2015-07-10 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Get it (off the grill) while it’s hot
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

When I take an evening walk around Kennebunk, I love the fragrance of backyard barbecues. My all-time favorite is hamburgers and hot dogs, but sometimes I like to kick it up a notch and serve something a little special.

I’ve included some of those of recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Applewood-smoked chicken with dijon rub

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened; 8 teaspoons Dijon mustard; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme; 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided; ½ teaspoon sea salt; 2 (3 ½ pound) whole chickens; 2 cups Applewood chips; and cooking spray.

Combine butter, mustard, thyme, ¼ teaspoon pepper and salt in a small bowl. Remove and discard giblets and necks from chickens.

Using a heavy knife or kitchen shears, cut backbones out of the chickens; discard. Open chickens flat and place on a large cutting board, skin side up. Flatten chickens with the heel of your hand.

Starting at the neck loosen skin from breast and legs. Rub butter mixture evenly under loosened skin. Lift wing tips up and over back. Rub chicken skins with any remaining butter mixture.

Cover chickens and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling. If using gas, heat one side to medium-high and leave one side with no heat. If using a charcoal grill, arrange hot coals on one side of the charcoal grate, leaving other side empty. Maintain temperature at 300 degrees. Pierce bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife; add wood chips to pan. Place pan on grill rack over heated side of grill. Heat wood chips for 10 minutes or until chips begin to smoke.

Sprinkle chickens with remaining ¾ teaspoon pepper. Place chickens, meaty side down, on grill coated with cooking spray over unheated side of grill. Cover and cook at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Turn chickens over, moving them over direct-heat side of grill. Cover and cook at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Gently turn chickens over; cover and cook at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165 degrees. Remove from grill. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves eight.

Spiced-rubbed pork skewers with tomatoes

1 tablespoon brown sugar; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; ½ teaspoon garlic powder; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ¼ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon ground cumin; 1/8 of a teaspoon ground ginger; 1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed; 1 teaspoon chile paste (Asian section of supermarket); 16 cherry tomatoes; cooking spray; 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce; and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil.

Prepare grill.

Combine first seven ingredients. Cut pork in half crosswise; cut each half into 8 lengthwise strips. Combine pork strips and chili paste in a shallow dish, toss to coat. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over pork; toss to coat. Let pork stand 10 minutes.

Thread 1 pork strip and 1 tomato onto each of 16 (10-inch) skewers. If using wooden skewers soak in water for 30 minutes before threading and grilling.

Place skewers on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Combine soy sauce and oil. Drizzle over pork.

Serves four.

Summer herbed grilled shrimp

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley; ¼ cup finely chopped red onion; 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind; 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano; 1 teaspoon minced garlic; 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined; 2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided; 1 tablespoon honey; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ¼ teaspoon sea salt; cooking spray; and 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.

Combine shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, honey, pepper and salt in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.

Arrange shrimp on grill rack, coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from grill.

Stir remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil and vinegar into herb mixture. Top shrimp with herb mixture or toss all together.

Serves eight.

You are now all set for some delightful summer grilling. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com

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