Cheryl and Bill Jamison, authors of "The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining," put a modern twist on old-fashioned grilling. Try these recipes at your next outdoor party and you're sure to be a hit with your guests!
Spice-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops (p. 320)
Dry rubs are a terrific way to season pork chops. Select chops close to one inch in thickness — nothing flimsy — and then grill them over steady medium heat. We opt for rib chops over the center-cut variety when cooking outdoors because their greater fat content helps keep them moist, and we always prefer bone-in chops for their juiciness. You might add a barbecue sauce on the side with these, but we relish their crispy surface unvarnished.
Cooking Method: Grilling
Serves 6 to 8
Six to eight 10- to 11-ounce bone-in pork rib chops, 3/4- to 1-inch thick
Vegetable oil spray
Pork Chop Willy's Grilling Rub
3 Tablespoons sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
1 tablespoon freshly milled black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic, preferably, or garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1) At least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before you plan to grill the pork chops, prepare the dry rub by combining the ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the chops with the spice mixture, place them in a plastic bag and refrigerate.
2) Fire up the grill, bringing the heat to medium (4 to 5 seconds with the hand test).
3) Remove the chops from the refrigerator and let them sit covered at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
4) Spray the chops with oil and transfer them to the grill. Grill for 18 to 20 minutes total. Turn onto each side twice, rotating the chops a half turn each time to get crisscross grill marks. The chops are done when just a hint of pink remains at the center. Serve hot.
Spice-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops With Mustard Butter and Mustard Seeds
1) Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in a small skillet.
2) Add 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds and cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat, just long enough for the seeds to sizzle around the edges.
3) Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon Dijon or other mustard.
4) Rub and grill the pork chops as above and drizzle with the melted butter before serving.
Tamarind-Orange Grilled Pork Chops
Sweet, sour, sticky, yummy! Before rubbing and grilling the chops as above, prepare a tamarind-orange sauce.
1) Combine in a saucepan 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken stock, 1/4cup plus 1 tablespoon chipotle ketchup or chipotle barbecue sauce (or the same amount of regular ketchup or barbecue sauce mixed with 1 to 2 minced canned chipotle chilies), 1/4 cup orange marmalade, 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or concentrate and 1 tablespoon of butter.
2) Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a bare simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. The sauce can be made up to several days ahead, refrigerated and then reheated.
3) Brush the sauce over both sides of the chops in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Accompany the chops with the remaining sauce.
Java-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops
1) Replace the dry rub with one made of 3 tablespoons coarse-ground coffee, 1.5 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper and 1.5 teaspoon coarse salt, either kosher or sea salt. You'll have much less of this mixture and should apply it more lightly.
2) Top with Grill-Roasted Pepper Relish
Leftovers make a great sandwich. Java-laced Texas Barbecue Ranch Sauce is good on the sandwich, too.
Dry-Rubbed Grilled Pork Chops With Gorgonzola Sauce
1) Replace the dry rub with a light sprinkle of Serious Salt-and-Pepper and grill the chops as above.
2) For the sauce, melt 1/2 stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
3) Stir in 6 to 8 ounces of crumbled gorgonzola cheese and 1 cup mascarpone cheese until melted.
4) Serve over or under the chops.
Sage-Rubbed Chops With Pear-Sage Chutney
1) Replace the dry rub with a mixture of 2 Tablespoons crumbled dried sage, 1 Tablespoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper.
2) Before firing up the grill, make the chutney: Combine 2 cups chopped Bartlett pears in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/3 cup golden raisins, 6 Tablespoons sherry vinegar, 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage.
3) Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pears have cooked down and the mixture is thick.
4) Serve warm over or on the side of the grilled chops.
Smoked Pork Chops
Pork chops don't need long, low barbecuing for tenderness, but they can be enhanced by a kiss of smoke.
1) Rub and prepare the chops as in the main recipe.
2) Fire up the smoker, bringing the temperature to 180°F to 220°F. If you plan to baste the chops, warm about 3/4 cup of cider or white vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat.
3) Sear the dry-rubbed chops, after spraying them with oil, in a heavy skillet over high heat.
4) Transfer to the smoker and cook 45 to 55 minutes.
5) Turn and baste the chops with the mop once or twice in a wood-burning pit or as appropriate in your style of smoker. The chops are done when just a hint of pink remains at the center, at 150°F to 155°F on an instant-read thermometer stuck into a chop horizontally.
Menu for a Spur-of-the-Moment Cookout
• Red bell pepper dip or other dip you have on hand, with crackers, toasts or chips
• Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chops
• Grilled tomato salad with ranch or blue cheese dressing, or any other simply grilled vegetable with some greens and a favorite dressing
• Ice cream sundaes
Flame-Seared Corn on the Cob
If you cook ears of corn on the grill in their husks, as many people do, you steam the kernels instead of searing them. By stripping the husk first and exposing the corn directly to the fire, you get a much deeper taste. The kernels shrink up slightly, condensing the flavor of each bite.
Cooking Method: Grilling
Serves 6 as a side dish
6 large ears of corn, husked and silk removed
Approximately 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, preferably unsalted, melted
Flaky salt, such as Maldon's or French Fleur de Sel
1) Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (4 to 5 seconds with the hand test).
2) Brush the corn lightly, using a couple of tablespoons of butter.
3) Grill the corn uncovered on medium heat for 20 to 22 minutes, turning on all sides to cook evenly and brushing with more butter after about 10 minutes. This cooking time is longer than technically necessary to cook the corn, but it concentrates the flavor of the kernels, contributing to the deeper taste.
4) Brush the corn again with butter, sprinkle it with salt and serve right away.
Esquites (ears of corn, Mexican-style)
1) Dress the grilled corn with Rich Mayonnaise, slathered over each ear.
2) Sprinkle with ground dried red chile, cotija cheese or queso fresco, and offer lime wedges to squeeze over as well.
Ember-Baked Corn on the Cob
When cooking over charcoal or wood, you can cook the corn in the still glowing ash-covered coals. In this case, do leave the husks on.
1) Bury the corn in a good-sized bed of coals and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
2) Pull back the charred husks on one ear and check doneness. Return to the embers, if needed, for a few more minutes.
3) Serve as above.
Grilled Corn and Avocado Relish
1) Use just three ears of corn and 1/2 stick of butter.
2) Slice the grilled corn off the ears when cool enough to handle.
3) Toss with 1/4 cup each diced red onion and red bell pepper, and enough corn oil or other vegetable oil to make the mixture glisten.
4) Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime and a couple of pinches of salt.
5) Fold in 1 large diced avocado just before serving alongside simply grilled beef, pork, or shrimp.
Leave the husks on each ear for a handle, just pulled back. When grilling, arrange the husks off the cooking grate or over the coolest portion of the grill. If you want to get fancy, you can tie it in a couple of places with other strips of husk. Overachievers can even braid it.
Menu for Our Favorite August Celebration Supper
• Flame-seared corn on the cob
• Slices of tomatoes of all colors and sizes
A trademark treat of the Girl Scouts, endorsed in the organization's official handbook as early as 1940, this still packs powerful appeal for kids and old goats alike. Multiply this plated open-face version by the number of guests. If your crowd is really persnickety, pick up our earlier book, "Born to Grill," for recipes for homemade marshmallows and graham crackers for a super duper rendition that will leave everyone wanting s'more.
Cooking Method: Grilling
2 graham cracker squares
2 large, poofy marshmallows
3/4 ounce milk chocolate (1/2 the popular-size Hershey bar), dark chocolate, white chocolate or chocolate mint candy, in a flat square
Fruit sauce, such as raspberry, dark chocolate or caramel sauce
1) Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium-low (6 seconds with the hand test).
2) Thread the marshmallows on a skewer, long clean stick, or long fork.
3) Place the graham crackers on the grate over medium-low heat.
4) Hold the marshmallow a couple of inches above the grate and toast the marshmallows on all sides for several minutes until very soft and golden.
5) While the marshmallows toast, turn the graham crackers, placing a chocolate square on each, and continue heating until the marshmallows are ready.
6) Top each softened chocolate square with a gooey marshmallow
7) Arrange on a plate with a squiggle of fruit sauce over or around the s'mores.
Eat right away, with fingers or forks.
Grill-Toasted Dessert Bruschetta
1) Toast thin buttered baguette slices on the grill instead of graham crackers.
2) Lose the marshmallows.
3) Finish off with chocolate squares, or honey and thinly sliced soft-textured fruit, or honey and a soft cheese like mascarpone, cream cheese, or fresh goat cheese.
4) Serve open-face, like the s'mores.