Summer Grilling - Ideas and Recipes
It’s summer and that means it’s grill season.
By Amy Landsman
Photography By Justin Tsucalas
“I will grill anything that possibly can be grilled,” declares Larry Adashek of Stevenson. When Adashek makes that boast, you’d better believe him, because this is a man who, as his wife Karen says, would “grill his breakfast cereal” if he could.
“Chefs say everything tastes better with butter. I say everything tastes better grilled,” says Larry, who jokes that he’s been grilling since his bar mitzvah.
Larry turns out his creations on a big five-burner grill with a warming drawer. While you don’t need a huge, fancy grill, having the right tools will make the job a lot easier.
Barbecue expert Steven Raichlen, who is currently on tour promoting his Ultimate Grilling Recipe Contest, says advance preparation is the key.
Raichlen, raised in Pikesville (“I’m a homeboy,” he tells iNSIDER, “Millford Mill High.”) is the author of “The Barbecue Bible” (Workman, 1998) and the host of the “Barbecue University” TV show on PBS (produced in association with Maryland Public Television).
Grilling, Raichlen notes, is unique because you’re basically away from the kitchen the whole time. That means, he says, “You want to think about everything you need and have it out by the grill before you start.”
First, it’s very important to keep the meat cool before cooking. Raichlen says he fills one baking pan with ice and then sets a second baking pan for the meat inside the first pan. If you’re cooking a large amount of meat, keep the meat in a cooler filled with ice (separate from your cooler for the beer). To prevent contamination, have separate platters for your uncooked and cooked meat. (“Especially if you’re married to a germ obsessed Jewish woman, like I am,” teases Raichlen.)
“I’m a firm believer that you can never have enough workspace when you’re grilling,” Raichlen notes, saying having an extra table on hand for supplies is always helpful.
“You need long-handled tongs, an instant-read meat thermometer and a stiff wire brush,” he adds.
Meanwhile, if you are cooking outdoors, don’t be afraid to make extra. While grilled meat tends not to reheat well, leftovers are very good cold or at room temperature. Raichlen uses leftover chicken in chicken salad. Steak goes into steak sandwiches and he dunks leftover lamb chops in olive oil, salt and pepper and enjoys them cold.
Back at the Adashek house, not only does Larry handle grill duty, but he also does most of the household cooking for Karen and their two kids, 10-year-old Casey and 11-year-old Jojo.
“He cooks. I clean. That’s our deal. He’s our chef. It’s a very nice deal for me,” Karen points out.
Adding even a little more flame to the family fire is Larry’s older brother, Dr. Steven Adashek, also a major grill maven.
Meanwhile, because it’s outdoors, there’s something about grilling that brings the family together.
“Really, it’s a way of nurturing,” Larry says. “It’s a way that helps make a house a home. We as Jews never do anything without a festive meal that follows. It’s like having a festive meal every time we cook.”
Gas or charcoal?
It’s the age-old question: Which type of grill is best? Raichlen says it comes down to what he calls your “grilling personality.”
“If you’re the sort of person who enjoys the process of building a fire, setting stuff on fire, charcoal is the way to go. If you like smoked food, it’s very easy to smoke on charcoal. If you’re more destination/results-oriented, you just want to get the food on the table, you may find the experience of grilling with propane more satisfying.”
Some people use propane on busy weeknights and charcoal on weekends, when they have more time.
Raichlen’s Ultimate Grilling Recipe Contest runs through July 10. For information, go to barbecuebible.com . Click “Steve’s Stuff” on the home page for details.