Episode 306: Barbecue on a Budget

Zucchini “Burnt Ends” with Lemon Herb Butter

Zucchini Burnt End

This recipe was served as a side with Pamplona of Pork in Project Fire Episode 306: Barbecue on a Budget


Zucchini “Burnt Ends” with Lemon Herb Butter

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Direct Grilling


For the lemon herb butter:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly flattened with the side of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon freshly and finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons stemmed, chopped fresh dill or mint leaves, plus 3 tablespoons for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

For the zucchini:

  • 8 small zucchini (each 6 to 8 ounces)
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate

You’ll also need:

  • 8 flat bamboo skewers (8- to 10-inch) or 16 round bamboo skewers
  • a mandoline or sharp chef’s knife

Recipe Steps

1: Make the lemon herb butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon zest, 3 tablespoons of chopped dill, and the hot red pepper flakes (if using. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the butter cool. Remove and discard the garlic.

2: Cut off and discard the ends of the zucchini. Using a mandoline equipped with a finger guard, thinly slice each zucchini lengthwise. The slices should be the thickness of a quarter. (You can also use a chef’s knife if you have good knife skills.) Lay the slices flat on a rimmed sheet pan. Lightly brush each on both sides with the lemon herb butter and season with salt and pepper.

3: Fold a zucchini slice into an accordion shape (like multiple Ws) and thread it onto a flat skewer. Continue threading until all the slices from a single zucchini are on the skewer. The green skin should be on the top and bottom. If using round bamboo skewers, not flat, insert a second skewer parallel to the first. (This keeps the zucchini slices from spinning.) Slice, butter, season, and skewer the remaining zucchini the same way. You should wind up with 8 kebabs.

4: Meanwhile, set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. For the best flavor, work over a wood or wood-enhanced fire. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.

5: Arrange the zucchini kebabs, skin side down, on the grate and grill until browned, even singed, at the edges. Turn the skewers and grill the other side the same way. Don’t over-grill: the zucchini should remain al dente. Grilling time will be 6 to 8 minutes in all. Baste the zucchini skewers with the lemon herb butter as they grill.

6: Transfer to a platter or plates for serving and spoon any remaining butter over them. Sprinkle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of herbs. Serve immediately.

Recipe Tips

Our thanks to the sponsors of Project Fire Season 3:

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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