Recipes: 'Mastering the Grill'

Herb Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Burger i i
Herb Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Burger

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These recipes appear in Mastering the Grill: The Owner's Manual for Outdoor Cooking by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim, Chronicle Books 2007.

Herb Cheese-Stuffed Garlic Burgers

 

The widespread availability of herb-flavored cream cheeses makes this burger a snap. You can vary the results by moving between a mild, creamy Boursin, a more assertive goat cheese rolled in fresh herbs, or a Brie encased in herbs. The only essential thing when stuffing a burger with cheese is to make sure that the edges are sealed well, to keep the cheese from leaking out during cooking.

 

The Grill

Gas: Direct heat—medium-high (425° to 450°F)

Clean, oiled grate

Charcoal: Direct heat—light ash

12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)

Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting

Wood: Direct heat—light ash

12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep

Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire

Grill Tools and Equipment: Long-handled spatula

Timing

Prep: 8 minutes

Grill: About 10 minutes

Makes 6 servings

 

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef chuck, 85% lean

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons herbed garlic cream cheese, such as Boursin

Oil for coating grill grate

6 hamburger buns, split

 

1. Heat the grill as directed above.

2. Using your hands, mix the beef, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 12 patties no more than 1/2 inch thick.

3. Put a portion (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) of cheese in the center of each of 6 patties; top with the remaining patties and press together, taking care to seal the edges well. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.

4. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 9 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes, for medium-done (150°F, slightly pink). Add a minute per side for well-done (160°F).

5. To toast the buns, put them cut sides down directly over the fire for the last minute of cooking.

6. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve on the buns. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating.

 

Getting Creative: Because these burgers are stuffed and seasoned, it is best to keep your garnishes simple: a slice of ripe beefsteak tomato, a mound of sautéed onions, a leaf of romaine lettuce, a smear of honey mustard, or a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

Smoke-Roasted Bell Peppers

Smoke-Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Garden Vegetables

 

This is one of the most colorful dishes that will ever grace your grill. Orange, yellow, red, and green bell peppers are stuffed with golden corn kernels, red tomatoes, green zucchini, and chopped fresh herbs. Breadcrumbs hold the filling together and develop a lightly toasted top crust as the stuffed peppers are grill-roasted via indirect heat. A few handfuls of wood chips infuse the vegetables with a subtle, smoky aroma.

 

The Grill

Gas: Indirect heat—medium (325º to 350ºF)

3- or 4-burner grill—middle burner(s) off

2-burner grill—1 side off

Clean, oiled grate

Charcoal: Indirect heat—medium ash

Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)

Clean, oiled grate on medium setting

Grill Tools and Equipment

2 cups apple or oak wood chips or chunks

Smoker box or foil packet, if using a gas grill (see page 000)

Long-handled tongs or long-handled spatula

Timing

Soak wood chips: 1 hour

Prep: 25 minutes

Grill: 20 to 30 minutes

Makes 8 small servings

 

Ingredients

2 medium red bell peppers

3 medium mixed bell peppers (yellow, orange, green)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 medium tomato, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, oregano, basil, or a mix)

1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs

Oil for coating grill grate

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

 

1. Heat the grill as directed above. Soak the wood chips or chunks in water for 1 hour.

2. Seed, core, and cut one of the red bell peppers into 1/4-inch dice. Cut the remaining bell peppers in half lengthwise right through the stem, leaving a bit of stem attached to each half. Cut out the cores, seeds, and ribs from the interiors of the peppers, leaving the stem intact. Sprinkle the insides of the peppers with about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chopped bell pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash. Sauté the vegetables until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the corn and tomato and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in herbs, breadcrumbs, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook and stir until the breadcrumbs soak up most of the liquid in the pan. Remove from the heat and spoon the filling equally into the pepper cavities.

4. When the grill is hot, put the soaked wood chips or chunks over the coals on both sides of the grill. If using gas, put the wood in a smoker box or in a perforated foil packet directly over one of the heated burners.

5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the stuffed peppers over the unheated part of the grill, cover, and cook until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.

6. Remove the peppers to a large serving platter. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, if using.

Getting Creative: Shaved ricotta salata cheese makes a good alternative to the Parmesan.

 

Tips:

* For 2 cups fresh corn kernels, you'll need 3 to 4 ears of corn. Remove the husks and silks, then stand the cobs upright on a cutting board with the fat end down. Cut straight downward all around the cob, cutting the kernels from the cob. For extra flavor, use the dull side of your knife blade to scrape the remaining corn and juices or "milk" from the cobs.

* Use a melon baller to quickly scrape the ribs from the bell peppers.

* Save time (but sacrifice some flavor) by replacing the breadcrumbs, herbs, salt, and pepper in the stuffing with seasoned dried breadcrumbs.

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