There's the Rub
Zane Holmquist, executive chef at Stein Eriksen Lodge, loves grilling. “It’s relaxed, easy, and it engages everyone from kids to adults in simple fun,” he says. Ideally, he advises using both gas and charcoal grills—they’re great for different things. “Gas grills’ cast-iron grates hold heat better and make for a better sear,” he explains, “and nothing says ‘summer’ like the flavor imparted by charcoal.”
A little olive oil and fresh herbs or orange zest added to vegetables, meat, and fish celebrates summer’s fresh-tasting bounty. “I grill tons of vegetables from my garden,” Holmquist says. “I really like using sweet potatoes or butternut squash peeled and sliced in ¾-inch-thick rounds, rubbed with olive oil, curry powder, and rosemary, and grilled over medium-high heat.” Try marinating mushrooms, green beans, and other fresh vegetables in lemon juice, thyme, and olive oil. Grill, and then add to orzo pasta with arugula and crumbled goat cheese for a fast, healthy meal.
“Every piece of meat I grill gets a rub,” Holmquist adds. “I prefer rubs over marinades because they’re simpler, less time-consuming, and rubs enhance flavors instead of covering them up.” Try Holmquist’s simple but exotic Thai red curry rub at your next barbecue.
Thai Red Curry Rub
- 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients, then divide into two bowls. Rub half the mixture onto raw pork tenderloin or chicken thighs, reserving other half for cooked meat. Grill meat to desired temperature, sprinkle with remainder of spice mixture, and serve.
Salsas, relishes, and chutneys serve as great appetizers or accompaniments to summer meals. Combine chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapeños, cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime juice for a simple salsa or garnish for grilled fish.
“I’d rather grill everything outside than have to clean the kitchen,” says Seth Adams, chef and co-owner at Riverhorse on Main restaurant. “I learned about grilling from my father. He liked to cook on an old Weber grill, using a metal bowl of water on the grate to add moisture,” Adams remembers. “I’m a simple cook ... the best part of grilling is simplicity, but I like to experiment at home because I don’t get a chance to do so at the restaurant. My kids love ribs, and I also get frequent requests for salmon with my strawberry kiwi relish.” Try Adams’s zesty recipe at your next cookout.
Salmon with Strawberry Kiwi Relish
- 4 salmon fillets
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3–4 kiwis, cubed
- ¾ cup strawberries, cubed
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
Rub salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on grill, skin side down, over medium-high heat. Cook 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Mix remaining ingredients and spoon over salmon.
The Girl Who Played with Fire
Deer Valley's director of Food & Beverage Jodie Rogers remembers her introduction to grilling, or cooking “on the barbie,” as they say in her native Australia. “My father made this makeshift flat-top grill balanced on bricks over a robust wood fire. Often the result was meat served in extra-well-done, charred bits,” she laughs, “but the best part was gathering with friends and family and drinking beer, which served as both a beverage and a marinade.” Fast-forward to the present, when Rogers and her family enjoy the same easy outdoor dining all summer long, albeit with a slightly improved technique. “We use our rotisserie a lot—it utilizes back and bottom heat that results in a nice caramelized char without making the meat tough,” she says. Rogers also likes vegetables roasted on the grill. “We always make kebabs—usually a combination of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms—drizzled with olive oil and some herbs.” Leftovers can be added to your favorite greens for a grilled vegetable salad.
“Grilling is a great way to play around with dry rubs and marinades, and it keeps the natural juices in foods,” Rogers says. If you enjoy the mouthwatering roast leg of lamb served at Deer Valley’s Fireside Dining, you’ll want to try Rogers’s recipe.
Roast Lamb Marinade
- 1 cup fresh savory or sage
- ¼ cup fresh thyme
- 6 lemons, juice and zest
- ½ cup sea salt
- ½ cup fresh garlic, crushed
- 4 cups olive oil/canola blend
- 3 tbsp cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup fresh oregano
Mix all ingredients and pour over lamb roast. Cover and refrigerate for 12–24 hours. Remove roast 2 hours before grilling. Preheat grill. Place lamb on rotisserie and cook until desired doneness (about 2 hours depending on size).
Camp Made Easy
When you’re ready to venture beyond your backyard with your taste buds, chef Zane Holmquist has tips for gourmet getaways. “I love to cook on a campfire, but I keep it simple so it doesn’t feel like work.”
Holmquist always prepares two meals ahead of time—usually a wild game chili and a stew, and freezes them in Ziploc bags. These premade dinners act as ice blocks in the cooler; they thaw slowly for second and third nights on the road; and when added to pasta or rice, they provide hearty, one-pot meals. Also, cleanup is a cinch, so he can spend more time mountain biking than cooking. If you’re lucky enough to catch trout, wrap it in foil with lemon and butter and place on the grill or directly on coals. Fire-roasted sweet potatoes and corn on the cob make great side dishes. Coat sweet potatoes with olive oil. Soak corn in the husk for 15–20 minutes in water. Wrap individual items in foil and place in coals. (Cook times vary depending on the heat of the fire.)
For breakfast, try a frittata. “I cut up veggies and put them in a Ziploc bag before leaving home,” says Holmquist. “At the campsite, I sauté them in a nonstick pan, add scrambled eggs and cheese, then cover it for a few minutes before serving.”
“Grilling is what is known as a dry heat method,” says Bill Hufferd, chef-owner at The Mustang, “where food is cooked over high heat in order to attain that delicious ‘al carbon’ character.” Grilling over wood imparts the most flavor, he says, and over gas the least. You don’t always want the “most flavor,” however. A delicate fish can easily be overpowered and made unpleasantly smoky tasting by using wood. “I usually like to grill over charcoal. It imparts a little flavor, while being able to reach the high temperatures desired for grilling.”
“One of my favorite things to grill is fresh ahi tuna,” he says. Try Hufferd’s savory lemon-soy ahi tuna.
Chef and restaurateur Bill White features a range of cuisines at his five restaurants, but at home he admits to being “completely anti over-the-top,” preferring instead to focus on guests and super-easy recipes. A large stainless-steel gas grill with a rotisserie sits on the patio for year-round use. Grilled beef or fish is often incorporated into a salad with greens from his garden and homemade grain-mustard vinaigrette. Pineapple or other fruit salsas are popular accompaniments.
“When I’m cooking, I like to weave together ingredients that naturally go together,” White says, “pairing pineapple or mango with a Hawaiian fish, for example.” The enzyme in pineapple breaks down protein and is a natural tenderizer. Create White’s quick and easy pineapple salsa.
Grilled Lemon-Soy Ahi Tuna
- 4 ahi tuna steaks
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- fresh lemon juice
- soy sauce
Coat the tuna steaks and veggies with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over hot coals (cook tuna rare or medium rare). Drizzle all with fresh lemon juice and soy sauce, and serve.
Mahimahi with Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- olive oil
- 1 fresh pineapple, cored and quartered
- green pasilla or poblano chiles
- 1 red onion, sliced
- ½ to 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp lime juice
Preheat grill. Brush pineapple, chiles, and red onion with olive oil and grill over high heat. Chop and add to bowl with lime juice and cilantro. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Baste mahimahi with olive oil and grill. Serve with salsa.
Don’t forget that desserts can also be made on the grill. “I’ll use semi-ripe bananas or stone fruit like peaches or nectarines,” Deer Valley chef Jodie Rogers says, “or I’ll make a sugar tequila marinade for pineapple and serve with caramel sauce and ice cream.”
Grilled Tequila Pineapple with Caramel Sauce
- 1 ripe pineapple, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- ½ cup tequila
- ¼ cup brown sugar
Soak the pineapple in the lime juice and zest, tequila, and brown sugar overnight. Preheat the grill. Grill the pineapple for 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with toasted almonds, caramel sauce (at right), and vanilla bean ice cream.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
- 1½ cups sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- 1¼ to 1½ cups heavy cream
Mix water and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil uncovered until sugar turns medium brown, about 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Watch it carefully, as it can burn very quickly. Add cream. Simmer until the caramel dissolves and sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Serve warm, or add another ¼ cup of heavy cream and serve at room temperature.