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8 Recipes to Grill or Smoke in March

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Weather folklore predicts, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.” But as anyone who’s lived in northern climes knows, it’s impossible to predict what face March will show us on any given day. Shirt-sleeve, spring-like temperatures one day can be followed by a foot of snow the next.

As a consequence, adaptability is key when planning menus for this volatile month. That’s why we’ve juxtaposed warming shrimp chowder with a beautiful salad featuring tender stalks of fresh asparagus.

In any case, eat well while you wait for the arrival of spring!

8 Recipes to Grill

1. Steak and Bean Nachos

Steak and Bean Nachos Recipe

Perfect for a hearty snack or a casual supper in front of the TV, these nachos make good use of leftover grilled steak or brisket. By layering the ingredients in a springform pan before smoking or indirect grilling, you ensure it’s not just the top chips that carry a payload of toppings.

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2. Smoked Shrimp Corn Chowder

Smoked Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Stretch a pound of home-smoked shrimp to serve 6 to 8 by using it as the base for a rich chowder that includes potatoes, leeks, corn, and cream. Add a salad and grilled bread sticks for a complete meal.

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3. Maple Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Maple-Sriracha Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

In parts of Canada and the American northeast, late winter is maple syrup time. Freezing nights and warmer days cause maple sap to run, which is then tapped, boiled down, and made into syrup. If you’re lucky enough to snag a sample from the current harvest, combine it with butter and sriracha for some of the best smoked chicken drumsticks of your life. The glaze is great on wings, too.

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4. Baltimore Pit Beef

Baltimore Pit Beef

Steven’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, is known for its outstanding crab, of course, but in-the-know locals often take a trip on the Pulaski Highway for a pit beef fix. Pit beef is Baltimore’s contribution to barbecue—lean beef (usually top round) is grilled until coal-black on the outside but relatively rare on the inside, thinly sliced, then piled haphazardly on a bun with a dollop of horseradish sauce. Steven elevates this regional specialty by using a boneless rib roast and his own special rub.

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5. Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon

Maybe you jumped on the homemade sourdough bread bandwagon during the pandemic. Ready for a new project? We suggest home-cured Canadian bacon. Pork loin (one of the biggest bargains at the meat counter) is brined for several days, then smoked. Brunch, anyone?

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6. Tuscan Grilled Polenta and Vegetable Platter

Tuscan Grilled Polenta & Vegetable Platter

Fresh locally grown asparagus begins to show up in markets in early spring; it’s one of our favorite grilled vegetables. Here, it’s joined by the jewel-like colors of red onion, bell peppers, eggplant, and radicchio and served with grilled polenta. As for the latter, make your own, if you wish, or buy the premade cylinders of polenta sold in the pasta aisle. Finish the dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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7. Barbecued Cabbage

Barbecued Cabbage

Often a bit player at backyard barbecues, cabbage takes on a starring role when stuffed with a savory mixture of bacon, onions, and barbecue sauce and smoke-roasted until tender. Cut into wedges for serving.

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8. Cedar Planked Chocolate Brownie S’Mores

Cedar Plank Chocolate Brownie S’Mores

From appetizer to dessert, show your tablemates you’ve developed mad skills since your days at scout camp. Crown a barbecue feast with this showy dessert, a delectable mash-up of chewy brownies, orange liqueur, premium chocolate, and gourmet marshmallows served on individual cedar planks.

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