Special Fourth of July Edition


Dear “Up in Smoke” Subscriber,

According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, Americans will be firing up their grills and smokers in record numbers this July 4th weekend.  Last year, a full 69 per cent of households celebrated with a cookout.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs lead the charge in most American back yards on Independence Day.  The Raichlen household—just in case you’ve ever stood over your grill or smoker wondering what’s on Steven and Barbara’s menu—will enjoy Cousin Dave’s Chocolate-Chipotle Ribs, Grilled Swordfish with Summer Salsa, Firecracker Corn, and Blueberry-Peach Crisp (to take advantage of the glorious blueberry crop on Martha’s Vineyard) with vanilla ice cream.  See recipes below.

From all of us, have a safe and wonderful holiday. 


Cut into individual ribs and serve as an appetizer, or cut into 3-rib portions if serving as a main course.  Warning: These are addictive!  Steven’s assistant, Nancy Loseke, has wondered aloud if there’s such a thing as “Rib Rehab.”  She prefers to use spareribs rather than the baby backs called for here.  The choice is yours. A rib rack (see is especially useful, particularly if you double the recipe.

Source: Raichlen on Ribs by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2006)
Method: Indirect grilling
Advance Preparation: At least 4 hours for marinating the ribs
Serves 4 as a main course, 8 to 10 as an appetizer

3 to 6 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, with 1 tablespoon of their juice
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus additional for garnish
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely grated or cut into pieces
2 strips fresh lemon zest, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure chile powder, such as ancho
2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 racks baby back pork ribs (4 to 5 pounds total), papery membrane
from the back removed
Lime wedges, for serving

You’ll also need:
1-1/2 cups wood chips or chunks (preferably oak), soaked for 1 hour
in water to cover, then drained

Place the chipotles and their juice, onion, garlic, 1/4 cup of cilantro, chocolate, lemon zest, brown sugar, chile powder, salt, and lemon pepper in a food processor and puree, adding enough oil to obtain a thick paste.

Using a rubber spatula or your hands, spread the chipotle paste on both sides of the racks.  Cover with plastic wrap or put into a large zip-top type bag.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (325 to 350 degrees F).  Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill under the grate.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate.  Place the ribs bone side down in the center of the grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat.  (If your grill has limited space, stand the racks of ribs upright in a rib rack; see above.)  If cooking on a charcoal grill and using wood chips, toss half of them on each mound of coals.  Cover the grill and cook the ribs until well browned, cooked through, and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers (1-1/2 to 2 hours).  When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch.  If using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals as needed.

Transfer the ribs to a large platter or cutting board.  Let the ribs rest for a few minutes, then cut the racks in half or into individual ribs.  Sprinkle the ribs with the remaining cilantro and serve at once with lime wedges.



Source: BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2003)
Method: Direct grilling
Advance Preparation: 15 to 30 minutes for marinating the fish
Serves: 4

4 swordfish steaks (each about 3/4-inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces), rinsed
and blotted dry
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Summer Salsa (recipe follows)
Fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish

Place the swordfish in a nonreactive baking dish and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.  Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil on both sides; refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.  Brush and oil the grill grate.  Arrange the swordfish on the hot grate, placing the steaks at a diagonal to the bars.  Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate a quarter turn.  Continue grilling until the undersides are nicely browned, about 2 minutes longer.  Repeat on the second side.  When done, the swordfish will break into clean flakes when pressed with a finger.  Transfer to a platter or plates.  Spoon the salsa over the swordfish, garnish with the tarragon, and serve at once.


Makes 1-1/2 to 2 cups

1 clove garlic, minced
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
Kernels from two shucked ears of sweet corn
2 red, ripe tomatoes, finely diced, with their juices
1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped (white and green parts)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
3 tablespoons diced pitted black olives, such as kalamata (optional)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the bottom of a mixing bowl.  Mash to a paste with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add the corn kernels and the tomatoes, scallion, tarragon, lemon juice, olives, if using, olive oil, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Toss gently just before serving, adding more salt and/or lemon juice as necessary.


Source: Recipe courtesy of Steven Raichlen
Method: Direct grilling
Serves 8 as a side dish

8 ears sweet corn, in the husk
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and very finely minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and very finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon pure chile powder (optional), or more to taste
Coarse salt (kosher or sea)

You’ll also need:
Butcher’s string

Shuck the corn, stripping the husk back as though peeling a banana, but leaving the husk attached at the stem end.  Holding an ear of corn in one hand, gather the husk together so that it covers the stem and then tie it with a piece of butcher’s string.  This forms a sort of handle.  Remove the corn silk.  Repeat with the remaining ears of corn.

In a medium mixing bowl, blend the butter, garlic, jalapeno(s), red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and chile powder, if using.  Add salt to taste.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.  When ready to cook, arrange the corn on the hot grate so that the husks hang over the edge of the grill (this keeps them from burning) or place a folded sheet of aluminum foil under the husks to shield them.  Grill the corn until nicely browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side (8 to 12 minutes in all), turning with tongs.

Transfer the corn to a rimmed baking sheet, and while the corn is still hot, slather it with the butter mixture using a knife, pastry brush, or flexible spatula.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve at once with the remaining butter.


Source: Adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2003)
Method: Indirect grilling
Serves: 6-8

2 pints fresh blueberries, picked over
2 large ripe peaches (preferably freestone), peeled, pitted, and diced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup coarsely crumbled biscotti or shortbread cookie crumbs
1⁄2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of salt
Vanilla ice cream (optional), for serving
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

You’ll also need:

One 8-by-10-inch aluminum disposable foil pan; cooking oil spray;
1 cup wood chips or chunks (preferably apple), soaked for 1 hour in water
to cover, then drained

Pick through the blueberries, removing any stems, leaves, or bruised berries. Place the berries and the diced peaches in a large nonreactive mixing bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice and stir gently.  Add 1/4 cup of the flour and the granulated sugar, and the lemon zest and gently toss to mix.  Lightly spray the aluminum foil pan with cooking spray.  Spoon the fruit mixture into the aluminum foil pan.

Place the biscotti crumbs, brown sugar, and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until a coarse powder forms. Add the butter and salt, then pulse until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Spoon the topping over the filling.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high. If using a gas grill, place all of the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-high. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium-high, then toss all of the wood chips or chunks on the coals.

When ready to cook, place the pan with the filling in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat, and cover the grill. Cook the crisp until the filling is bubbling and the topping is browned, about 40 minutes. Serve the crisp hot or warm, ideally with vanilla ice cream.  Garnish with mint.

Yours in righteous grilling,
Steven Raichlen, Grill Master and Editor-in-Chief
Nancy Loseke, Features Editor

Facebook Twitter