Hearty or healthy? You maybe crave both kinds of food in January. But we’ve got you covered with great recipes from Steven’s vast collection of smoked and grilled foods. (Check out this article for tips on winter grilling.) You’ll not only eat well, no matter which recipe or recipes you pick, but you’ll get some fresh air to boot. Happy New Year!
8 Satisfying Recipes to Grill or Smoke in January
Is it any surprise that one of our favorite parts of the pig goes exceedingly well with bourbon? This infusion, inspired by a cocktail Steven once enjoyed at Terzo Piano at the Chicago Institute of Art (now temporarily closed), is a perfect libation to sip in front of a blazing fire. Gild the lily by garnishing it with a crisp strip of smoky bacon. Extra points if the bacon is home-cured and smoked! Great as the foundation of a worthy Manhattan or Old-Fashioned.
Super Bowl Sunday’s just a few weeks away, so you’ll want to practice your wing game. Perfect for the heat-seekers in your crowd, we’ve been told these spicy wings were inspired by the incendiary hot sauce-doused fried chicken made by a Nashville woman to punish her philandering boyfriend when he returned from an assignation. The plan backfired, however, when the cad raved about the heat level. Take a look at one of our favorite hot sauces.
One of the secrets to successful winter grilling is to select foods that take just minutes to cook. This beefy-tasting cut, called onglet in France, certainly qualifies, as it’s seared quickly over a hot fire and served with a tangy, creamy sauce that can be prepared on the stovetop and rewarmed when needed. A cocktail made with the Bacon-Infused Bourbon above would be a nice prelude. But a bottle of your favorite red wine would really make the meal special.
Despite the strong pull of comfort food during the dark, sometimes blustery days of January, there are times when the memories of holiday indulgences compel us to eat lighter foods, dubbed “healthy-ish” by the food press. Lower in fat and cholesterol than ground beef, ground turkey burgers don’t scrimp on flavor. For a lower-carb version, skip the bun and serve with tomatoes, guacamole, lettuce, and onion.
Does your family observe “Taco Tuesdays?” If so, give your tacos a makeover by serving sushi-grade tuna. Served on corn tortillas (fresh, if you can find them), and garnished with finely shredded cabbage, homemade pico de gallo, and a bright-tasting cilantro lime sauce, these tacos are fit for company. And you’ll spend just minutes at the grill.
There are three secrets to great corn bread: the cornmeal itself, the milk or buttermilk, and the flavorings. The cornmeal most guys reach for is the coarse gritty yellow stuff sold in cardboard containers at the supermarket. Pleasant enough, but you’ll get far superior results with small batch, stone-ground, pale yellow or white cornmeal from an artisanal gristmill in New England or the South. (Steven’s favorites include Haldeman Mills, Gray’s Grist Mill, and Kenyon’s Grist Mill. Most recipes call for milk, but you’ll get a more complex flavor if you use part milk and part buttermilk, or even half-and-half and buttermilk. As for the flavorings, Steven prefers the ingredients he uses to remedy any dry or bland food: P (pepper Jack cheese), B (bacon), and J (jalapeños). No jelly needed.
America’s obsession with mac ‘n cheese goes back centuries; founding father and serious foodie Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing the dish after a diplomatic trip to France. Many of us, of course, grew up on the luridly orange version that came (and still comes) in a blue box. But for a mac ‘n cheese epiphany, try Steven’s version. It features grilled chiles (poblanos and bell peppers), onions, chiles, and a rich made-from-scratch smoked cheese sauce. In a cast iron skillet. It’s then topped with bread crumbs and smoked. Though the casserole takes a bit of time, the vegetables can be grilled in advance.
Citrus fruits are at their peak in the winter months, and burnt oranges with a sugar-and-rosemary crust is one of Steven’s simplest recipes, adapted from one of his favorite barbecue books, Seven Fires by Argentinean celebrity chef Francis Mallmann. But the flavors and texture—bitter, sweet, fruity, floral, herbal, and smoothly creamy—are supremely intense and complex. The amount of smoke involved makes this a dish you definitely don’t want to do indoors.