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Grilling for Father’s Day

By Ann Hattes
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Authors Dave Kelly and John Hogan debunk myths and misinformation around selecting and cooking meat, explaining how to identify and use different cuts, and why and when free-range and grass-fed is better.

The art of grilling is as old as fire and more popular than ever. Whether it’s the convenience of a gas grill or the traditionalism and taste of charcoal, the right recipes paired with the right techniques can create delicious and unforgettable meals. Grill to Perfection (Page Street Publishing) by barbecue champions Andy Husbands and Chris Hart, offers a wide range of recipes featuring fish, pork, lamb, poultry, beef, veggies, drinks and desserts, as well as tips and techniques.

“Because temperatures can vary dramatically in a grill, it’s important to develop a feel for the fire rather than rigidly follow recipes” the authors note. Once you master the temperatures and timing on a grill, the sky’s the limit.”

Weber’s Big Book of Burgers (Sunset Books, by Jamie Purviance features 160 recipes covering the entire burger category, including burgers, hot dogs, brats, sausages, sides and drinks. “This book pushes burger boundaries,” says Purviance. “After all, a burger is not so much a rigid recipe as it is an idea ready for improvisation.” In addition to ground beef, the author explores creative takes on burgers using bison, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb seafood, lentils, quinoa and many more ingredients. The book also explores famous regional burger favorites from Santa Fe with the green chile cheeseburger, to Columbia, South Carolina’s, own pimento cheeseburger.  

Recipes are only as good as their ingredients, especially when it comes to meat. Great Meat (Fair Winds Press) is a meat-lovers guide to understanding and working with beef, pork, poultry and game. Authors Dave Kelly and John Hogan debunk myths and misinformation around selecting and cooking meat, explaining how to identify and use different cuts, and why and when free-range and grass-fed is better. Kelly is the chief butcher at one of the premiere butchers in Great Britain and Hogan is a chef at Keefer’s in Chicago, one of the top steakhouses in the country.  

Marinades, an alternative to slow cookers, can turn everyday food into big flavor dinners. “With the right marinade, you can dress up meats, chicken, fish, or vegetables in the morning, pop the food in the fridge for the day, and finish it all off with a quick broil, grill, microwave, or sauté when you get home,” says Lucy Vaserfirer, author of Marinades (Harvard Common Press). Each of the 200 marinades is accompanied by a recipe that shows how to use it. They range from oil and vinegar-based to citrus, fruit and herb-based, even milk and cream-based, with several chapters of marinades ranging geographically across world cuisines. There are coffee, soda, beer, wine and spirit marinades too.

For dads, granddads and all those who enjoy chile peppers, there’s a new spicy warm spirit from Mexico, Ancho Chile Liqueur ( It’s inspired by a home concoction, a 1920’s-era Reyes family recipe using the poblano chile, which when dried becomes an ancho chile. The multi-layered flavors of spicy, savory and sweet make Ancho Chile Liqueur unique as a drink on its own, but also a versatile mix in cocktails. Mix with tequila and enjoy; use instead of rum in a daiquiri; even try in hot chocolate.

For whisky aficionados the award-winning Taiwanese whisky, Kavalan, arrived in the United States this spring. With the warm sub-tropical climate of Taiwan, the whiskies mature faster than their Scottish, American and Japanese counterparts, and the distillery’s location offers an abundant supply of cold spring water plus proximity to the Pacific Ocean resulting in ocean mists and mountain winds circulating around each cask. Accounting for the tastes of Taiwanese drinkers, Kavalan whiskies boast fruitier flavor profiles, thanks to modifications such as stainless steel fermentation tanks, oil-based fuel instead of peat, and ex-sherry, port and bourbon barrels for aging.


Grilled Shrimp, Romaine and Radicchio Salad

(Courtesy of "Grill to Perfection," Page Street Publishing), Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Grilling lettuce adds great char flavors to a salad. The key is to sear the leaves without wilting them too much. A perfectly grilled shrimp should have a slight snap to it and be sweet and juicy. Juice of 2 lemons


1/3 cup olive oil

1 shallot, minced

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

4 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Olive oil, for grilling

3 to 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 head romaine, outer leaves removed, quartered through the core (no need to cut off the end)

1 small head radicchio, loose leaves removed, quartered through the core (no need to cut off the end)

1 wedge (about 4 oz.) Parmesan or your favorite hard cheese, for garnish


Build a hot, direct fire.

Vinaigrette: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, parsley, basil and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

When you can hold your hands over the fire for no more than 3 to 5 seconds, clean the grill grate. Lightly oil the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 1 minute, rotate 90 degrees and then flip. Continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until the outer skin is pinkish red with a slight char on it and the split side has just turned from translucent to white. Remove the shrimp from the grill, place in the vinaigrette bowl and toss.

Salad: Lightly oil the romaine and radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Place the romaine quarters on the grill and cook for 1 minute per side (there are 3 sides), until it is slightly charred and lightly warmed. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop the leaves; discard the cores. Scatter the leaves over the serving plate. Repeat with the radicchio, and scatter the leaves over the romaine. Spoon the shrimp in the vinaigrette evenly over the lettuces. Using a vegetable peeler, shave some Parmesan over the salad. Serve immediately.



Dirty Martini Marinade

(Courtesy of Marinades, Harvard Common Press). Yield: about 2/3 cup (enough for 4 to 6 servings).

Olive brine and vodka are the main ingredients or substitute gin for the vodka.


1-gallon zip-top bag

¼ cup olive brine (from a jar of green olives)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons vodka

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry vermouth

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon onion powder

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper


Measure the olive brine, oil, vodka, lemon juice, vermouth, Worcestershire, garlic and onion powder into a 1-gallon zip-top bag and shake or squeeze until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Suggested uses: cubes of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or beef sirloin (marinated 2 hours to overnight), skewered and grilled; salmon fillets (marinated 20 to 45 minutes), baked en papillote.


Ann Hattes has over 25 years experience writing about both travel and food for publications both in the US and internationally. A senior living in Wisconsin, she’s a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association and the Midwest Travel Writers Association.

Meet Ann