Recipes by Karl Merten, Visalia Country Club | Photos by Taylor Johnson

D

o you notice that everything tastes better when it’s grilled outside? Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be concerned with the smoke and hot kitchen. For me, it’s an escape to the out of doors, birds chirping, and a nice breeze in the air; that’s the California life. California grilling utilizes many different methods — low and slow for ribs and rotisserie items to a blazing fire to char steaks, chops, burgers and vegetables.

This month, both methods are used.

Our outdoor kitchen at the club makes cooking outside a breeze and available all summer and fall, offering a variety of burgers, street corn and barbecue.

I hope this selection of favorites of mine will spark your interest in cooking outdoors. Many of the flavors and techniques that I have adopted over the years I am now sharing with the club membership. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

ROTISSERIE CHICKEN MARINADE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup assorted fresh herbs and/or green onions
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey

DIRECTIONS

Allow chicken to marinade overnight if possible, or as long as possible. I use a zip-lock bag to marinade; remove as much excess air in bag for greater surface contact with marinade.

Cooking time ranges from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Give yourself plenty of time so you aren’t serving raw chicken.

Use the remaining marinade to baste the chicken throughout the cooking process.

LOUIS RIBS WITH HOUSE DRY RUB AND HOT AND TANGY BARBECUE SAUCE

I started the ribs over high heat to get a good mark on both sides and before I got any flameups.

DRY RUB INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sheets either St. Louis pork ribs or baby backs
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or powder
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Stir together and liberally coat meat. Allow to marinade for up to one day in refrigerator.

Barbecue Sauce
(or use your favorite sauce)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sambal or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon caramel color (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Allow to simmer in double boiler or allow for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Salt and pepper to taste.

WATERMELON SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  • Diced fresh watermelon
  • Red onions
  • Feta cheese
  • Mint
  • Cilantro
  • Honey lime vinaigrette

(Yields approximately 1 cup of dressing)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice plus zest (from the limes used for juice)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Blend the vinaigrette ingredients in blender or food processor.
Adjust for salt, sugar and pepper.
Toss with watermelon and salad ingredients and serve.

CAPRESE BURGER

INGREDIENTS

Your favorite burger patty topped with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato and fresh basil.

DIRECTIONS

With it, we made a fresh basil aioli consisting of fresh basil, roasted garlic and mayonnaise.

Blend together; adjust for salt and pepper, slather on your toasted buns and build the burger.

The fresh mozzarella and basil go great with the char on the burger patty.

PAN FRIED RED POTATOES

DIRECTIONS

Boil approximately 1 pound of red potatoes till just tender (use a knife to check for doneness). You’ll want firm potatoes, otherwise they will break up while pan-frying.

Once done, drain off and chill.

Once cold, they can be sliced.

Just before serving, transfer to mixing bowl, lightly coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Pan fry until golden brown; taste and adjust salt and pepper.

STREET CORN

Soak whole corn in cold water for an hour or so.

Place corn on the grill; the husk will char as the corn steams inside.

As you pull the husk back, you’ll notice the kernels plump and tender.

I lightly browned the cobbs and brushed with olive oil and seasoning as I transferred them to a serving platter.

Enjoy as is or with your favorite corn toppings.

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