For Your Smoking and Grilling Pleasure: 9 Recipes to Make in June
If you’re in a recipe rut, June’s the month to break the chains and add some new dishes to your repertoire. Spring has sprung, the landscape is green and blooming, and the first day of summer is right around the corner (June 21). June is the month when we honor our fathers (June 19), celebrate graduations and weddings, and plan weekends around trips to the farmers’ markets. It’s prime time for grillin’ and chillin’!
9 Recipes to Grill in June
Pastrami bacon seems like one of those ideas that’s so obvious and so outrageous that nobody thought of it before Billy Durney, the owner of Hometown BBQ in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY. In this recipe, a pork belly is cured with pastrami brine, then pepper and coriander pastrami spices, and cooked in a smoker. It results in two of the greatest cured meats in the world: pastrami and bacon. This pastrami bacon recipe is the best of both worlds.
This will blow that stuff from the grocery store—the stuff that masquerades as fresh salsa—right out of the water. Sometimes the difference between good and extraordinary lies in a whiff of wood smoke. Consider this salsa: You start with the usual ingredients—ripe summer tomatoes, sweet onions, jalapeños—plus one offbeat ingredient, raw corn. You smoke them before dicing and blending. Long enough to impart a hickory smoke flavor, but short enough to keep the crunch of raw fresh vegetables.
Remember how we told you not to flatten your burgers with a spatula or grill press? All the juices will be forced out, we said. So how can we explain the newfound popularity of the smash burger? All we know is this thin burger (we like to cook ours on a plancha has won us over with its simplicity and nostalgic nuances. Makes us think of the ol’ burger joint of our collective youth.
Pit-cooked whole chicken slathered with Alabama white sauce has a rich history in the barbecue world, going all the way back to Big Bob Gibson, the pit master behind his eponymous restaurant in Decatur, Alabama. Steven was introduced to the mysteries of Alabama white sauce by his dear friend Pat Martin, a barbecue badass. When you first dip the perfectly cooked chicken in the creamy white sauce, you’ll ask, “How have I never had this before?” The tang of the vinegar and the mayonnaise is just amazing.
Basil is one of the first herbs to respond to spring rains and summer sunshine. Maybe you grow it in your garden or (like most of us) buy it by bunches when it appears in markets. If you like pesto, you’ll love the basil-forward marinade that makes salmon fillets or steaks sing. This almost-too-easy recipe is great for busy weeknights but fancy enough for dinner guests. (Pro Tip: To keep basil fresh, recut the stems, submerge them in fresh water, and cover the leaves with a large produce-type bag. Do not refrigerate, or the basil leaves will quickly turn brown.)
This recipe, from David Sandusky, the chef-owner of Beast Craft BBQ Co. in St. Louis, Missouri, was featured on Episode 401 of the current season of Project Fire. (David is one of few contestants who have bested Bobby Flay on the show, Beat Bobby Flay.) David loves—what else?—St. Louis-style spareribs. His easy-to-follow recipe dusts the ribs with a coffee-inflected rub and finishes them with what Steven calls “doctor sauce.” That is, a commercial sauce to which other ingredients are added. Your family and friends will love these.
Buffalo’s favorite treatment of chicken wings has made its mark on multiple foods, from mac ‘n’ cheese to pork ribs. But it makes magic with broccoli, a vegetable that is remarkably compatible with many flavors. Serve this dish, doused in a Buffalo-style sauce and drizzled with blue cheese dressing, as a side dish or appetizer. Feel free to substitute broccoli rabe for the broccoli.
This may be the most singular grilled corn you’ve ever eaten. Steven first tasted it at the Maxwell Street Market near the Mexican-American neighborhood of Pilsen in Chicago. Mayonnaise, cheese, and corn may seem like strange bedfellows—but the combination is sensational. If you or your tablemates don’t enjoy eating sweet corn the traditional way, use broad strokes of a chef’s knife to slice the corn off the cob. Then mix it with the ingredients above for a sensational summer salad. We like to add fresh cilantro and lime juice to the mixture.
By now you probably realize you can smoke just about anything. But should you? Only if smoking adds something to a food or dish that makes it better or more interesting than it would be in its natural state. Which brings us to cheesecake. This is another dessert that you usually bake in a pan of simmering water, which cooks the filling while preventing it from cracking or curdling. In other words, low, slow, and moist. Sounds like a session in a water smoker to us. The smoke gives the cheesecake a haunting flavor—familiar yet exotic. This may just be the most interesting cheesecake you’ll ever set fork to.