Spice Up That Grill!


Summer barbecuing begs — almost demands — that you spice up whatever food you sizzle on the grill.

Summer barbecuing begs — almost demands — that you spice up whatever food you sizzle on the grill. While a sprinkle of salt and a dash of garlic powder might suffice for fare cooked under the broiler, in the great outdoors of your patio or deck, you need sensational flavor to face the heat of white hot coals.
A smoking hot grill may dry out meat, poultry and fish, which is why a nice wet barbecue sauce or marinade is called for to keep foods moist.
Nothing is more moisturizing than marinating, which entails submerging food in a flavored liquid. This liquid may be a combination of wine, vinegar, citrus juice or olive oil, seasoned with salt and a medley of herbs and spices. Salt is a flavor enhancer and a preservative. If given enough time, acidic liquids tenderize as well as season.
“How long does it take to marinate chicken?” asked a friend.
“How long do you have?” I asked.
If you marinate something 24 hours in advance, the flavors have a chance to soak in, asserting themselves boldly and tenderizing tougher cuts. But if you forgot to marinate tonight’s dinner yesterday, there are ways to speed the process.
Marinating meat and poultry for an hour at room temperature accelerates flavoring. Piercing the surface with a knife point several times allows the marinade to seep in faster.
Applying a barbecue sauce with a brush just before placing food on the grill is a great last-minute moisturizing solution with a high flavor yield. This works particularly well for poultry and meats that do not require the tenderizing effects that a day in a marinade produces.
The best part of summer is the scent of something sputtering on the grill. The aroma of fire meeting seasoning carries for miles.
Wasabi Mayo
For 2 (3⁄4 to 1 pound) pieces of tuna steak
1 tsp. wasabi
2 tsps. light mayonnaise
1⁄8 tsp. garlic powder
kosher salt to taste
Mix together all four ingredients in a small bowl. Spread evenly on the top, bottom and sides of 2 tuna steaks and grill within a half hour.
Serves 2.
Quick Red Sauce
For 1 chicken (cut into 8 pieces) or 2 steaks
1 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup lite soy sauce
1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the three ingredients.
Coat chicken or steak with red sauce and place on grill.
Makes 1 and 1⁄4 cups.
Asian Fusion Marinade
For tofu
1 brick (16 oz.) firm tofu
1 bunch of scallions
1⁄8 cup soy sauce
1⁄8 cup maple syrup
1⁄8 cup toasted sesame oil
1⁄8 cup fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 tsp. garlic powder
Place a colander in the sink. Put the tofu in the colander and cover the top of it with plastic wrap.
Pile 2 unopened cans of food (or an equivalent weight) on top of the covered tofu for 1 to 2 hours to drain liquids.
Using a cake tester or toothpick, poke a dozen holes in the top and bottom of the tofu. Move to a bowl. Reserve.
Rinse scallions under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut off the bulbs at the base of the scallions. Slice off the roots. Chop the bulbs fine. Sprinkle over tofu.
In another bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the tofu. Turn the tofu to thoroughly coat all surfaces.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Marinate for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator before grilling.
Makes 1⁄2 cup of marinade.
Jamaican Marinade
For 1 chicken (cut into 8 pieces) or 2 steaks
2 small onions, chopped fine
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
3⁄4 cup water
kosher salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme, chopped
1⁄4 tsp. paprika
Place chicken or steaks in a large bowl.
Place onions in a blender. Add the wine and water and puree. Pour liquid from blender over the chicken or steak. Coat well on all sides.
Sprinkle evenly with remaining ingredients.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Serves 4.
Linda Morel is a writer based in New York City. Email her at: lindam212@aol.com.


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