7 Grilled or Smoked Recipes to Make in April


Though the dregs of winter are still in evidence, spring has sprung in most of the country, opening up new seasonal culinary possibilities. You might see ramps in the market—those fabulously pungent wild leeks that grow in eastern woodlands and that are so good when lightly grilled—or foraged fresh morel mushrooms that, when sautéed in butter with a little garlic (or ramps) and a splash of sherry, pair so well with grilled steak. Asparagus (for which we have many recipes, including the one below), fava beans, and artichokes join the party.

Below are several great dishes to celebrate this transitional month.

1. Grilled Sangria

Citrus fruit like oranges and limes are still in season, making this cocktail a refreshing choice for a small party on the patio (or indoors, if temps are still chilly) or after a day of working in the yard. The fruit is halved, dipped in sugar, and caramelized on the grill before being combined with rum, sparkling wine, and fresh mint. We also have a recipe for a red version that is a perennial hit at BBQ University.

Grilled Sangria

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2. Pork Shooters

It’s such an ingenious idea—“shot” glasses constructed from rounds of kielbasa and bacon, then filled with a savory mixture of shrimp, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and scallions. Hot-smoke for 15 to 20 minutes, then serve to appreciative guests. And be prepared to be asked for the recipe.

Pork “Shooters”

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3. A New “Egg Salad” with Green Vegetables

This beautiful spring-like salad features hearts of palm (fresh, if you can find them), bright green asparagus, grilled sweet corn, fried eggs, and arugula in an orange-inflected vinaigrette. First featured on Project Fire, Season 2, this salad is a show-stopper.

A New “Egg Salad” With Grilled Vegetables

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4. Korean-Style Skirt Steak

Though often the meat of choice for fajitas, skirt steak takes on a Korean persona with a bulgogi-inspired marinade. The steak is briefly grilled, then thinly sliced, rolled in leaf lettuce, and served with a variety of condiments. For an even more Keto-friendly version, substitute granulated monk fruit for the brown sugar in the marinade.

Korean-Style Skirt Steak

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5. Grilled Swordfish Steaks with Golden Raisin Chimichurri

Swordfish steaks frequently appear on the menu in the Raichlen household, and this is one of Steven’s favorite preparations—perfect for busy weeknights or leisurely weekends. While the swordfish steaks marinate in lemon juice and fresh oregano, Steven makes a sweet and savory chimichurri sauce using more fresh herbs and sweet golden raisins. A short sear over a hot fire, and the steaks are ready to serve.

Grilled Swordfish Steaks With Golden Raisin Chimichurri

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6. Cornell Chicken

You’ve heard the phrase “spring chicken?” This one, a specialty of upstate New York, offers up crackling-crisp skin, moist meat, and an unusual mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce. (The chicken is also basted, as it roasts, with a baste developed by a professor at Cornell University.) As an alternative to the sauce, we suggest Charred Lemon Aioli.

Cornell Chicken

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7. Grilled Pound Cake with Mixed Berry Salsa and Smoked Whipped Cream

Wonder what to do with all those beautiful fresh berries that show up in the market this time of year? This simple dessert—you can even use Sara Lee pound cake (we recommend it over homemade as it holds up better on the grill)—never fails to wow guests. You can, if you wish, substitute angel food cake for the pound cake.

Grilled Pound Cake With Mixed Berry Salsa And Smoked Whipped Cream

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