Tag Archives: grilling

Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

I know summer is not officially here till June 21st.  However, it has been feeling a lot like summertime with our warm weather.  This time of year, we start seeing beautiful wildflowers alongside the roadways and in forests.

I have been wrongly calling these flowers wild phlox.  They are actually an invasive plant called dame’s rocket.  Dame’s rocket has four petals while phlox have five petals.  They are still beautiful flowers and a welcome sight in late May and June.  I took these pictures at a nearby park where I see them every year.


In the summertime, it is so much easier to grill.  I’m talking about not having to deal with the cold and snowy weather we are blessed with here in Michigan.

I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I do like to cook with it.  One of my favorite ways of cooking with beer is by brining either pork or chicken.

Brining is a method of soaking a meat in a liquid solution.  This can be as simple as water, salt, and sugar.  Brining adds flavor to leaner cuts of meat such as pork chops.  Adding beer to the mixture will provide even more flavor and ups the moisture in the chops.  I like the flavor that the Guiness extra stout adds to the grilled pork chops.

Beer-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/4 cups water
2 bottles (12 ounces each) Guinness extra stout beer
2 tablespoons mild flavored molasses
2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 bone-in pork chops, 1-inch thick

olive oil

Extra Seasonings

1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoned garlic powder

In a large bowl, combine the water, beer, molasses. and salt.  Stir until the salt dissolves. Place the chops in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the brine mixture. Press the air out of the bag and seal it tightly. Place in a baking pan large enough to hold the bag.  Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, turning the bag several times to distribute the marinade.

Remove pork chops from brine. Discard remaining brine.  Pat the chops dry with paper towels.  Brush pork chops lightly with oil.  Sprinkle with the extra seasonings.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Place chops on grate, and close the lid. Turn heat down to medium to medium-low. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over, and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Do not overcook, or meat will become tough. 

Notes:
1.  The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops to an internal temperature between 145°F and 160°F.
2.  The brine makes enough for 4 pork chops.

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Grilled Cajun Shrimp

Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the U.S., and it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.  But, more importantly, it honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.  This holiday was originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War.  It became an official Federal holiday in 1971.  Many  Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.  Like many cities across the USA, Grand Rapids has an annual Memorial Day Parade.

memorial-day

For our summertime grilling, I often make Grilled Cajun Shrimp.  Grilling gives the shrimp a light smoky flavor that I really like.  This is a very fast and easy recipe to prepare.  I like to serve it with cocktail sauce and with a side of yellow rice or cheesy grits.

Grilled Cajun Shrimp

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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16-24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
skewers

If using wood or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least an hour before grilling.

Thread the shrimp on the skewers.  Brush both sides of the shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle them with the Cajun seasoning.

Heat the grill to high heat. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook for about 3 minutes per side with the lid closed. Cook until the shrimp are fully pink. Remove from the grill. Serve with Cocktail Sauce, if desired.  

IMG_1180

Cajun Grilled Shrimp

 Notes:
1.  I used thawed frozen shrimp and McCormick Gourmet Cajun Seasoning.
2.  The shrimp are also perfect for appetizers.

Teriyaki Beef Shish Kabobs

It has been a busy summer but one that included a week at a small lake north of Grand Rapids.  It is a very pretty lake surrounded by the Pere Marquette forest, home to lots of wildlife. I was always the first one up and while having coffee was delighted to see two cute twin fawns.  They came by the cottage several times. No one else in the family ever saw them. Oh well, they should have gotten up early too. Loons and herons came around the dock everyday and a black squirrel showed up on the deck several times.

fawns1

loon 4

>black squirell

It was a fun family getaway with lots of good grilled food and one night homemade personal pan pizzas were on the menu.

kielbasa

pizza6

On a day trip we discovered Mr. Pibs Restaurant, a country restaurant that has the best fried chicken. It is actually chicken cooked using a pressure fryer and is chicken at its best. Mr. Pibs Restaurant is a family style restaurant located on the White Pine Trail in LeRoy, Michigan. It is home cooking in a down to earth family diner. This restaurant is way out in the country and the patrons are locals and farmers from the area.

fried chicken

Now it seems like the end of summer is here, especially with it being September.  But it is not too late to have a cookout before summer’s end. Grilled beef kabobs are a family favorite.  Beef kabobs consist of small pieces of meat and vegetables threaded onto skewers and grilled. I very seldom order kabobs in a restaurant because the beef is usually overcooked, dry and chewy. That is why I like grilling them myself at home.

kabobs 3

“Kebabs are thought to have originated in Turkey and eventually spread to the Balkans and the Middle East. The name is a shortened form of the Turkish sis kebab, sis meaning skewer and kebab meaning roast meat.” Source

If you are looking for something different to grill for the upcoming Labor Day holiday, these kabobs are easy to prepare and perfect for a cookout. True shish kabobs are often made with pieces of marinated lamb but I believe that beef is the meat of choice in the USA and that is what we prefer.

kabobs

Teriyaki Beef Shish Kabobs

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 lb beef tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 medium green pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 medium red pepper, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 medium  onion, cut into wedges
1 cup fresh pineapple cut in 1 inch chunks, optional

1 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade

Cut beef into 1-inch cubes and place in a large zip-loc plastic bag. Pour 1 cup of the teriyaki marinade over the beef cubes. Press air out of the bag and close top securely. Turn bag over several times to coat all pieces of the beef. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning bag over occasionally.

When ready to cook, preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Alternately thread beef and vegetables evenly onto 12-inch metal or bamboo skewers. Thread the pineapple chunks on a separate skewer.

Grill the kabobs and pineapple over direct medium high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 7 to 10 minutes, turning once. Serve with yellow rice if desired.

Notes:
1. If using bamboo skewers, soak the skewers in water at least 30 minutes to prevent burning on the grill.
2. Allow the kabobs to come to room temperature before grilling.