The summer solstice may have just began last week, but it sure has felt like summer for the last 2 months, weather wise. Sunshine and beautiful weather equal firing up the grill and hanging out with friends!
My husband is known on my social media circuit as “The Grill Master”, he can grill just about anything to perfection and we love to grill all year long, so I have a bazillion recipes I could share! I’ve spared you, and picked a few of my all-time favorites, not to mention award winners. And all of them have been featured at one time or another in one of my LIVE TV segments that I do regularly for the Charlotte TV networks!
Any good summer cookout starts with a refreshing cocktail, right? Ok, not all, but if you come my house, I’m greeting you with a drink! I’m usually a wine drinker, but occasionally, I like a nice refreshing cocktail. Vodka is an easy one to go with, it’s pretty versatile and most people like it, so we’re starting this party with Moscow Mules!
A nice smooth vodka (think Tito’s), some zippy ginger beer and refreshing lime juice will do the trick! Step your game up and get some of those cool copper mugs to serve them in. We’re cool cats, so of course, we have a couple. Totally kidding, this happens to be The Grill Master and his brother Brian’s, favorite beverage of choice, so I got lucky! If you drink them like they do, you might want to double this recipe!
Ingredients for 2 cocktails:
3 ounces Tito’s Vodka
6 ounces Ginger Beer
Splash or 2 of fresh lime juice
Lime wedges for garnish
Combine vodka, ginger beer and lime juice in a mixer and stir. Pour over ice and garnish with lime wedges, and repeat!
Time for some food. Peaches are in season and are amazingly juicy and delicious right now. Why not grill them? You know, pretty much everything I do involves some type of bacon or cheese, so guess what? We’re wrapping them in prosciutto, serving them with fresh mozzarella, and drizzling them with luxurious balsamic syrup. Say what?!? Oh yeah, the combination of sweet, salty, and creaminess plays with your emotions. Seriously. Amazing.
Grilled Peaches with Prosciutto and Balsamic
- 4 peaches
- 8 slices prosciutto, sliced in half, longwise
- 16 large basil leaves.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic syrup to drizzle
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
Cut each peach into quarters. Place 1 basil leaf over top of peach, then wrap securely with a slice of prosciutto and secure with toothpick.
Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
Brush peaches generously with olive oil to prevent the prosciutto from sticking to the grill.
Grill peaches until char marks appear, turning peaches until sides are evenly cooked, about 10-12 minutes.
Transfer peaches to a platter and remove toothpicks. Pull chunks of mozzarella and place around peaches. Drizzle with balsamic syrup and garnish with fresh torn basil.
Serves approximately 4.
I’d say I’m pretty well known for my Guinness Ribs recipe. It’s won multiple awards and even won me an awesome Cuisinart Stand Mixer in a radio show recipe contest! How can they not be delicious, they’re simmered in Guinness beer for 2 hours until they’re ready to fall apart, and then they get slathered with SplenDishes Jacked Up BBQ Sauce, which has more Guinness AND whiskey in it! Need I say more? Nope. Here’s the recipe.
- 2 Racks Pork Ribs
- 2 Guinness Beers
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons SplenDishes BBQ Rub
- SplenDishes Jacked Up BBQ Sauce
Place ribs in large stovetop pan, add beer and water.
Cover loosely with aluminum foil and simmer on medium-low for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, meat will be very tender.
Once done, remove from heat and discard liquid. Season both sides of meat carefully, with SplenDishes BBQ Rub, and set aside until ready to BBQ, keeping covered.
Heat BBQ on high; place ribs in baking dish and baste both sides generously with SplenDishes Jacked Up BBQ Sauce.
Place ribs on BBQ, basting a couple of times with SplenDishes Jacked Up BBQ Sauce until sauce caramelizes, approximately 8-10 minutes each side.
Whether you’re camping, hanging out with friends for a cookout or just chillin’ in the house, this Campfire Chicken recipe is versatile enough to be made anywhere. Not only does it have a cool presentation, but you can easily prepare it ahead of time and finish it when you’re guests arrive. It’s like Christmas on a plate, individual foil packages, filled with juicy chicken, tender vegetables and an amazing smoky sauce made from none other than dark beer!
- 6 pieces chicken (any type you like, breasts, thighs, legs etc.)
- 3 corn cobs, cut in half
- 1 pound baby red potatoes
- 1 red onion, roughly chopped
- 6 large carrots, cut into 3rds
- SplenDishes BBQ Rub
- Kosher salt
- 2-3 dark beers
Using about 12” square of heavy duty aluminum foil, place 1 piece of chicken, ½ corn cob, a few baby red potatoes, some onion and carrots into center of foil. Season generously, with about ½ tablespoon of SplenDishes BBQ Rub and a pinch of salt.
Bring edges up leaving center open, making an open like pouch. Place on baking sheet and continue with remaining 5 pouches.
Heat BBQ on medium high heat and place pouches on grill. Pour about ½ beer (or so) into each pouch, so liquid is about ½ way covering chicken and veggies.
Close grill and cook for about 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (this depends on what type of chicken you used (bone-in will take longer). Be sure to check after about 15 minutes for level of liquid and add more if needed.
Remove from grill, place each pouch on serving plates and serve as is.
Makes for a great presentation!
*This dish can also be done in the oven! Place in 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
It wouldn’t be a summer cookout without some good old potato salad and pasta salad, right? These 2 salads, will knock your socks off, and guarantee to impress your guests! First off, we’re grilling the potatoes and there may be bacon involved. It’s my favorite potato salad recipe, so far. And what’s even better, there’s no mayonnaise involved, so you don’t have to worry about it getting gross outside!
Grilled Fingerling Potato Salad with Bacon & Sweet Onion Vinaigrette
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes (you can also use baby red or yellow potatoes)
- 1 ear yellow corn, shucked and cleaned
- 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8-10 Grape Tomatoes
- 1 tbs fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano and flat leaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling veggies
- SplenDishes Bourbon Bacon Salt
- Parsley for garnish
Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and put into a bowl, then shuck and clean corn. Drizzle both with olive oil and sprinkle with SplenDishes Bourbon Bacon Salt.
Heat BBQ to medium heat and place potatoes and corn down. Grill until tender and have light char marks on both sides, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make the dressing, heat a skillet on medium heat and add bacon.
Cook for a minute, then add onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn light golden, about 8 minutes, then add tomatoes.
Stir in fresh herbs and continue to sauté until onions and bacon are caramelized and the tomatoes have slightly flattened, letting the juices create a sauce. Remove from heat.
Stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, stirring to combine.
Remove corn kernels with a sharp knife and add to potatoes.
Stir in dressing, a sprinkle of Bourbon Bacon Salt, and mix well. Taste to make sure you have enough salt.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.
This Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is packed full of fresh flavors, it’s almost like an antipasti platter! Pasta salads are like a base for all your favorite seasonal ingredients to get happy in, toss with a fresh and simple dressing and you have an amazing salad that pairs perfectly with any dish from the grill.
Lemon Basil Pasta Salad
- ¾ pound Cavatelli or corkscrew pasta
- ½ pound Grape Tomatoes
- ½ pound Asparagus
- ¼ pound Italian Salami, cubed
- 1 cup Fresh Mozzarella Balls (bite-size)
- 1 tbs Fresh Basil, chopped
- 1 tsp SplenDishes House Blend (or salt/pepper blend)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tbs Fresh Oregano, finely chopped
- Pinch Fresh Black Pepper
- Pinch Red Chili Flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees(f).
Toss tomatoes and asparagus spears with olive oil and season with House Blend.
Place tomatoes only on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then add asparagus spears and roast additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest. Once cooled, chop asparagus into bite size pieces.
Cook pasta per directions on box, drain and add to large bowl. Stir in salami, mozzarella, tomatoes, asparagus and fresh basil.
To make dressing: Combine white balsamic vinegar, juice and zest of 1 lemon, fresh oregano, black pepper and red chili flakes, then slowly whisk in olive oil until thickened.
Stir dressing into pasta salad and season with additional House Blend and fresh cracked black pepper.
Salad can be served at room temperature or cold.
As I always say, “Life is all about good food, good wine, and good friends”. I hope everyone has an awesome summer, full of grilling and hanging out with friends!