals (350* to 400*F / 175* to 205*C) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until desired doneness, basting occasionally with reserved marinade.

Add the remaining marinade to a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce by half, then add 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 Tablespoon of bourbon. Remove from heat and serve with the flank steak.

To serve, slice steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

Chicken Under Bricks with Sassy BBQ Sauce

Weber grills published many books on grilling. I have three of them.  This recipe is from Weber’s Real Grilling.  My husband, Eric, made this flattened chicken. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the foil wrapped bricks on the chicken.  Also, the Sassy BBQ Sauce is tangy and delicious.



Chicken Under Bricks

Serves 4 to 6

1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 whole chicken, about 5 pounds, excess fat removed
Vegetable oil
1 recipe sassy barbecue sauce, see recipe below

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.

Place the chicken, breast side down, on a cutting board. Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, cut along each side of the backbone and remove it. Open the chicken like a book. Using a sharp knife, make a half-inch-deep incision between the breasts and flatten the chicken as much as possible. For even cooking, make a half-inch-deep incision in each joint between the drumsticks and thighs. Remove and discard the wing tips.

Season the chicken all over with the rub.

Place the chicken, skin side down, over indirect high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of a baking sheet with the oil. Place the baking sheet on top of the chicken and weight it down with bricks wrapped in foil (or a cast-iron pan). Grill until golden brown on the edges, 30 to 35 minutes.

Using pot holders, carefully remove the hot bricks and the baking sheet. Using a wide spatula, carefully release the chicken from the grate, being careful not to tear the skin, move it over direct medium heat and grill for 5 minutes, then turn and grill an additional 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Serve warm with the barbecue sauce.

Sassy Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs light brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, white wine vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, Tabasco sauce, garlic powder and black pepper with half a cup of water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Grilled Pineapple with Rum Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream

Here is a great summer dessert recipe. Grilling fruit is perfect so easy to prepare. By grilling it, the water and sugar in the fruit concentrate the flavors by reducing the water and caramelizing the natural sugars. Fruits like apples, pears, and pineapples, which are hard, are the easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture while cooking. Softer fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums and mangoes will become soft and mushy if overcooked.


Grilled Pineapple with Rum Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream

Serves 8

1 (3 to 4 lb) pineapple
Cooking spray
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rum
1 pt light vanilla ice cream

Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple, peel and cut it crosswise into 8 rings, about 1/2-inch each. Use a spoon or apple corer to carve out the center core of each ring.

Spray a large grill pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Grill the pineapple, in 2 or 3 batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until it is nicely brown and grill marks have appeared. (You can also grill this on an outdoor grill sprayed with cooking spray before being heated.)

While the last batch of pineapple cooks, heat the butter, sugar and rum in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Place a pineapple ring on each plate, scoop 1/4 cup of ice cream into the center of the ring, and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of sauce on top.

Fennel, Pepper & Mozzarella Salad

Last night, my husband, Eric made this delicious and slightly unusual salad. It’s from the Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire cookbook.  He also grilled the peppers while he was grilling the fennel.


Fennel, Pepper & Mozzarella Salad

Serves 6

3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp anchovy paste
1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 medium fennel bulbs, 8 to 10 oz each, stalks and fronds removed, with the root end intact
2 roasted red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup pitted black olives, rinsed, and roughly chopped
3 Tbs roughly chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients.

Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise, through the stem, into 2 wide, flat halves. Lightly brush the halves on all sides with some of the dressing.

In a large bowl combine the remaining salad ingredients.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Brush the cooking grates clean.

Grill the fennel halves, cut sides down, over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly charred but not burned, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the fennel over and grill for another 3 minutes, then move them over indirect heat. Cook over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until crisp-tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the fennel from the grill and let cool.

When cool enough to handle, cut away and discard the hard, triangular core of each half. Cut the remaining fennel into 1/2-inch pieces. Add them to the bowl with the salad ingredients. Add as much of the remaining dressing as you like to moisten the salad. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Edamame on the Grill

Edamame on the Grill – Who knew?

I love eating edamame as a snack with drinks before a meal.  There is something so satisfying about them.  Who knew you could make the on the grill?!

Edamame packs a powerful punch when it comes to nutritional content. It is high in phytoestrogens, a natural plant estrogen. A 100 gram serving (1/3 ounce or about 35 pods) of the beans only, not the pods, has 125 calories pack with 12 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates, and only 3.5 grams of fat. It is rich in calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, phosphorus and is a good source of vitamin A.  They make a great snack fo people watching their carb intake and they appeal to those looking for a high protein snack.

Edamame on the Grill

1 lb bag frozen edamame, thawed
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp salt

Place the edamame in the center of a 3 foot long piece of heavy duty aluminium foil that is folded in half lengthwise. Drizzle with the soy sauce and sprinkle with salt. Fold one end of the foil over the other and seal the sides closed.

Preheat the grill to medium hot. Place the foil packet directly on the grate and grill for about 5 minutes. Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Mixture the edamame to combine the soy sauce and salt and serve.

Japanese Style BBQ Baby Back Ribs

This is a Japanese version of an American classic. This recipe breaks tradition by braising the ribs until they’re tender, then grilling. This way, you’ll get both fall-off-the-bone tenderness and nice caramelization. Save the braising liquid; it cooks down into a phenomenal barbecue sauce.

Japanese Style BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Serves 4

2 racks baby back ribs (about 5 to 6 lbs)
1 whole unpeeled bulb garlic, halved horizontally across the mid-section
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
½ cup tomato puree
1 cup sake
2 Tbs rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
3 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs red miso
½ Tbs siracha sauce
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 Tbs sesame seeds, for accent

Cut each rack of baby back ribs in half, which will yield 4 portions of 5 to 6 ribs each. To a large stockpot, add the ribs, 6 cups water, garlic, onion, carrot, tomato puree, sake, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, miso, tobanjan, and peppercorns and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat so the liquid gently simmers. Remove any scum or oil that floats to the surface. Cover the pot and cook until the ribs become tender, about 1 hour.

Remove the ribs from the pot and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid. To make the marinade, bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high heat and boil until it reduces by half and becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to come to room temperature. Transfer the liquid to the jar of a blender, cover, and pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Pass the liquid through a fine-meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl and discard any solids caught in the strainer. Set the marinade aside.

Preheat a grill to hot. Grill the ribs for about 4 minutes, flipping once. When the ribs are browned and sizzling, brush the marinade on top. Grill for about 2 more minutes, flipping 2 or3 times, and brushing on more marinade after each turn. Let the ribs rest for 2 minutes. Accent with sesame seed and serve.

Spicy Hoisin & Sesame Glazed Corn

A Versatile Sauce

This sauce/glaze is very versatile and can be basted on corn, eggplant, bok choy, chicken, buffalo wings, ribs, meatballs, hot dogs, pork, salmon, etc.

Spicy Hoisin & Sesame Glazed Corn

Serves 8

¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup honey
2 Tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs lime juice
8 ears corn, husked and cut in half crosswise
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
½ to 1 serrano chile, minced
2 green onions, sliced thinly

Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Mix together hoisin, honey, soy sauce, and lime juice.

Grill corn, turning often and basting with glaze, until glaze is caramelized and grill marks start to appear, about 10 minutes.

Transfer corn to a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds, chile, and green onions.

Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Regional BBQ

The town of Santa Maria, California, is famous for its delicious grilled tri-tip. I know that tri-tip is a west coast cut of beef. In the east you could buy a triangle roast, sirloin tip roast or bottom sirloin.  Truth be told, I actually put it in the crock pot due to lack of gas in my grill.

Santa Maria style beans is the classic side dish for the tri-tip. Santa Maria style beans are traditionally made using pinquito beans. The pinquito bean, a small pink bean that retains its firm texture even after long slow cooking, is unique to the Santa Maria Valley but any dried bean will work for this great barbecue side dish.

The history of Santa Maria Barbecue dates back to the early 1800s, when the mainstay of the Early California economy was cattle and America’s first cowboys, the colorful vaqueros, held large beef barbecues at the rancho following every cattle roundup.
The only secret of the Santa Maria Barbecue is its simplicity — no special sauces or magic ingredients. It consists of thick cuts of beef, seasoned with nothing but salt, pepper, and garlic salt, and cooked over Santa Maria Valley red oak coals. It’s all served with toasted sweet French bread to sop up the natural juices from the serving pan.

You can actually buy the pre-marinated Santa Maria tri tip at Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy.
You can order the spices and beans here.

Grilled Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Serves 6

2 to 2 1/2 lb beef tri-tip roast
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 cloves crushed garlic

Combine the black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub on to all surfaces of the tri-tip. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Remove and let sit out for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Add the Dijon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and crushed garlic to a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until emulsified.

Prepare your charcoal or gas barbecue grill. Place the tri-tip on the grill and brush with the oil and vinegar mixture. Turn every 3-4 minutes, basting generously each time. Grill for 25-30 minutes for medium-rare (internal temp of 135 degrees F.). The outside of the roast will get very dark and develop a charred crust, this is desired and one of the signature characteristics of this barbecue recipe.

Remove the tri-tip from the grill to a large platter. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing in 1/4″ thick pieces across the grain. Serve as you would any barbecued beef, but in California this is often served with tortillas and salsa.  See recipe for Santa Maria Style beans below….