Steak cuts to grill include; Flat iron steak, skirt steak, flank steak, rib-eye and on occasion, when we order ahead, hanger steak. The latter is a rare cut, because there’s only one per cow. It has become a favorite entrée at The Pier Restaurant in Oakwood Resort, Syracuse.
Another cut that grills nicely is tri-tip. It’s a larger cut so have a crowd around.
Of all these, I favor rib-eye. USGA “choice” grade is mostly available in Lake Country and they are great grilled. They don’t require a marinade like other cuts and the marbling makes these steaks very juicy when served medium-rare.
Other meats grilled frequently are pork chops and lamb. Lamb is particularly delicious when marinated and grilled. I usually use a Greek marinade of lemon juice, red wine, extra-virgin olive oil, lots of garlic, rosemary and oregano. For Easter, we butterflied a leg of lamb and cut some into kabobs and pieces sufficient to serve the two of us. It was exceptional.
Burgers are another matter! Besides beef, we like lamb and bison burgers. We get bison from Cook’s Bison Ranch near Wolcottville. It’s delicious in meatloaf, as well, when combined with a half portion of ground pork.
For beef burgers, I like a mix of 1/3 ground chuck, 1/3 ground short rib and 1/3 ground brisket. This mix provides a nice ratio between fat and meat and results in very juicy burgers. Order these from Martin’s Custom Butchery outside Wakarusa.
I like to brine and grill whole birds. Turkey, chicken, Cornish hens and duck are common, but on occasion, squab, pheasant, quail, goose (A Christmas goose is really special!) have been thrown on the grill. Bamber’s Superette near the South Bend Farmer’s market usually has all kinds of fowl in the freezer.
Whatever your preference, you have to try grilled duck breast. It’s steak with wings! So, grill it like steak. Medium-rare is best. We’ve bought from both Maple Leaf and Culver Duck farms and cannot tell any differences. What we do like, though, is that at Culver, you can order exactly what you want (even eggs and foie gras) on Monday and pick them up on Wednesday.
There’s a whole duck in the freezer, so that will likely be on the grill sometime this month.
We grill all kinds of fish — especially whole fish. Snapper and Branzino are particularly delicious when stuffed with slices of onion and lemon mixed with garlic and herbs.
For shell fish, like shrimp and scallops, I use a salt block on the grill. The block gets really hot and sears smaller fish pieces quickly.
Salmon, halibut, walleye, whitefish, sole, swordfish and grouper are favorite fillets for grilling. Most of these cuts are available at larger Lake Country groceries.
Make the most of new freedom we can enjoy in the coming months, and break-out the grill.
For recipes on any of these items, email: [email protected] .