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Grill Crazy
Posted by Lori Ross - Viewed 75725 times

Story and Photography by Lori Ross

Grilling is truly our favorite way to cook ashore or aboard. There is nothing to compare to the smoky flavor of grilled foods. Grilled foods are easy; they taste great and keep the cabin cool on a hot day!

Our first boat, a 24 foot Hinterholler Shark sailboat, didn’t come with a grill and so we brought my little charcoal-burning Hibachi along. Everything we cooked on that little grill was delicious! But, since it didn’t have a lid, It was tough to keep lit in windy conditions and a real challenge to keep it clean and stowed (ever get a faceful of ashes when you are trying to dump them into a trash bag?) and, it finally rusted out!

Our second grill was an inexpensive rail-mounted marine kettle-style charcoal grill with a removable lid, air vents to increase and decrease convection and a nice plastic cover to keep it dry. We grilled delicious steaks, burgers, chicken, corn, fruit and even sandwiches during our cruises. While this was a vast improvement on the hibachi, we still the dual challenges of dumping the ash without befouling ourselves or the boat and, the new challenge, keeping the unsecured lid from going overboard!

When marine propane grills became popular, we jumped at the opportunity to buy a rectangular rail-mounted propane grill that used ceramic bricks to spread the heat and had a 1 lb. propane bottle available in marine and camping stores as the fuel supply. This grill solved several problems – it stayed lit, there was no need for ash disposal, the temperature was easily regulated and it featured a hinged lid that avoided the “lid overboard” problem. And, because of the lid, it was sometimes easier to light in a stiff breeze (if you could block the wind for a few moments). However, propane tank storage was a problem (we still had a sailboat) because we couldn’t find an effective way to stow extra propane canisters above decks.

For our two trawlers, we have purchased larger, rail-mounted, box or cylindrical grills that feature two burners, a warming rack, and Sunbrella covers for the grill and propane tanks, so they can stay permanently mounted on the flybridge. The grill uses a diffuser plate (instead of ceramic bricks) to spreads the flames more evenly under the cooking surface. There is lots of space on the flybridge (under seats) to store extra propane tanks for safety.

While my fantasy is to someday have a home-sized gas grill installed in the fly-bridge, this would require significant time and expense, so I offer you a selection of menus that work on my rail-mount grill.

Preparing to Grill Using Direct Heat:
Direct heat is what we usually use to sear foods on the grill – the high heat seals the food on the outside keeping the moisture in. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. When charcoal turns grayish white (about 15 minutes after lighting), hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack to determine heat for charcoal as follows
•   Hot: when you can hold your hand there for 1 to 2 seconds
•   Medium-hot: 3 to 4 seconds
•   Low: 5 to 6 seconds
If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10-15 minutes, then, if necessary, reduce to heat specified in recipe using temperature gauge or “hand test.”

Preparing to Grill Using Indirect-heat:

Indirect heat is used to grill longer-cooking or more delicate foods such as vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken and meat roasts. Often the food is seared on direct heat for a few minutes to seal in moisture, and then moved to indirect heat to finish cooking or it is cooked slowly on indirect heat and browned or finished on direct heat. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom and lid of grill. Light charcoal. When coals are lit, spread them out across bottom rack, leaving an area free of coals (for indirect cooking) that is slightly larger than the size of the item to be grilled, and banking the rest of the coals across the remaining space.

If using a gas grill, preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, and then adjust heat according to recipe. Just before grilling, turn off 1 burner if you have two or the middle burner if there are three.

What follows are two complete four course menus cooked completely on the grill:

The All-American Boat Cookout

Tex-Mex Corn and Cheese Quesadillas
Steakhouse Grilled Caesar Salad
Pacific Northwest Planked Salmon with grilled rosemary potatoes
Grilled Stone Fruit with Vermont Maple Syrup and Pepper

All recipes serve 4 people

Tex-Mex Corn and Cheese Quesadillas
1 ½ cups jack or cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup goat cheese or cream cheese
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 scallions sliced
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo or pickled jalapeno peppers
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 tbsp oil

Prepare grill for medium high direct heat. Stir together cheeses, corn, scallions, cilantro, and chiles in a small bowl. Lightly brush tortillas with oil. Turn tortillas over and spread 1/2 cup filling over half, then fold each in half. Grill turning after 2 minutes until cheese is melted (4 minutes total). Cut in half and serve

Steakhouse Grilled Caesar Salad

2 anchovies chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup oil
1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tbsps lemon juice
12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of French bread
3 hearts of romaine
1 ounce grated parmesan

Prepare for direct grilling on medium heat. Blend anchovies, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper by hand or in a blender until smooth as base for dressing. Brush both sides of bread with some anchovy dressing, then grill bread, turning over occasionally, until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes – halve or quarter bread slices. Finish dressing by adding egg, salt and lemon juice and blend until emulsified. Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise, then grill, cut sides down, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Cut lettuce crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips and toss with croutons, cheese and dressing. Serve immediately.

Pacific Northwest Planked Salmon

Plank cooking is a Native American invention widely used in the Pacific Northwest. It bakes, grills, and smokes food and smells marvelous while cooking
1 untreated Western red cedar plank (6 by 14 inches) *
1 ½ lbs. salmon fillet (or chicken, meat or shellfish)
Salt and pepper
6 tbsps mustard
6 tbsps brown sugar
Prepare grill for direct cooking on medium high. Soak cedar plank in salted water for 2 -6 hours, then drain. Remove skin (if any) from salmon fillet, rinse, remove remaining bones and pat dry. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Spread the mustard over the top and sides, the top with sprinkled brown sugar.

When ready to cook, place the cedar plank on the hot grate and leave it until it smells of smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the plank over and place the fish on top. Cover the grill and cook about 15-20 minutes until the fish is flaky or has reached a temperature of 135 degrees F. If plank edges start to burn, mist with water.
     * Available at fish markets, William Sonoma or Whole Foods

Grilled Rosemary Potatoes
2 lbs. new potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix potatoes in bowl with oil rosemary, salt and pepper. Place potatoes in packet made of heavy duty aluminum foil. Cook on grill while salmon is cooking (15-20 minutes on high or medium high).

Grilled Stone Fruit with Vermont Maple Syrup and Pepper
6 peaches, apricots or nectarines, halved and pitted
1 tbsp oil
3-4 ounces of blue cheese (or Marscapone, goat cheese or cream cheese)
2-3 tbsps maple syrup (or honey)
Coarsely ground black pepper

Brush cut side of stone fruit with oil and place on the grill, cut-side down. Grill until caramelized 2-3 minutes. Turn over and grill for 1 to 2 minutes until almost soft. Place fruit on a platter, cut-side up and place a piece of cheese in the center of each piece of warm fruit, drizzle with honey and grind pepper over the top.

The International Menu

All recipes serve 4
Japanese Tuna Sates
Middle Eastern Fattoush Salad
Indian Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Mango
Hawaiian Grilled Pineapple with Rum

Japanese Tuna Sates
4 tsps soy sauce
2 tsps lemon or limejuice
Sesame oil for brushing tuna
12-ounce tuna steak (or other fish) cut into twenty 1-inch cubes
Ten 8-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
Prepare for direct grilling on medium heat. Make dipping sauce: in a bowl blend soy sauce and citrus juice.

Thread 2-4 tuna cubes onto each skewer, brush with sesame oil and grill on an oiled rack until just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Serve tuna satés with soy/citrus sauce for dipping.

•   Use the same technique for shellfish, beef, pork or chicken sates with the following marinade and dipping sauce: Marinate ½ pound of meat, chicken or shellfish in mixture of 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp grated ginger, ¼ tsp each of salt and pepper and 1/4 cup lime juice for 10-20 minutes. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side (less for rare or medium rare steak). Serve with ¼ cup hoisin sauce mixed with 1 Tbsp ketchup and 6 tbsps of lime juice.

Fattoush - Middle Eastern Bread Salad
3 bell peppers (any color) stemmed, seeded, quartered
3 scallions sliced in half lengthwise
5 small zucchini, trimmed, cut lengthwise in half
2 (5- to 6-inch) pita breads, each cut horizontally into 2 disks
Olive oil (for grilling)
½ lbs. cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup pitted black olives
1/2 cup each fresh mint leaves and cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup feta cheese cubed

Prepare for direct grilling on medium heat. Brush peppers, scallions, zucchini, and bread with oil, salt and pepper. Grill peppers, onions and zucchini until slightly charred, turning often, about 6 minutes. Grill bread until lightly charred and just crisp, turning often, for about 3 minutes. Take off grill and cool.

Cut peppers, onions and zucchini into 1/2-inch pieces and place in bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, olives, mint, cilantro and bread (torn into 1” pieces). Whisk together 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Top with feta cheese.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken with Mango
1/2 cup each chopped cilantro and parsley
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp each ground cumin, paprika and salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup oil
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3-4 lbs. of chicken pieces (boneless or bone-in; skin optional)
2 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Blend herbs, garlic, spices and pepper by hand on in food processor. Whisk in oil, yogurt and lemon juice to make marinade. Place chicken in marinade and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 hour. Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Place marinated chicken, skin side down, on grill. Cover and grill chicken for 20- 30 minutes, or until cooked through, turning 4-5 times. Grill mango slices 2 minutes per side; set aside. Arrange chicken on large platter; garnish with grilled mango slices.

Pacific Rim Grilled Pound cake and Pineapple Salsa
4 slices pound cake (each 1/2 inch thick)
2 to 3 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
Pineapple Salsa
4 fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat. Lightly brush each side of cake slices with butter. Grill the cake on grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly toasted. Place the pound cake slices on plates. Top each serving with a spoonful of Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa
2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
3 tbsps chopped fresh mint, cilantro or basil
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers seeded and diced
2 tbsps each of lime juice and brown sugar

Five minutes before you serve the cake, place the pineapple, herbs, jalapeños, lime juice, and brown sugar in a glass or plastic mixing bowl. Place each cake slice on a plate and top with a helping of pineapple salsa and a sprig of mint.

Grilled meals are ideal for warm-weather cruising because they keep the heat out of the cabin. And grilling during the cooler months can bring back the memories of summer. No matter the time of year, fire up the grill!

Tags:Lunch  Dinner  Party    

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