Spicy Spring Grilling

Dave DeWitt BBQ, Grilling & Smoking, Seasonal Leave a Comment

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By Dave DeWitt

It’s time to fire up the grill and get ready for warmer weather. Fortunately, unlike parts of California, Bernalillo County, where I live in New Mexico, does not have any air pollution regulations pertaining to smoking or grilling, so we’re free to create smoke in our own back yards. What follows is my favorite menu for grilling at this time of the year, and since I spice up nearly everything I grill, these recipes will have heat that you can vary to your own chile desires.

Some people don’t like lamb, which is a real mystery to me since it’s my favorite meat. So, pork chops can be substituted but you won’t need two per person, but rather only one.  Grilled pork is medium at 160 degrees F.

To complete the grilled meal, grill banana halves, brush them with butter, sprinkle them with cinnamon and when done, serve them with chocolate ice cream.

Grilled Spring Lamb Chops with Kentucky Rub and Balsamic Reduction

Before advances in livestock husbandry made young lamb available all year long, it was especially popular in the spring, when the ewes were born. Still, spring lamb is particularly tender and non-gamy.  I’m using a rub popular in Kentucky, where they barbecue the lamb. Finally, the balsamic reduction finishes the grilling.

8 spring lamb chops, thickly cut

For the Kentucky Lamb Rub:
2 teaspoons commercial chile powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dried onion

For the Balsamic Reduction:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Start the grill or build a charcoal fire in the grill. Wash and dry the chops.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the rub.  Spread the rub evenly over the lamb chops on both sides.

In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients for the balsamic reduction. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and remove the garlic and the rosemary.

Grill the chops over a medium fire (150 degrees F. internal temperature for medium-rare).  When almost done, brush the chops on both sides with the balsamic reduction.  Heat each side of the chops, remove to a platter, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium

Grilled Spring Asparagus with Spicy Lemon Mop

No, you can’t use canned or frozen—this recipe only works with fresh asparagus, so take advantage of these spring asparagus months.  This is an excellent accompaniment to grilled seafood, too.  Note: You can reduce the marinade in a small pan and serve it over the grilled asparagus.

Spicy Lemon Mop:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh preferred
2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped parsley or rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound fresh asparagus

Combine all the ingredients for the mop in a bowl and mix well. Cut off the tough stem ends of the asparagus, rinse and place in non-reactive, shallow bowl. Pour the mop over the asparagus and marinate, at room temperature, for an hour.

Start the grill or a charcoal fire. Grill the asparagus over medium heat for 2 minutes on each side or until done but still crisp.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Mild

Chipotle Twice-Baked Potatoes on the Grill

Use the grill to warm up these potatoes while the lamb chops are grilling.

2 large baking potatoes
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Chopped chives for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bake the potatoes in the oven until just done. Cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the potatoes and, in a bowl, whip them with the milk, chipotles, garlic, and just enough additional milk to hold them together. Place the potatoes back in the skins.

Place the potatoes on the grill, away from the direct flame, and place on the grill.  When the lamb chops are done, the potatoes should be hot.

Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium


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