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Mar 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘grilling’

Recipe: Smoked Trout Dip with Grilled Crostini

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017


Satisfyingly crunchy slices of grilled baguette smothered in a savory rich onion-caper dip elevate this smoked trout appetizer to a new level. It’s a hearty, irresistible starter, ideal for winter get dinner parties and holiday bashes. This one never ceases to evoke smiles and pats on the back from party people who love it as an alternative to cold-smoked salmon, which can be a bit too salty and fishy for some.

Assembling this dish is as simple as prepping a few basic ingredients, many of which are likely already in the cupboard. The mild flavor of apple wood infuses into the trout after just 40 minutes of smoking. The fish itself is phenomenal, but it’s the grilled bread that puts this appetizer over the top. Make sure to purchase a firm and crusty quality baguette, which holds up much better on the grill than more delicate breads like a standard French loaf.


Smoked Trout Dip with Grilled Crostini
8 to 10 servings

3 cups water
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 6-ounce boneless rainbow or ruby-red trout fillets
1 baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 cup olive oil
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup minced red onion
3 Tbsp. capers, drained
Juice of ½ lemon
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
½ Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, diced

Special equipment: 2 cups apple wood chips

• In a large stockpot, stir the water and salt together until the salt dissolves. Soak the trout 3 to 4 hours to brine. Remove, pat dry and place on a sheet of heavy-duty foil.
• Prepare a smoker or charcoal grill for indirect heat.
• Add 1 cup wood chips directly to the coals. Place the trout (still on the foil) over indirect heat, cover and smoke 20 minutes.
• Add the remaining 1 cup wood chips onto the coals, cover and smoke another 20 minutes. Remove and let cool on a serving tray.
• Add more charcoal to bring the grill to medium-high heat.
• Lightly brush each bread slice with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the bread over direct heat 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and grill another 3 to 4 minutes, until brown and crispy. Place on the serving tray alongside the trout.
• In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, onion, capers, lemon juice, mayonnaise and Worcestershire. Use a hand mixer or stick blender to mix until well combined. Spoon into serving bowl and garnish with green onions.
• To serve, smear a crostini with onion-caper dip, then top with a piece of smoked trout.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who writes Grilled

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Recipe: Crabcake Bites

Thursday, September 21st, 2017



Indulging in these decadent little crabcake bites immediately brings me back to my college days in New Orleans when the nights were long and the shellfish plentiful. Since then I’ve have this gnawing desire to fashion a batch of crispy, rich, restaurant-worthy crabcakes – minus any intimidating frills or overly elaborate cooking methods. The concoction I ended up with is a stripped down, no-nonsense version of a classic Baltimore-style crabcake that leans on high quality crab meat amplified by a handful of ingredients easily scrounged from the pantry.

These crowd pleasers are simply prepared on a gas grill in about the time it takes to drain a cold long neck. I suggest the gas grill for this one as the heat is easier to manage and distributes more evenly than charcoal. Most important, don’t skimp on the quality of the crabmeat. Cheap, lousy crab makes this entire exercise pointless. The best bang for your buck is with backfin lump (an 8-ounce package prepped and ready to roll set me back about $13), which contains big pieces of jumbo lump as well as smaller broken up pieces of the body meat.


Crabcake Bites
4 to 6 servings

½ cup mayonnaise, divided
½ beaten egg
1½ Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard, divided
½ Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice, divided
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, divided
½ tsp. hot sauce
Dash paprika
8 oz. back fin or jumbo lump crabmeat, drained and picked over for shells
10 saltines, finely crushed
1 Tbsp. butter

Special equipment: Slotted grill pan

• In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, egg mustard, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Old Bay, hot sauce and paprika. In a separate bowl, gently combine the crabmeat and cracker crumbs, then gently fold into the mayonnaise mixture. (Do not overwork the mixture.) Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
• Prepare a gas grill for medium-high heat direct heat. Melt the butter on the grill pan and heat on the grill 5 minutes.
• Spoon out approximately 1 tablespoon crab mixture, forming each into about 12 golf ball-sized bites. Grill the crabcakes in the grill pan over direct heat 4 minutes. Flip and grill 4 minutes on the other side, until both sides are brown and crispy.
• Remove from the heat and allow them to rest 10 minutes before serving
• Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Old Bay in a small bowl until smooth. Serve as a dipping sauce with the crabcakes.


Photo by Michelle Volansky

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who writes Grilled.

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Recipe: Grilled Carne Asada Skewers

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Recipe: Grilled Carne Asada Skewers

Thursday, August 17th, 2017



Though the phrase literally translates to “roasted meat,” carne asada is much more than a charred hunk of flesh. An asada is the Latin American equivalent of a barbecue, a gathering of hungry folks around an open flame. More than a meal, it’s a communal carnivorous feast. A fitting companion for this outdoor fete, this recipe for carne asada skewers pulls together a simple marinade of traditional ingredients to prep the beef overnight before searing it over a roaring grill.

A 2-pound flank steak will furnish about 14 ¾-inch thick strips hearty enough for a main course. Still, I prefer to tear into these savory skewers as a meaty appetizer with a bowl of avocado crema for dipping. Because they’re quick to make and best served immediately, these skewers are ideal starters handed to guests straight off the grill.


Carne Asada Skewers
4 to 6 servings

Juice of ½ orange
Juice of 1½ limes, divided
6 cloves garlic, divided
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 serrano pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. plus 1 dash kosher salt, divided
½ tsp. plus 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 lb. flank steak
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 dash onion powder

• In a large zip-top bag, combine the orange juice, juice of 1 lime, 4 cloves garlic, cilantro, serrano, vinegar, oil, soy sauce, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and mix to combine. Add the flank steak, seal the bag, coat the meat and refrigerate overnight.
• Soak 15 to 20 bamboo skewers in water at least 1 hour. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for medium-high direct heat.
• Remove the steak from marinade and cut against the grain to make ¾-inch thick strips. Thread the strips onto the skewers in an S-shape.
• Meanwhile, make an avocado crema. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves, then combine them in a medium bowl with the avocado, sour cream, the remaining juice of half a lime, the onion powder and a dash of salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Lightly grease the grill grate. Grill the skewers 7 minutes, then flip and grill another 7 minutes for medium-rare. Remove and serve immediately with avocado crema.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad

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Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Salad

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017



I recently discovered that seared eggplant serves as a phenomenal blank canvas for a grilled salad – a dish I usually dismiss as a trendy waste of produce. But this warm, delightful Mediterranean-style salad loaded with soft feta and drizzled with a tangy lemon-garlic yogurt dressing is more than enough to make me a believer (at least for one night).

Perfect for summer grilling, this warm-weather friendly salad pairs especially well with grilled Italian sausages or a big slab of barbecue pork and a bottle of richest, full-bodied red wine you can get your paws on.

Like many salads, the key to success in this dish is timing. Soaking the eggplant slices too long or grilling them even a few minutes more than the recommended time will result in an overcooked pile of goo. Have all the ingredients prepped before lighting the grill and plan plating, dressing and serving it immediately while the eggplant is still warm and relatively firm.


Grilled Eggplant Salad
3 to 4 servings

8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large eggplant
40 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, for greasing
½ cup chopped basil leaves
3 oz. crumbled feta

• In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
• Fill a large bowl with lightly salted water. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into ¾-inch slices and submerge them in the water. Brine 20 to 30 minutes.
• Thread the tomatoes on metal or wood skewers.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Lightly spray or brush olive oil on the grill grate. Grill the eggplant slices and tomato skewers over direct heat 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
• Divide the eggplant slices among the serving plates. Top each with grilled tomatoes, then drizzle with the yogurt dressing and garnish with the basil and feta. Serve immediately.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

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Make This: Grilled Mussels Packets

Saturday, July 1st, 2017



It’s summer. Do not, I repeat, do not turn on your oven. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium, direct heat. Stack 2 18-inch heavy foil sheets on a work surface.

In the center of the foil, place 1 cup ¾-inch diced new potatoes, 6 mussels, 4 2-inch pieces shucked corn on the cob, 1 quartered hot Italian sausage link or chorizo, ½ cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon tomato paste and ½ teaspoon each freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt and smoked paprika.

Pull up the sides of the foil and pour in ½ cup white wine. Seal the packets by bringing up opposite sides of the foil and tightly folding them down, leaving a bit of room for the mussels to open. Fold the two ends closed and grill about 10 minutes.

When the mussels have opened, remove and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with grilled bread.

Photo by Julia Calleo

Grilled: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017



Jalapenos don’t just deserve respect – they demand it. I learned this the hard way after biting into one of these grilled appetizers that still had a few seeds hidden inside. But when prepped correctly, jalapenos go from dangerous to delicious in a matter of minutes.

The satisfying smell of bacon as it pops and sizzles over an open flame is reason enough to get on board with these taste bud-blasting starters, which are at once creamy, savory, crisp, cheesy, zesty and just the right amount of hot. Peppers are truly at home on the grill, and this recipe is a great way to showcase them – and wrapping them in bacon certainly doesn’t hurt.

Wear some gloves while prepping the peppers and keep several cold beers on hand for consumption while grilling. You’ll thank me.


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos
4 to 6 servings

10 medium jalapenos*
8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
3 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1½ lb. bacon (about 20 pieces) bacon

Special Equipment
Slotted grill pan
Toothpicks soaked in water 30 minutes

• Prepare a charcoal or gas hill for direct, medium-high heat.
• Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the stem, seeds and white membrane and discard.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, garlic and cilantro. Fill the cavity of each pepper half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture.
• Starting at the top of each pepper half, tightly wrap each with 1 slice bacon, covering as much of the pepper and cheese as you can. Secure the end with toothpicks.
• Place the peppers cheese side up on a slotted grill pan. Place the pan over direct heat and grill 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the peppers every 5 minutes, until bacon is crispy. Remove the toothpicks and serve immediately.

* When working with hot peppers, wear disposable latex gloves to avoid irritating your skin.

Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and former Nightlife critic. 

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Grilled: Smashed Chicken

Thursday, May 11th, 2017



A whole bird roasted over an open flame is one of life’s simplest pleasures. This brick-smashed chicken recipe keeps it that way – simple, straightforward and satisfying. Rather than crushing the bird, the heated bricks lock in the flavor and help cook both sides more evenly. The key to this method is indirect grilling following by a swift, controlled sear to crisp the skin over direct medium-low heat. The result: a savory, piping hot chicken with skin so crunchy, it begs to be torn off and enjoyed as an appetizer.


Smashed Chicken
3 to 4 servings

1 3½- to 4-lb. whole chicken, giblets removed
3 Tbsp. room-temperature butter, divided
1½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for greasing
Half a lemon
1 head garlic, halved crosswise

Special equipment: 2 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. Place the bricks next to the charcoal chimney to preheat.
• Spatchcock the chicken by using sharp kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone and remove it. Fold the chicken open like a book, cracking the breastbone so the chicken lays flat on the work surface (you can ask your butcher to do this).
• Rub the chicken all over with 1½ tablespoons butter, then generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• Place chicken skin side-down over indirect heat. Use a heatproof glove or heavy-duty tongs to place 1 brick atop each half. Cover and grill 25 minutes.
• Set the bricks to the side, flip the chicken and place the bricks back atop the bird. Cover and cook 25 minutes.
• Place the lemon half and garlic halves over indirect heat.
• Brush the side of the grill over direct heat with vegetable oil. Remove the bricks and place the chicken skin side-down, cover and sear 10 minutes.
• Remove the chicken, lemon and garlic from heat. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, remove the grilled garlic cloves from their skins. Melt the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter in a small heatproof bowl. Whisk in the juice from the grilled lemon and 4 grilled garlic cloves.
• Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve with the remaining garlic cloves.


Matt Berkley is a contributing writer for Sauce Magazine. 

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Grilled: Barbecue Braised Beef Pot Roast

Thursday, December 29th, 2016



There’s nothing more satisfying on a bone-chilling night than a heaping plate of warm comfort food like braised pot roast. Seared over a mighty flame, then braised in savory broth, this recipe transforms an inexpensive cut of beef into a king’s feast. The key to this dish is temperature control: Aim for a light simmer rather than a rolling boil, and maintain the indirect heat by adding a handful of fresh coals every half-hour, along with some extra stock when the liquid level gets too low.


Barbecue Braised Beef Pot Roast
6 to 8 servings

3 lbs. boneless round top roast, divided into 3 equal pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 cups beef stock, divided
5 cloves garlic, chopped
½ Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. flour
Chopped parsley for garnish
Sour cream for serving

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. When the coals are calm and light gray, about 20 minutes, sear the beef on all sides, turning occasionally to prevent charring, about 10 minutes. Remove from the grill.
• Place a large cast-iron Dutch oven directly on top of coals. Add the vegetable oil and saute the onion, celery and bacon until the vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the beef, 1 cup stock, the garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Cover the Dutch oven and move it to the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook 30 minutes, undisturbed.
• Check the level of the broth, adding more as needed to maintain 1 inch of liquid in the Dutch oven. Add 5 to 6 pieces of fresh charcoal to maintain the heat level. Cover the grill and cook 2 more hours, checking the broth level and adding 5 to 6 of pieces fresh charcoal every 30 minutes.
• Remove the Dutch oven from the grill, remove the meat and let rest. Add the flour to the braising liquid and whisk to thicken. Let cool slightly.
• To serve, slice the roast and garnish with sauce, parsley and sour cream.


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Grilled: Curried Barbecue Spare Ribs

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016



These are easily the best ribs I have ever made. Individual ribs are seared and cooked in a bath of colorful Asian barbecue sauce over indirect heat. As someone who has royally screwed up countless slabs of ribs using the old dry-rubbed, slow-smoked method, I loved that this method was entirely no-fuss – zero marinade time, zero brining, zero smoking and zero headaches. The unlikely secret to this dish is the curry powder, which creates a rich, savory sweet sauce that drenches each rib.


Curried Barbece Spare Ribs
6 servings

½ cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
2 large garlic cloves, diced
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
½ tsp. sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar
4 lbs. pork spare ribs (or baby back), cut into single ribs
Diced green onions, for garnish

• In a large bowl, make a barbecue sauce by whisking together the ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, curry powder, rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, Sriracha, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat. Place a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan on the cool side of the grill.
• Sear the ribs over direct heat, flipping occasionally to avoid flare-ups, 12 to 15 minutes. Place the ribs in the cast-iron skillet and brush each with a layer of barbecue sauce. Cover the grill and cook over indirect heat 45 minutes.
• Brush the ribs with another layer of barbecue sauce. Add about 15 pieces of charcoal to the fire. Cover the grill and cook over indirect heat another 45 minutes.
• Remove the skillet from grill. Brush the ribs with the remaining barbecue sauce. Cover the skillet with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Serve garnished with the green onions.


More Grilling Recipes 

Smoked Trout Chowder

Stuffed Greek Burgers

Korean Pork Steaks

Grilled Halloumi


Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and the Nightlife critic. 

Grilled: Smoked Trout Chowder

Thursday, October 27th, 2016



Smoked trout is a rich, delectable and incredibly versatile ingredient. Infused with rustic wood smoke, these fillets are perfect in dips or salads, or served as a cold appetizer or hot entree. They also make for flavor-packed centerpiece in this simple chowder recipe. Rich and creamy, soul-warming chowder is perfect for a fall afternoon.

Save yourself the headache of deboning whole trout and opt for boneless rainbow fillets. I use apple wood chips here, which produce light and sweet smoke. They are a great option for preparing trout on a smoker or a conventional charcoal grill.


Smoked Trout Chowder
4 to 6 servings

3 boneless rainbow trout fillets (about 1¼ lbs. total)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1½ cups chicken broth
1½ cups water
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ cup minced chives, for garnish

Special equipment: 3 cups apple wood chips

• Prepare a smoker or charcoal grill for low, indirect heat.
• When the fire is ready, add 2 cups apple wood chips atop the coals. Place the trout on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over indirect heat. Cover and smoke 20 minutes.
• Add another 1 cup apple wood chips atop the coals, cover and smoke another 20 minutes. Remove the trout and let rest 10 minutes.
• Separate the skin from the trout and place the meat in a small bowl. Discard the skin. Cut the smoked trout into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
• In Dutch oven or large stockpot, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until browned and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken broth, water, potatoes, celery and garlic and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes.
• Add the milk, flour, Worcestershire and salt and bring the chowder to a boil over high heat. Stir in the smoked trout and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
• Before serving, warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the chowder simmers. Serve in large bowls and garnish with chives.


Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and the Nightlife critic. 

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