The origins of grilling go back to prehistoric times when our ancestors skewered meat on a stick and stuck it over a hot fire. While there’s something still so satisfying about watching the way the intense heat turns food to a crisp, we’ve come a long way since then.
Humans have perfected grilling and barbecuing, smoking, rotisserie cooking and even infrared. We’ve made outdoor cooking an activity instead of a chore. And we’ve moved beyond the meat madness, and have learned to appreciate well-executed vegetarian fare from the fires as well.
Char-Broil’s Great Book of Grilling ($24.99, 336 pages) covers the whole myriad of cooking methods with 300 different recipes, from pork, poultry, beef and lamb, to appetizers, seafood, salads, vegetables and desserts. The recipes in each section of the book vary from as basic or creative as you care to get, but in the spirit of outdoor grilling, they’re never fussy. Most require only ingredients you’ll have in your well-stocked fridge.
If you’re skeptical about recipes published by products — don’t be. Terrible recipes wouldn’t help sell grills. A chef will explore many techniques to bring you a cookbook, but a cookbook from a product line focuses on doing one thing to perfection.
And that’s the benefit of Char-Broil’s latest collection. The company has been around since the 1940’s, so the family there knows how to best cook on their product. The Great Book of Grilling showcases that time-tested experience. The recipes are simple to follow, and just like any soon-to-be-favorite cookbook, every single one has a photo.
Highlights include savory apple butter barbecue ribs, pineapple and habanero chicken wings and smoked chicken lollipops with cola BBQ sauce. There are tons of recipes for sauces and rubs, cooking tips and temperature tables for every protein. Even cleaning is covered.
The dessert section is super creative, leaving you wondering why you never thought to grill that! Nutella and marshmallow quesadillas, bacon chocolate chip cookies and nectarine pizza with goat cheese and thyme are just the start of the section devoted to the end of your meal.
Before you light that next fire, consider trying one of these recipe samples from the Great Book of Grilling:
Smoky Baby Blue Artichokes
- 12 baby artichokes
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup bleu cheese, crumbled
- Balsamic vinegar
- To prepare the baby artichokes for cooking, snap off the lower petals until you reach the core. Trim each baby artichoke by cutting off the top 1/2-inch and the bottom stem. Place artichokes in a saucepan filled with water. Bring water to a boil, and parboil artichokes for approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Artichokes are done when a toothpick or knife tip will go into the base of the artichokes easily.
- Preheat outdoor grill to medium. Directly speak either mesh grill or basket or aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray. Add artichokes to grill basket or foil, and cook over direct heat for 5 minutes or until artichokes are evenly browned.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle bleu cheese on top of artichokes. Keep the basket on the grill for one minute or until the bleu cheese melts.
- Remove the artichokes from the grill, and arrange them on a plate. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the artichokes, and serve.
Brown Sugar-Brined Smoked Salmon
- 2 pounds salmon filets
- 3 cups warm water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, diced
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- In a large baking dish, mix water, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, and ginger until well combined. Let cool completely. Add fish fillets and let rest in the fridge for 6 – 7 hours.
- Preheat the smoker to 160ºF and add alder wood chips to the smoker box. Place the salmon in the smoker and cook for about 3 hours.
- Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the salmon. Remove from smoker once the fish reaches 160ºF or until the fillets take on a light pink color and begin to flake apart.
Grilled and Shredded Jerk Chicken Sandwiches
- 4-6 chicken breasts, trimmed
- Canola oil
- Jerk chicken seasoning
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
- Pineapple-Kiwi Salsa*
- Onion-poppy seed hamburger buns, toasted
- 2 cups of peach wood chips soaked in water for 1 hour
- 1/2 whole pineapple, trimmed and petite dice
- 4 kiwis, peeled and petite dice
- 1 small red onion, petite dice
- 1-2 jalapeños , seeds removed and minced
- 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, stems removed, chopped and loosely packed
- 1 pinch sugar
- Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
- Prepare all ingredients per instructions above. Toss together in a large bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours. Drain excess liquid and serve immediately.
- Preheat Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared Grill to medium-high using the 2-zone cooking method. Brush the grates with a cloth doused in canola oil. Wrap woodchips in a sheet of tinfoil, then perforate tinfoil several times with a fork or knife. Apply wood packet in back corner of the direct-heat grilling zone. Once wood packet is billowing with smoke, the grill is ready. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken by drizzling with oil and seasoning liberally with the jerk spice blend, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
- Gently place the chicken breasts atop the direct-heat grilling zone and sear with the grill lid open for 5 – 7 minutes per side. Then transfer to the cooler, indirect heat zone and close the grill lid, basting intermittently with oil until juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 160ºF in thickest part of the breast.
- Once the chicken is finished, remove and tent with tinfoil, resting for 5 – 10 minutes before shredding with two forks. Season additionally with jerk spice blend, to taste, and toss to coat evenly. Load shredded chicken on toasted onion-poppy seed buds, top with Pineapple-Kiwi Salsa and finish with a squeeze of lime.