The September Women’s Grilling Clinic was another success! I had the joy of meeting 16 wonderful women, all with a keen interest in learning to grill. We had 3 different grills out so everyone could be exposed to the grilling style that fit their needs. First things first we reviewed the basics on how to start a gas vs. charcoal grill. Gas is as easy as turning the propane tank into the “on” position and knowing which burner is the “starter” for the grill.
For Charcoal, we used a chimney starter to get the charcoal lit without using lighter fluid. Lighter fluid is considered a “no-no” in BBQ circles because it makes your food taste like lighter fluid. By using a charcaol starter, you can avoid all that. A chimney started is a modern day version of a coffee can with holes poked in it that you may have seen used in the past.
Because not everyone could make it, I have posted the fun recipes we made during the clinic! For those interested in attending a clinic- stay tuned for information on the next South Florida Women’s Grilling Clinic in January. There is the possibility that I will take these on the road. Stay tuned!
As I was so busy instructing and being the hostess with the mostess, I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked. However, there will be a video coming soon documenting how much fun we had!!
For those who didn’t get to attend the clinic, no fear- I have posted all of the recipes below for your enjoyment!
GrillGrrrl Clinic Recipe Guide
- 8-10 jalapenos, cored and seeded
- 1lb of bacon
- 1 package of Neufchatel cheese (like cream cheese but lower fat!)
Presoak skewers in water for 20 minutes. Cut the stems off the japalenos and remove the seeds from the inside. For the large peppers, cut in half. Next, stuff the pepper with cream cheese. Wrap in bacon around the pepper so that the cream cheese cannot come out. (depending on the size you may need to cut the bacon). Put the jalapeno popper on the skewer and repeat.
Preheat the grill to medium heat (350) Grill the poppers on direct heat until the bacon becomes crispy and cooked through! This will take at least 15 minutes. The bacon will create flare-ups on the grill so be careful!!
Mini Caprese Pizzas
These mini pizzas are easier to do because it is easier to flip multiple pizza dough disks than it is to do one gigantic piece of dough and also allows you to avoid “hot spots” on the grill that might burn the dough.
This recipe is great tailgating as it requires minimal ingredients and everything can be prepped the night before.
- One package refrigerated pizza dough (or you can make your own)
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced- drizzle slices generously with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Mozzarella cheese- cut into bite size pieces
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
Preheat grill to medium heat. Then, roll out the pizza dough on a flat surface. Using a small bowl or wide mouthed glass, cut the dough into small circles to make the mini pizzas. Roll leftover dough pieces together, flatten and repeat cutting into small circular cutouts.
Brush both sides of the dough with olive oil. Make sure your grill has been sprayed with non stick spray. Grill the dough until grate marks appear, about 5 minutes. Flip the dough, then, with recently grilled side up, add tomato slices, a piece of basil, and the mozzarella.
Grill for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Jerked Cornish Game Hens
Cornish game hen sounds kind of fancy, like something you might serve at a dinner party, but really they are essentially mini-chickens. Because of their slightly higher fat content, the meat is a little juicier and, when cooked correctly (ie: not overcooked so they dry out!) lend themselves to an enjoyable dining experience.
Jerk Marinade Ingredients
- one large bunch scallions
- one red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
- t tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper or 2 habenero ***
- kosher salt
- 4 cornish game hens (1 1/2 to 2 pounds each), butterflied
- freshly ground pepper
Combine first 11 ingredients in a food processor and make a thick sauce. Reserve 1/4 cup of the sauce in the refrigerator for serving with the hens later.
Remove the backbone from the hens so that you can butterfly them. Season the hens all over with salt and pepper; poke a few holes into the meat so the marinade can penetrate the bird. Rub 1 cup jerk sauce all over the hens in a large bowl or pan. Then, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.
Safety goggles are recommended when chopping habaneros or scotch bonnet peppers. First off, chopping will make your nose run, you will use your arm to wipe your nose and the next thing you know you have rubbed chili juice into your eyes! No bueno!!
Preheat the grill to medium. **Note that some recipes call to use a brick covered in foil or a metal press on the grill to flatten the hens and make them extra crispy. I did not do this, I only butterflied the hens and after marinating in the fridge for 2 hours they were pretty flat already.
Cook the hens on the grill until browned on each side (this will vary according to grills and meat size), at least 7-8 minutes per side. While grilling, baste the hens with any extra jerk sauce. The hens will be done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160 degrees.
Grilled romaine is a best kept secret – it gets better and sweeter on the grill. I often do this as a side, but it makes a great mane course with grilled chicken added, seafood, roasted peppers, etc. You can get really creative with this! What is nice is that you can do everything on the grill together which eliminates the need to go back and forth from the kitchen to the grill. I love things that SIMPLIFY!!!
- 2 romaine hearts, outer leaves removed. split them in half so both sides can get grilled
- olive oil
- fresh parmesan or reggiano, shaved in large pieces
- 2 lemon slices
- sea salt
- grated pepper
Drizzle olive oil on the romaine. Put on preheated gas grill set to medium to medium/low heat. grill on each side 4-5 minutes, just long enough to cook but not charring.
Remove from grill. Chop romaine into bite sized pieces. Add 2-3 cups of baby arugula. Drizzle additional olive oil (1-2 tblsp). into the salad. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 tblsp.) Shave the parmesan onto the salad (add as much as your liking- I added about 1/4 cup). Add salt and pepper to taste.
There isn’t much need for dressing as the grilling gives it so much flavor. I usually add additional sea salt/pepper.
Basil Butter Texas Toast
- 1 loaf bread, sliced into 2” pieces
- 1 batch compound butter
Take a loaf of your favorite type of bread and slice 4-6 (or more depending on how many pieces you want to make) 2” inch pieces. Spread them generously with the compound butter.
While grilling your other items (wings, sliders, romaine) put your toast slices on the top shelf of the grill. They will get toasted from the heat of the grill. If
your grill doesn’t have a “top” shelf then put the bread on indirect heat on the grill.
Texas Toast is done when the bread starts to get slight grill marks and butter turns golden brown.
Basil Compound Butter
A compound butter is simply butter whipped together with your favorite ingredients. Get creative and use your own herb/ingredient combination to complement your meal!
- 1 stick butter
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh basil
- Sea salt to taste
Let butter come to room temperature. DO NOT melt in the microwave, it will change the texture of the butter. Combine butter and the rest of the ingredients
in a food processor and pulse to puree the ingredients. Put in an easy to access container and store in the refrigerator.
Congratulations, you just made your first compound butter!!
Cuban Inspired Applewood Pork Skewers
Living in South Florida, Cuban inspiration abounds and I have one of my co-workers to thank for the idea behind these skewers. The pork shoulder meat is readily available in Latin supermarkets because it is traditionally used in the dish Masas de Cerdo Fritas (fried pork chunks). In addition to the meat selection, the cilantro, lime, garlic marinade is what adds the “cuban inspiration” to this dish.
- bamboo skewers- soak in water for 30 minutes beforehand so they don’t burn on the grill
- 1 lb cuban pork chunks – (I find these in the Latin market, use something similar if you can’t find)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt, pepper to taste
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3 limes
- 2 tablespoons McCormick Grillmates Applewood Rub
Cut pork chunks into smaller pieces so they will cook more evenly on the grill. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, juice of the limes, garlic and cilantro and let marinate for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
After the meat has marinated, add the applewood rub and stir into the meat mixture.
Put meat on skewers.
Grill on a medium/high heat grill for 10 minutes total, turning halfway through, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degress.
Herbed Grilled Veggies
- Equal parts Squash, zuccinni
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs
- Sea salt
- Fresh grated parmesan
Slice veggies lengthwise and drizzle with balsamic, olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper. Grill on medium direct heat until char marks form. Once off the grill, sprinkle with fresh grated parm. Great served hot or cold!
Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake
This cake is made in 2 major steps- grilling the pineapple and then baking the cake batter.
- one pineapple- cored and sliced
- jiffy yellow cake mix
- one egg (for the cake mix)
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 cup rum (for the cake mix- substitute rum for the water in the cake mix!)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 jar maraschino cherries
- 2 8″ aluminum pie pan
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Mix batter with egg and rum, then add the nutmeg and ginger. Next, grill the pineapple slices. As the pineapples are grilling, take a grill-friendly saucepan and add a stick of butter, ½ cup rum and the dark sugar. Let this sauce get warm and bubbly on the grill. Stir occasionally.
Once the pineapple slices have nice grill marks on both sides, take them off the grill. Layer the pineapple slices on the 2 pie pans. Put cherries in the middle of each pineapple slice. Pour some of the rum sauce over the pinapple (be careful, the pan will be hot). Now, pour the batter evenly into the 2 pie pans.
Next, create a direct/indirect environment for baking your cake (charcoal to one side or one burner on/off).
Bake cakes about 12-15 minutes or until golden
Pull cakes out off the grill and drizzle the rum glaze over the cakes while it is still warm.
You won’t believe you made these cakes on the grill! Your friends will be surprised and impressed!!