Not Your Basic BBQ

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It’s true that hamburgers and hotdogs have long reigned as BBQ favorites, but times are a changing folks. These days, backyard grilling has reached a new level of sophistication, both in flavors and in the array of ingredients that are available.

Here in California, where weather permits us to grill well after our eastern friends have turned on the heat; flavors, textures and ole time favorites combine to turn bar-be-queuing on its head.

Even with our busy schedules, livestock shows and preparations for the new college student, we have spent more time this summer cooking on the grill than any other summer I can remember. We’ve been doing a lot of experimenting too. These nighttime grillings are not your standard steak and chicken faire. There’s the spicy Mandarin marinade with its minced fresh ginger and green onions that we use on lamb steaks and chops, the savory Bangkok spices rubbed into riblets and our, traditionally cold weather favorite, lemon garlic chicken has turned out to be as wonderful on the grill as it is in the oven.

We also found a new Cowboy BBQ sauce that has been great on beef. All these cook along side seasonal vegetables, corn and potatoes and are served with a variety of salads, from Asian Noodle Salad to 5-Color Slaw to our stand-by mixed green, pecan and blue cheese favorite.

It’s a relaxing way to spend an evening—standing over the grill while Brianne goes about her evening chores of feeding animals and working her show lambs. When we shift gears, and Brianne watches over the grill, I water the garden, pick flowers or just revel in the calm simplicity of our farm life. What a way to end the day…family, food and peace.

Try one of our favorite marinades or side dishes and ramp up your grilling nights.

Asian Marinade

4 lamb chops (loin, leg or shoulder)
1 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 scallion, sliced thin
½ can crushed pineapple

Combine all ingredients except chops. Place chops in a shallow dish and pour marinade over. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Heat grill and cook until chops are about medium.

Asian Noodle Salad

1 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
3 tbsp. sesame seeds
3 tbsp. sesame oil
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 pound spaghetti or linguine noodles
5 ounces shredded carrots
2 cups broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Se aside

Cook noodles according to directions. Rinse under cold water then drain well. Toss vegetables and dressing with noodles. Refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors meld.

5-Color Slaw

1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 small green cabbage, shredded
1/2 small purple cabbage, shredded
4 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut from cob
2 medium carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, cut into thin strips
6 medium green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup crunchy wontons or crispy chow-mein noodles


MAKE AHEAD: Whisk orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, and canola oil in small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine cabbage, corn kernels, carrots, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss again. Just before serving add the almonds and wontons or noodles

Cowboy Rub

1 cup kosher salt
¼ cup black pepper
½ cup garlic salt with parsley

Combine all ingredients until mixed well. Liberally sprinkle over steaks and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before grilling. Rub can be stored in an air tight container.

Cowboy BBQ Sauce

1-1/2 cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp. browning sauce
Cowboy Rub to taste

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Slather on steaks during the final 5 to 10 minutes of grilling. Refrigerate leftovers.

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