As much as I love experimenting with exotic flavors and different grill techniques, the last time I enjoyed barbecue was in October, and at the start of the grilling season there's only one thing I crave: all-American favorites. I'm talking about grilled succulent shrimp, finger-licking-good chicken with sticky-sweet-smoky barbecue sauce, and hearty warm weather salads. This Memorial Day, my menu is chock-full of BBQ classics, from a Southern succotash to a sophisticated orzo salad. The peel-and-eat shrimp starter is served with a spicy, ketchup-based cocktail sauce. The highlight — a whole grilled chicken — is slathered in a homemade barbecue sauce that's easy to put together. To take a look at these crowd-pleasing recipes,
2 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish root*
2 tablespoons high-quality bottled horseradish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 medium shallots, peeled, and grated on a Microplane grater
8 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 garlic cloves, peeled, and grated on a Microplane grater
3 cups ice
Twenty-four 8- to 12-count unpeeled shrimp (this means shrimp that come 8 to 12 to a pound)
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup minced chives
Freshly ground coarse black pepper
2 lemons, each cut into 4 wedges
- Stir together all of the cocktail sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for the flavors to develop.
- Combine all of the brine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Cut the lemons in half, squeeze the juice into the brine, and add the whole lemons as well. Stir in the garlic, followed by the ice.
- For each of the shrimp, using a paring knife, cut along the curve of the back of the shrimp, and remove the vein, keeping the shells intact. Clip the feet off with a small pair of scissors.
- Place the shrimp in the brine and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat all grates of a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium.
- Remove the shrimp from the brine and lightly pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl, toss the shrimp in the canola oil. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and chives. Set aside.
- Place the shrimp on the grate, close the lid, and grill for 4 minutes. Flip to the second side and grill for 4 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and immediately place in the bowl with the olive oil mixture, tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges on the side.
*Fresh horseradish is available in many markets and is worth seeking out. If you can't find it, the sauce won't have that extra punch, but it'll still have great flavor. Use additional bottled horseradish to taste.
- Seafood, Appetizers
- North American
1 whole chicken (4 to 4 1/2 pounds)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup Classic Barbecue Sauce, recipe below
- Set up grill for indirect grilling. Rinse chicken inside and out and dry thoroughly. Generously season inside and out with coarse salt and ground pepper. Clean and lightly oil hot grates.
- Place chicken, breast side up, on opposite side of grill from heat. Cover and grill until cooked through, or a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) registers 160 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours, rotating halfway through cooking (if using a charcoal grill, add a couple of handfuls of charcoal every half hour to maintain heat).
- About 15 minutes before chicken is done, brush with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Let chicken rest 20 minutes before carving.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small white onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 can (28) ounces tomato sauce
1/4 cup unsulfered molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until completely soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste and mustard; cook, stirring constantly, until paste turns a brick-red color, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water, tomato sauce, molasses, Worcestershire, vinegar, salt, and pepper and stir until smooth.
- Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low and partially cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours (thin with water if sauce becomes too thick). Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let cool completely before using. (To store, refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to 4 months.)
Makes about 5 1/2 cups.
- Poultry, Main Dishes
- North American
2 cups fresh green peas
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 thick slice of bacon, finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound okra, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 medium tomatoes—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 ears of corn, kernels cut off
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup slivered basil leaves
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the peas until tender, 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
- In a deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, until browned. Add the onion and cook until just softened.
- Add the okra and cook for 8 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and corn and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the peas with the cooking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter and basil; serve.
- Vegetables, Side Dishes
- North American
8 ounces orzo (1⁄2 box)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/4 pounds small zucchini (3 to 4), cut into thin half-moons
8 ounces Feta, crumbled (2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- Cook the orzo according to the package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, red pepper, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the zucchini and let marinate, tossing occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Add the orzo, Feta, and dill to the zucchini mixture and toss to combine.
- Salads, Pasta