Bison Burgers with Crispy Onion Strings

Bison Burgers with Crispy Onion Strings are a juicy, crunchy delight. The lean bison meat cooked to medium rare is rich and juicy. A nice slice of blue cheese and homemade crispy onion strings are the perfect garnishes for this burger.

Bison Burgers with Crispy Onion Strings
(Mark Kelly, 2017)

1 lb. ground bison meat
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt
Brioche hamburger buns
Blue cheese for garnish

1 large sweet onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cooking spray

Combine the bison meat, egg, and bread crumbs in a medium bowl and form 4 quarter-pound patties. Season with salt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling.

Preheat air fryer (a conventional oil fryer can be used) to 325F.

To make the Crispy Onion Strings: In a measuring cup, combine the flour and baking powder. Break the onions into separate half slices to allow the flour mixture to coat each piece. Put the onion slices in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pour half of the flour mixture over the onions. Seal the bag and toss to coat. Pour the remaining half of the flour, seal and toss again. Pour contents on to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spray with a generous coating of cooking spray. Working in three batches, place the onions in the fryer basket and spray an addition coating of cooking spray. Cook for 14 minutes, shaking after 4, 8 and 12 minutes. Raise the temperature to 360F. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, taking care not burn the strings. Dump the onion strings on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the other two batches. Set aside.

Heat the grill for medium-high indirect cooking. Place the bison patties in the middle of the grill over the unlit section. Grill for about 4 minutes, until grill marks appear. Flip and cook until internal temperature reaches 125F for medium-rare doneness, about 3 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of grilling, toast the hamburger buns.

Serve the burger while warm with a generous slice of blue cheese and the onion strings as a garnish.

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Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad

Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad was chosen and mostly prepared by my lovely wife. The garden fresh cucumber and tomatoes in the salad are a nice accompaniment to the lightly marinated, grilled chicken which is all topped off with a fresh homemade tzatziki sauce.

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Refreshing Greek-Style Chicken Salad
(Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Fine Cooking, August-September 2016)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

For the salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tzatziki sauce
1/2 English cucumber, coarsely grated
2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small bunch dill, leaves finely chopped
2 sprigs mint, leaves cut into chiffonade
Pinch of kosher salt

4 whole-wheat pitas, toasted

To prepare the tzatziki sauce: Place the ingredients in a medium bowl and fold together until thoroughly combined. Season with salt. Refrigerate until serving.

To prepare the salad: In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olives. Toss with olive oil and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix together marinade by combining the lemon zest, garlic, oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Pound the chicken breasts out to 1/4-inch thickness. Rub with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to a hour. Prepare the gas grill for medium-high direct grilling. Drizzle the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes without moving the cutlets. Flip and grill for another 2 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove to a plate, squirt with lemon and top with parsley and set aside to rest. Grill the pita on both sides, about 1 minute per side.

Slice the chicken into 1-inch-wide strips. Serve the chicken on the pita with the salad alongside and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce.

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Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli

Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli combines the mild spiciness of the the coffee-rub with a the smooth, sweet texture of the Garlic-Miso Aioli.

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Coffee-Rubbed Beef Roast with Garlic – Miso Aioli
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of ZestMaine.com, Sept.-Oct. 2016)

Serves 6

1 2 1/2 to 3 lb Tri-Tip or Bottom Round Sirloin Roast

For the rub:
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup finely ground espresso
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp dry mustard powder
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp dry ginger
1 tsp cayenne

For the Garlic-Miso Aioli:
1 1/2 cups prepared mayonnaise
1/2 cup red miso paste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp mirin
1/2 sugar

Thoroughly mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Pat the roast dry. Place half of the rub in a large zip-top plastic bag. Massage the rub into the meat. Add the remaining rub over the top of the roast and continue to massage until thoroughly coated. Refrigerate over night.

To prepare aioli: Combine the aioli ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate until use and for up to 1 week.

Remove roast from the refrigerator and let stand for at least an hour before grilling. Heat gas grill for direct high heat cooking. Sear the roast on all sides. Turn off middle burner and reduce heat to medium. Cook the roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand before carving.

Served sliced beef with a generous dollop of Garlic-Miso Aioli.

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Smoked Potatoes and Sweet Onions with Caraway Butter Sauce

Smoked Potatoes and Sweet Onions with Caraway Butter Sauce is an interesting side dish that allows you to bring in smoked flavor to your barbecue without smoking your entree.

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Smoked Potatoes and Sweet Onions with Caraway Butter Sauce
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit, July 2016)

Serves 4

2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz. Cipolline onions, unpeeled
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 scallion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black peppers

Prepare gas grill for medium-high, indirect heat. Place smoker box with soaked wood chips over the lone lit burner.

Toss potatoes and onions in oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes and onions on the grates above the unlit portion of the grill. Smoke potatoes and onions, turning occasionally, until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. The onions may be done sooner than the potatoes. If so, remove them to a covered bowl and keep warming oven.

While the potatoes and onions are smoking, prepare the sauce by cooking the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally until it is beginning to brown and smell nutty, about 4 minutes. Add the caraway seeds; let cool slightly, then stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange smoked potatoes and onions on a platter and drizzle with the Caraway Butter Sauce. Top with scallions.

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Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Aioli

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Aioli is a perfect summer barbecue side because most of the work is done ahead of time and it can be finished over a hot grill after you have grilled the entree.

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Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Aioli
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 4 – 6

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
6 large garlic cloves, roasted, cooled pulp removed and chopped
6 large whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 lemons, scrubbed and halved
6 large artichokes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing grill grates

To make Garlic Aioli: In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, roasted garlic pulp, lemon juice, garlic powder, and cayenne. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The aioli can be made a day ahead.

To par-cook the artichokes: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole garlic cloves. Squeeze the lemon halves over the pot and drop them into the water. Add the whole artichokes to the water and bring it back to a simmer. Cook covered until the bases of the artichoke stems feel tender when poked with a knife or skewer, about 45 minutes. Drain the artichokes and and transfer them to a cutting board to cool. The artichokes can be boiled up to 2 days ahead of serving.

Preheat grill for direct cooking over high heat. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and scoop out the choke. Brush the cut sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Oil the grill grates. Grill the artichokes uncovered, cut side up, about 5 minutes or until browned and lightly charred. Flip the artichokes over and cook until grill marks appear, about another 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper before serving. Serve warm with Garlic Aioli for brushing or dipping.

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A Pair of Grilled Skewer Dishes

Sweet Spicy Grilled Bacon Skewers with Scallion-Ginger Relish is a great appetizer or the bacon skewers can be combined with other skewers meats, like Soy-Basted Chicken with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle as a meal. In either case they are perfect for an Independence Day cookout.

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Sweet Spicy Grilled Bacon Skewers with Scallion-Ginger Relish
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of FoodandWine.com, June 2016)

Makes (6) 12-inch skewers

6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 Tbsp light brown sugar, divided
Kosher salt
4 Tbsp
Vegetable oil (for brushing grill)
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha
1 1/2 lbs. extra-thick-cut bacon
Lime wedges for serving

To make Scallion-Ginger Relish: In a medium bowl, whisk together scallions, serrano, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Season with salt and refrigerate until serving.

To prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, and Sriracha. Can be made up to a week ahead of time. Cover and chill.

Prepare gas grill for indirect cooking with only one or two burners on. Thread the bacon onto skewers, folding back and forth in accordion style and grill over indirect heat, turning every minute or so until brown and crispy. Be patient and take care to minimize flare-ups. Once crispy, baste with glaze every 30 seconds or so, until lacquered and slightly sticky, about 3 minutes. Serve with Scallion-Ginger Relish and lime wedges.

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Soy-Basted Chicken with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of FoodandWine.com, June 2016)

Makes (6) 12-inch skewers

4 Tbsp toasted white and black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp thinly sliced chives
1 Tbsp cracked red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Kosher salt
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup mirin
2/3 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp Sriracha
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken strips
Vegetable oil (for the grill)

To make Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle: Mix sesame seeds, chives, red pepper, and lemon zest in a small bowl to combine; season with salt.

Combine the brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and Sriracha in a large bowl. Marinate the chicken strips, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours or overnight. When skewering the chicken, remove most of the marinade to a sauce pan and cook over medium-high heat until it boils and then simmer until it is reduced by half and thickened. Remove glaze from heat and reserve for basting.

Prepare gas grill for indirect heat with only one or two burners on. Oil grates. Grill over direct heat until browned and beginning to char. Move to indirect heat and continue to grill glazing turning every 30 seconds until cooked through and coated with glaze, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with Sesame-Citrus Sprinkle.

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Charred Caprese Sandwich

Charred Caprese Sandwich can be served as an appetizer, sandwich entree or a unique side salad.

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Charred Caprese Sandwich
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit, June 2016)

Serves 2 – 4

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 baguette, split in half lengthwise then cut in half crosswise
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 cup parsley, torn
Freshly ground black pepper
Torn fresh mozzarella (about 4 oz.)

To make spread for the sandwich: whisk together mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.

To make the dressing: combine the shallot, garlic and vinegar in a medium bowl (charred tomatoes will be added later).

Brush the cut baguette with oil and grill until beginning to char and grill marks have formed. In a medium bowl toss the cherry tomatoes with oil. Put a cast on skillet on the grill over high heat. Add the tomatoes. Grill the tomatoes shaking the skillet frequently, until blistered, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the dressing.

To serve: dress the cut side of each grilled baguette with spread. Place tomatoes on top, add pieces of the mozzarella and herbs. Spoon a bit of dressing over each piece and serve immediately.

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Sweet and Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Shrimp has a little kick from the sweet chile sauce that is used to glazed the shrimp as they grill.

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Sweet and Spicy Grilled Shrimp
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs large (16-20) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
2 Tbsp sweet chile sauce
2 Tbsp sweet and sour sauce
1 Tbsp powdered ginger
1 Tbsp dried cilantro leaves
1/4 cup shrimp stock
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

In a medium saucepan over medium heat bring the sauce ingredients to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Skewer the shrimp using parallel skewers to keep the butterflied shrimp flat during grilling. Brush both sides of the shrimp with oil.

Heat grill for medium direct cooking. Cook the shrimp for 4 minutes. Turn the skewers over and brush the grilled side with the sweet-spicy sauce. Grill for another 3 minutes. Turn the shrimp back over and brush the remaining side with sauce. Grill for 1 more minute. Remove and serve hot along with grilled vegetables and your favorite starch.

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Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers

Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers are really moist and juicy and the seasoning gives them a kefta kabob-like flavor. This recipe makes six 1/4-pound burgers. Once the patties are formed extras can be frozen for future use if you aren’t planning to cook them all right away.

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Pale Ale Beef and Lamb Burgers
(Mark Kelly, 2016)

Serves 6

1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 lb. ground lamb
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup craft brewed pale ale, at room temperature

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Form six 1/4-pound patties. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the patties to firm up.

Heat grill for medium-high direct grilling. Season each of the patties with a pinch of salt. Grill for 3 minutes per side, turning once, for medium-rare. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

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Sixteen-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce

Sixteen-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce matches spicy grilled poultry with tangy sauce to create a flavor explosion. The sauce is basically a very rich honey-mustard vinaigrette with very coarse pepper in it. Serve with grilled vegetables or over a bed of greens.

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Sixteen-Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay’s Grill It, 2008)

Serves 4

4 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 tsp cayenne
Kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil

Black Pepper Vinegar Sauce
(Makes 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
4 tsp honey
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all of the sauce ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. With the processor running slowly drizzle in oil until fully combined and emulsified. Keep at room temperature if using immediately. Refrigerate for 2 – 3 days in advance. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

To make the rub: Combine all of the spices in a small bowl whisking to thoroughly combine.

Heat grill for medium-high direct grilling.

Bring chicken breasts up to room temperature and pat dry. Brush both sides of each breast with oil and season with salt. Cover both sides of each breast with the rub and let stand for 15 minutes before grilling. Grill for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and slightly charred. Remove to a platter and tent the chicken with foil. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

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