Japanese rice wine helps add flavor to Grilled Asian Beef Ribs. (Geno Loro / Little Brown and Company)
Father’s Day is Sunday, and if you want to give Dad a reason to roll out the grill and cook a feast for the family, present him with his very own cookbook. Whether he’s a baseball fan who loves the perfect steak, likes to experiment with rubs and brines, is a pizza fanatic, loves to whip up special cocktails or simply seeks a comprehensive guide on how to create great meals, he will appreciate any and all of these latest editions available online or in your local bookstore:
“The Nolan Ryan Beef and Barbecue Cookbook” by Nolan Ryan (Little, Brown and Company, $25).
Baseball, barbecue and beef are among the loves of the famed former pitcher for the Texas Rangers. Now loving living life as a cattle rancher, he has teamed with Cristobal Vazquez, executive chef for the Texas Rangers, to write his first cookbook. The book features 75 recipes for steaks, ribs, burgers and side dishes and desserts, including smashed potatoes and carrot cake. His take on grilling beef ribs using Asian ingredients couldn’t be easier or more delicious.
“Man Made Meals” by Steven Raichlen (Workman, $24.95)
Considered the grill guru in culinary circles, Raichlen backs away from the barbecue and strides into the kitchen to offer a comprehensive guide for men and the way they cook. With more than 300 recipes ranging from breakfast to dessert and cocktails to condiments, the book will help the dad in your life learn how to shop, prep and cook some killer soups, salads, stir fries, sauces and a plethora of roasted and grilled meats, including Finger Burner Lamb Chops.
“Patio Pizzeria” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press, $20)
Tell the pizza delivery guy to take the summer off and create your own artisan pizzas and flatbreads on the grill. Known as the BBQ Queens, Adler and Fertig really know their way around the grill — and making pizza is just one of their many skills. The Kansas City duo have cumulatively written more than 20 cookbooks. Their dishes, including Chicken Avocado Panini, are fresh, budget-friendly and something the whole family can enjoy making. There are more than 100 different recipes with versatile options for pizzas, sandwiches, calzones and flatbreads, as well as salads and grilled dessert recipes.
“Smoke & Spice” by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (Harvard Common Press, $24.95)
This updated winner of the James Beard cookbook award is so dense with great ideas, recipes and tips that it may just be the only book you need to put on a great barbecue. Originally published in 2003, and updated over the years, this is a great cookbook with hundreds of fantastic recipes for pretty much everything you can put in a smoker. If you want to learn to cook barbecue, this is the book to start with and stick with. Check out their Sugar and Spice Brined Salmon recipe; drinks, desserts, sauces, sides and salads also are included.
“Fire & Smoke” by Chris Lilly (Clarkson Potter, $24.99)
No matter what Dad’s grilling techniques tend toward — hot and fast or slow and low — barbecue pitmaster Chris Lilly shows how to use smaller cuts of meat in proportions that are perfect for a weeknight meal. Using the intense heat of an open flame or smoldering wood, Lilly teaches you how to get the most out of your outdoor cooking equipment. Grilled cocktails like Grilled Peach Sangria, appetizers, salads and sandwiches and even desserts taste so much better when infused with that smoky flavor.
Treat Dad to a tasty pig roast
Hiller’s Market’s Pig Roast and Grill-Tastic Food Fair is Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Hiller’s BBQ pitmaster, Jan Bolton, will be on hand for the free event along with 20 vendors to offer free samples, summer taste treats and expert grilling advice. Hiller’s is at 3010 Union Lake, (SW corner of Union Lake and Commerce) Commerce Twp., MI 48382.
Sugar and Spice Brined Salmon
Recipe from “Smoke & Spice” by Bill & Cheryl Jamison
¾ cup vodka
1⁄3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons mixed pickling spice, bruised (see BBQ tip)
2 teaspoons dill seeds, bruised (see BBQ tip)
1 ½-pound salmon fillet
1 cup water
Large bunch of fresh dill (optional)
At least 2 hours and up to 8 hours before you plan to smoke the fish, combine the marinade ingredients in a glass measuring cup. Place the salmon in a plastic bag or shallow dish, pour the marinade over it, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. Leave it longer to intensify the seasoning.
Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 180 degrees to 200 degrees.
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and drain it, reserving the marinade if you plan to baste the fish. Leave any clinging spices on the surface of the salmon. Let the fish sit uncovered at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you are using the marinade as a mop, stir the brine together with the water in a small saucepan and boil vigorously for a few minutes.
Transfer the salmon to the smoker, skin side down. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes, mopping it after 10 and 30 minutes in a wood-burning pit, or as appropriate for your style of smoker. Have a large spatula and a platter ready for taking the salmon off the smoker, since it will be fragile when done. We prefer to serve the salmon with some of the whole spices clinging to it. The fish can be eaten immediately or refrigerated and later served chilled. If you are using the fresh dill, arrange it on a serving platter. Top the dill with the salmon and serve. Serves 4.
BBQ tip: Bruising the spices means to almost — but not quite — crush the whole spice seeds or pods. By pressing on the spices with a pestle or the side of a knife, you release the natural oils, making the seasonings more flavorful.
Per serving: 346 calories; 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 34 percent calories from fat); 9 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 104 mg cholesterol; 2,253 mg sodium; 33 g protein; 0 g fiber.
Finger Burner Lamb Chops
Recipe from “Man Made Meals” by Steven Raichlen. These can be prepared over a medium hot grill or on the cooktop.As with all great meat cooked on the bone, these chops taste best eaten with your bare hands
2 ½ pounds small lamb rib chops, cut ½-inch thick
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked or freshly ground black peppercorns
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, depending on the cooking method
Lemon wedges, for serving
Arrange the lamb chops in a single layer on a baking sheet. Generously season the chops on one side with salt and pepper and half of the hot pepper flakes, minced garlic and rosemary. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the chops and pat the ingredients onto the meat with your fingertips. Turn the chops and repeat on the second side. Let the chops marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the lamb chops in a single layer (work in batches as needed) and cook until well-browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops over and cook until well-browned and the meat is cooked through or to taste, about 3 minutes for medium.
Place the chops on a platter and encourage everyone to pick them up and eat the meat straight from the bone. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing and plenty of napkins. Serves 4.
Per serving: 429 calories; 30 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 63 percent calories from fat); 2 g carbohydrates; 0.2 g sugar; 116 mg cholesterol; 471 mg sodium; 36 g protein; 0.5 g fiber.
Grilled Chicken Pesto Panini with Avocado and Bacon
Recipe from “Patio Pizzeria” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. Assemble a couple of these sandwiches ahead of time and finish on the grill when you are ready to serve them crunchy, toasty, gooey and warm. Add a big leafy green salad and glasses of crisp pinot grigio, and you’ve got dinner.
1 pound chicken tenders
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1 large, long loaf French or Italian bread
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup store-bought or homemade pesto
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
6 strips cooked bacon
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
Lightly coat the chicken tenders with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken directly over the fire for 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning once. Set aside.
Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and lightly brush all sides with olive oil. Spread the pesto on one cut side and the mayonnaise on the other. Layer the grilled chicken tenders, slices of avocado, bacon, and cheese evenly over all and place the bread lid on top.
Place the panini directly over the fire and set 2 or 3 foil-wrapped bricks on top of the bread to weight it down. You may need to push the bricks to lightly smash the sandwich. Grill for about 2 minutes, until it’s toasty with good grill marks, then turn it over and grill for about the same amount of time. Set the panini on a cutting board and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then slice at a diagonal into 6 portions, using a good bread knife. Makes 6 paninis.
Per serving: 630 calories; 36 g fat (9 g saturated fat; 51 percent calories from fat); 43 g carbohydrates; 3 g sugar; 80 mg cholesterol; 876 mg sodium; 33 g protein; 4 g fiber.
Grilled Peach Sangria
Recipe from “Fire & Smoke” by Chris Lilly. Any drink with mixed fruit is the perfect opportunity to bring your grill into play, adding a caramelized and smoky element to the flavor.
½ cup sugar
2 peaches, peeled and cut into quarters
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
½ cup peach brandy or schnapps
½cup frozen lemonade concentrate
½ cup Triple Sec
1⁄3 cup orange juice
1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine
2 cups club soda
Pitmaster tip:“When making sangria, reach past the most expensive bottle of wine and grab an inexpensive table wine. For the benefit of the recipe, I was forced to experiment with several bottles of wine of varying prices and ratings. My conclusion is that the quality of the wine is less important than that of the fruit.” — Chris Lilly.
Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling, adding fruitwood or maple, and preheat it to 450 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, peaches, lemons and oranges.
Immediately put the fruit on the grill over direct heat and grill until the sugar caramelizes, about 1 minute on each side. Remove the fruit from the grill and set aside.
In a blender, combine the peach brandy, frozen lemonade, Triple Sec, orange juice and grilled peaches. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large pitcher, add the red wine, and stir well. Add the grilled lemon and orange slices and refrigerate until served.
To serve, add the club soda to the pitcher and mix well. Serve over ice. Serves 8.
Per serving: 252 calories; 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat; 0 percent calories from fat); 34 g carbohydrates; 30 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 19 mg sodium; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber.
Grilled Asian Beef Ribs
From “The Nolan Ryan Beef Barbecue Cookbook” by Nolan Ryan
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup minced garlic
2 large scallions, chopped
8 racks beef ribs
½ cup sweet chili sauce (they use Mae Ploy brand)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and scallions. Pour the sauce into a large roasting pan, add the ribs and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Marinate overnight in the fridge.
Preheat the grill to medium and lightly oil the grill grates.
Drain the ribs and discard the marinade. Grill the ribs until browned and cooked to medium-rare, 10 to 12 minutes per side.
Serve the ribs with the sweet chili sauce on the side. Serves 8.
Per serving: 656 calories; 35 g fat (13 g saturated fat; 48 percent calories from fat); 18 g carbohydrates; 14 g sugar; 181 mg cholesterol; 1,403 mg sodium; 63 g protein; 1 g fiber.