Entree Recipes

While you may be used to grabbing pre-formed hamburgers and the same old hot dogs for a July 4th BBQ, maybe this year you”d like to try something a little different for your dinner. Here are three great entre recipes to try.

Two tips about grilling hamburgers: when forming patties, make a depression in the center about 1/4-inch deep. Then when the center puffs up it will make a flat surface instead of a balled up burger that eludes your condiments. Next, avoid the common practice of squashing the patties with your spatula as they grill; all this does is squeeze juices out, making for a dry burger. If you”ve followed the first tip, you shouldn”t have to flatten them as they cook.

Blue-Cheese-Stuffed Burgers (serves 4)

Here”s a great twist on the classic cheeseburger. Serve these with all the standard burger fixings.

2 lbs. ground beef chuck

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

12 oz. blue cheese

  1. Combine beef, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Divide into 8 patties and set aside.
  2. Crumble blue cheese and make 4 patties.
  3. Take 4 beef patties, place a cheese patty on top of each. Top the cheese patties with remaining 4 beef patties, creating a beef-cheese-beef stack. Pinch edges to seal in cheese, and press tops so that the center is 1/4 inch lower than the edges.
  4. Grill over medium-high heat until well seared on first side, about 2 1/2 minutes. Flip carefully and continue grilling to desired doneness, about 2 minutes for rare, 2 1/2 for medium rare, 3 for medium and 4 for well-done.

Cajun Grilled Chicken (serves 4)

Brining the chicken first is a step often overlooked by home chefs. The result is far moister than just slapping a piece of chicken straight onto the grill. Buttermilk coleslaw is a great side dish for this.

Cajun Spice Rub (makes about ? cup, enough for 8 thighs, 4 breasts or 4 leg quarters)

1/4 cup paprika

1/2 tbsp. salt

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Brine Solution for Chicken Pieces

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs; or 4 leg quarters, or 4 breasts

2 tbsp. salt per pound of chicken

2 tbsp. sugar per pound of chicken

  1. For each pound of chicken, dissolve 2 tbsp. salt and 2 tbsp. sugar in one quart of cold water. Submerge chicken in brine, cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Trim excess fat from edges of chicken pieces. Rub all sides of each piece with spice rub, place on a platter, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight, if possible.
  3. Build a medium-hot fire on one side of the grill.
  4. Grill chicken, skin side down, on hot side of grill until well browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Turn over and continue grilling another 2 minutes. Move chicken, skin side up, to cooler side of grill. If grilling breasts, cover with disposable aluminum roasting pan (or grill lid if using gas grill).
  6. Continue grilling, turning occasionally: 12 to 16 minutes for thighs, 15 to 20 minutes for whole legs or breasts. Check for doneness with knife cut into the thickest part of the chicken.
  7. Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

An Alternative to the BBQ: Grilled Salmon Fillets with Indian Flavors (serves 4)

These fillets are great with a fruit salsa, especially mango.

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

4 center-cut salmon fillets, 6 to 7 oz. each and 11/2 inches thick

  1. Mix oil, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt and peppers. Rub mixture on salmon fillets, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot fire and rub grill rack with a wad of oiled paper towels to prevent the fish from sticking.
  3. Place salmon on grill, skin side down. Grill until skin starts to blacken and separate from flesh, about 3 minutes.
  4. Flip carefully and continue to grill until salmon is almost opaque all the way through, about 4 minutes. Serve immediately.