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Stepping Out

Gather by the grill

It's the season for some 'cue


Desspite the recent ups and downs of the weather, summertime’s arrival shortly is when the grillin’ is easy.

If the idea of longer, warmer days has you eager to reach for the tongs, it’s time to get your grilling game on before the season is in full swing.

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner or whether you just want to enjoy being outdoors with family and friends, forgo the oven and step on outside And, of course, it’s always fun to expand your culinary skills by incorporating new flavors into grilled cuisine.

For the best results on the grill, keep these tips in mind.

Get ready before you light up. Even more than with indoor cooking, grilling requires you to be prepared. Mise en place is everything. Have your tools, meat, vegetables, brushes, platter, cutting boards, utensils, sauces, sides, condiments, and hungry mouths ready before you light up. Make sure you are ready when it is.

Vary the heat. Not all heat is created equal. Keep one part of the grill hot, another cooler. This way, nothing gets overcooked.

Know when it’s done. For non-stick grilling, let your food get good and hot (and get those enticing grill marks) before you try to flip it over.

Give it a rest. Don’t eat right away. For maximum flavor and juiciness, give meats at least a 10 minute rest, so the heat and juices equalize.

Find some inspiration with these recipes.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1 tablespoon Sriracha

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons paprika

4 chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin on

4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on

Vegetable oil, for grill

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

In medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, mustard powder, Sriracha, garlic and paprika.

Place chicken in large zip-top bag; pour buttermilk mixture over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Heat outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess; discard marinade. Lightly oil grill grates. Transfer chicken to grill and cook, turning occasionally, 16-18 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Transfer chicken to serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges, if desired. Serves four.

Grilled Pizza with Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto:

2 cups fresh arugula, tightly packed

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pinch red pepper flakes, optional

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste


2 tablespoons flour, divided

1 pound pizza crust dough, at room temperature if using refrigerated dough

Vegetable oil, for grill

1/2 cup arugula pesto

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup diced ham, optional

1/2-3/4 cup fresh corn kernels, about 1 cob

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat grill to medium heat (350-400 F).

Make arugula pesto: In food processor, combine arugula, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and Parmesan. Pulse until combined then, with food processor on, drizzle in olive oil until pesto forms, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Flour pizza dough lightly and stretch or roll to about 1/2-inch thickness (14- to 16-inch diameter).

Sprinkle remaining flour on large rimless baking sheet, pizza peel or pizza stone. Transfer dough to baking surface.

Clean grill grate and grease with oil-soaked paper towel and tongs. Slide dough off baking surface onto grill. Cover and cook until dough is bubbling on top and golden brown on bottom, 2-3 minutes.

Carefully flip dough over using peel or tongs. Remove crust from grill to add toppings. Spread arugula pesto over dough. Top with ricotta, ham (if using), corn kernels, onion and Parmesan. Return pizza to grill, cover and cook until toppings are heated through and bottom of crust is crispy, 5-7 minutes.

Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Corn Salad

Skirt Steak:

1/3 cup Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 large garlic clove, crushed

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 4-inch pieces

Corn Salad:

4 ears corn on the cob, shucked

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 small red onion, diced

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare skirt steak: In large bowl, combine chipotle pepper sauce, cumin and garlic; add skirt steaks. Toss to mix well; cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Prepare corn salad: Preheat grill to medium. Grill corn about 5 to 10 minutes, turning frequently, until tender-crisp. When cool enough to handle, cut corn from cob. In medium bowl, combine corn, tomatoes, red onion, avocado, basil, lime juice, olive oil, chipotle pepper sauce and salt; toss to mix well.

Preheat grill to high. Grill skirt steak about 5 minutes, or until of desired doneness, turning once.

To serve, plate steak with corn salad. Serves four.