10 Recipes and Pairings for Every Type of Summer Grilling
With summer settling in, we prepare ourselves for a host of upcoming holidays that encourage fun in the sun. Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day all celebrate different cultural cornerstones of America: our armed forces, our nation’s founding and the labor movement. But the other quality they share is each being a good excuse to fire up the grill.
Most people have their go-to dishes when grilling season sets in, be it a charbroiled burger or simple seared steak with little more to it than salt, pepper and the right glass of wine to sip alongside. But whether you’re looking to perfect your technique on the classics or want to try your hand at something special for guests this year, these recipes cover everything from three takes on how to flame-broil a steak to steamed oysters on the grill, these recipes will make sure you’re eating well all summer long.
And whether seafood, beef or a vegetable-based side, we promise you’ll have the right wine on hand for any meal.
Jump straight to a recipe
Australian chef Paul Iskov takes pop-up dining to a whole new level. His company, Fervor, creates multi-course meals from foraged and local ingredients, held in gloriously remote locales around Western Australia and with great respect for the traditional custodians of the land.
In true Fervor style, this oyster recipe features foraged Australian beach herbs traditionally, but don’t fret if you find yourself lacking access to saltbush, samphire, dune spinach or sea celery. Instead, Iskov recommends to substitute dill, cilantro, chives and parsley in place of regional ingredients.
Celebrate the end of summer Aussie bush-style by steaming the oysters over an open fire while imagining you’re surrounded by kangaroos on the silky sands of a West Aussie beach.
- 1 dozen oysters
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or pearls from 4 finger limes, if available)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon Castor sugar, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon dill, minced
- ¼ teaspoon cilantro, minced
- ¼ teaspoon chives, minced
- ¼ teaspoon parsley, minced
In bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and lime juice. Add salt and castor sugar, to taste.
Steam whole oysters on mesh grill over fire until shells open, about 8 minutes. Remove from fire, and let cool.
Remove top half of shell and discard. With oyster-shucking knife or blunt back of small knife, disconnect oyster meat from bottom shell. Place spoonful of prepared dressing over each oyster. Sprinkle herbs atop before serving.
Kilikanoon 2017 Killerman’s Run Riesling (Clare Valley); $20, 89 points. This wine’s fragrant nose of lemon-lime, apple, orange peel, blossoms and a touch of gasoline leads into a dry, chalky-textured palate. It closes long and lemony. Nothing too complicated but a refreshing and classic Clare Valley Riesling nonetheless. —Christina Pickard
Courtesy Angela Davis, recipe developer, The Kitchenista Diaries
Vegetarians often get short shrift at the grill, but eggplant drizzled with steak-friendly chimichurri will make even meat eaters happy. Charred and smoky, eggplant rubbed with ancho chili and paprika is a brilliant match for the bright flavors of this spicy Argentinean herb sauce. The eggplant develops a crusty exterior with meltingly tender flesh inside. This vibrant main course is good warm or at room temperature, suitable for a cookout or a busy weeknight dinner.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 serrano pepper, finely diced
- 1 small shallot, minced
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¹⁄₃ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ancho chili
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil, plus more for grill
To make chimichurri: In bowl of food processor or mortar, combine all ingredients except olive oil and salt. Pulse (or grind with pestle) until finely minced. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue to pulse (or grind), and add just enough olive oil in thin stream to create thick but pourable dressing. Add salt, to taste. Set aside until needed.
To cook eggplant: Prepare outdoor grill for medium-high direct heat (400–450˚F), or heat a cast-iron grill pan until just shy of smoking.
Combine spices in small dish. Brush one side of eggplant slices with grapeseed oil, then season with spice mixture. Flip eggplant slices and repeat.
Brush grill grates lightly with grapeseed oil. Place eggplant on grill. Cook about 5 minutes, or until grill marks form. Flip and cook until eggplant is tender, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with chimichurri. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 2.
Bressia 2016 Monteagrelo Cabernet Franc (Mendoza).
Andy Myers, MS, wine director for José Andres’s ThinkFoodGroup in Washington, D.C., recommends an Argentinean wine. He cites chimichurri’s history in the country, and also that the eggplant is treated like a steak. This one “has those lovely ripe, red fruits that will add a sweet burst of flavor to the dish, but the light vegetal notes that Cab Franc are famous for will go nuts for the sauce and the roasted notes of the eggplant.”
Courtesy Greg Vernick, chef/owner, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia
At his namesake restaurant, James Beard Award winner Greg Vernick celebrates the diversity of the American larder with bold and innovative flavor combinations. This dish, which showcases a range of tastes, textures and temperatures, comes together in minutes with a little advance prep.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pan and grill
- 1 small onion, thin-sliced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 ripe peach or nectarine, halved and pitted
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1½ cups packed baby arugula
- ½ cup pitted Castelvetrano olives (or other green olives), coarse-chopped
- 2 ounces aged Gouda, crumbled
Coat medium, nonstick pan with olive oil and warm over medium-low heat. Add onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until medium-brown, about 30 minutes. Set aside. Onions may be prepared up to 3 days in advance and stored in refrigerator.
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, tenderize chicken between plastic wrap until very thin, at most ⁄8-inch. Salt each side lightly. Set aside.
Heat grill on high, and brush grates with olive oil. Place peach or nectarine halves on grill, cut-side down, and cook about 2 minutes. Let cool, then cut each half into 4 slices. Set aside.
Add chicken to grill. Grill for 1 minute on each side, or until cooked through. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and honey. Add onions, peaches and arugula, and toss to coat.
Arrange chicken on 2 plates and top each with salad, olives and Gouda. Serves 2.
Masciarelli 2018 Villa Gemma (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo); $20, 80 points. A pretty shade of ruby pink in the glass, this starts off with crushed cherry and herbs on the nose. The medium-bodied palate offers flavors of cherry skin and shattered stones that lead to an astringent veil of tannins on the finish. Vintus LLC. —Alexander Peartree
This traditional bistro recipe comes from Chef Josh Moulton, chef de cuisine of Culinart at the United Nations. His secret to the perfect steak frites is that the frites—or French fries—are cooked two times. For delicious results, do the first round of frying a day ahead, chill the fries, and fry again just before serving. And, if you don’t have a cooking thermometer, heat the oil, then test it by submerging one fry; if the fry pops up and floats, the oil is hot enough for cooking.
- 8 Idaho, russet, or Burbank potatoes, peeled
- Soybean oil (enough to fill the pan to a depth of 3 inches)
- 4 (10-ounce) sirloin steaks
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
In large, deep pot, heat soybean oil over medium-high heat to 250˚F on deep-fat thermometer. Add potatoes and blanch until soft throughout but not crisp or colored, 4 to 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove potatoes from the oil to drain on towel-lined pan. Reserve oil for later use.
Remove used towels, replace with fresh ones, and spread potatoes in single layer, using more lined pans if necessary. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight, ideally 24 hours.
Before serving, heat grill or broiler to maximum temperature. Season steaks well with salt and pepper. Grill or broil steaks until probe thermometer inserted into thickest part of steak registers 125˚F for medium rare. Transfer steaks to serving platter and let stand, loosely covered, for 5 minutes.
While steaks stand, remove potatoes from refrigerator. Heat reserved oil in large, deep pot to 350˚F. Add blanched potatoes and deep-fry until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain briefly on paper towels. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl and serve with steaks. Serves 4.
Tyson Fick has devoted his career to Alaskan salmon. A part-time commercial fisherman and former fishing guide, Fick has served as spokesman for the Alaskan fishing industry for the last five years. He’s caught and eaten more than his share of the five Pacific varieties: king (a k a Chinook), sockeye, coho, pink and chum.
“Salmon is not just salmon,” he says. “They all have slightly different flavors and mouthfeel, so they pair differently with wine. The king and sockeye have a more robust flavor and more Omega-3s than pink, so they can pair well with Pinot Noir.”
Wild Pacific salmon typically has half the total fat of its farm-raised Atlantic counterparts. Fick says most of the wild salmon sold in U.S. supermarkets is sockeye, with its bright red flesh and flaky texture. Fick likes to season his sockeye lightly with spicy Middle Eastern harissa and grill it with care.
- 4 skin-on sockeye salmon fillets, about 8 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste (available in specialty shops or Middle Eastern groceries)
Rub salmon with harissa. Marinate at room temperature for 45 minutes. Lightly oil grill and heat to 500˚F. Place filets over direct heat, flesh-side down. Turn after 3 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Move fillets away from direct heat, and reduce temperature or move coals away. Cook 8 minutes, or until center just turns from red to pink. Use spatula to separate and lift fillets from skin (unless you like crispy skin). Serve on warm plates. Serves 4.
Silas 2014 The Pearl Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $45, 91 points. A sleek, striking wine with wild-picked berry flavors of cranberry and raspberry, this underwent native yeast fermentation and rested on the lees for nine months. It’s fragrant, balanced and long, with bright fruit still quite fresh and lively. —Paul Gregutt
Courtesy Jenn de la Vega, Showdown: Comfort Food, Chili and BBQ (Page Street Publishing, 2017)
“The idea of this burger mix came from James Beard via another cook named Jeanne Owen. Originally, you grated onion into the meat. I like to use the less intense flavor of shallots with the smoky flavor of paprika. Instead of using burger buns that get soggy halfway through eating them, I took a page from Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton, who uses English muffins for her burgers. They’re sturdy and toast up well.” —Jenn de la Vega
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour active, 30 minutes passive
- 2 pounds ground round beef
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 small shallots, grated
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 6 slices white cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup Meyer Lemon Mayo
- ⅓ cup Romantic Romesco
- 6 English muffins
- 6 slices tomato
- 6 leaves Boston lettuce
- Wavy potato chips, optional
Combine the beef, heavy cream, shallot, garlic, salt and paprika. Fold the mixture delicately, careful not to overwork the meat. It is okay if it is studded visibly with shallot. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Using gloved hands, toss the meat one more time and then form 6 evenly-sized patties. Using your thumb, dent each burger with your thumb and then pinch from the center around the edges, as if you’re making a really shallow ash tray.
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Prepare a grill with a hot side and a cool side for resting burgers. Grill the burgers for 2 minutes and brush with butter. Flip and grill for 4 minutes, brush with more butter.
Rest the burgers on the cool side of the grill and place a slice of cheese on each one or store them on a sheet pan in the oven. Spread Meyer Lemon Mayo on one half of English muffin and toast on the grill. Assemble like so: bread, a spoonful of Romesco, cheese, burger, tomato, lettuce and bread. Enjoy with a bag of wavy chips; those are my favorite to have with burgers. Serves 6–8.
I love In-N-Out and smashed burgers. There’s something about the increased surface area that yields more crisp potential. Plus it’s really fun to smash something on a hot surface. Makes you feel all-powerful.
Place a cast-iron pan on high heat. Instead of forming a meat mix, form 6 large meatballs. Replace the butter with clarified butter or ghee. It cooks better at high heat and doesn’t burn as much. Beware of flare-ups near the edge of the pan. Turn on your vent; this dish will smoke!
Before cooking, brush the pan quickly with butter and then put in the meatball. Smash it down on the hot grill as flat as you can with a spatula or iron press. Cook for 2 minutes and then carefully flip it. Finish in the pan for another 2 minutes. Assemble and devour.
Maquis 2015 Gran Reserva Cabernet Franc (Colchagua Valley); $20, 92 points. Spicy, earthy berry aromas are at the foundation of a dry, elegant nose that isn’t just extracted and heavy. A balanced palate is fleshy and fruity, with flavors of baked plum and spiced blackberry. On the finish, this Cabernet Franc is dense, chocolaty, well oaked and spicy. Global Vineyard Importers. —Michael Schachner
Recipe courtesy True Food Kitchen, multiple locations
It’s a well known fact that Cabernet Sauvignon is a favorite of the culinary world as it’s unique tannic structure and red- and black-fruit flavors make this wine perfect for pairing with all types of dishes. However, this bold red doesn’t pair with anything quite like it pairs with steak.
Why it works: “A classic style of Cabernet Sauvignon showcases deep, dark cherry fruit with chewy tannins, followed by coffee and chocolate on the finish,” says Regan Jasper, brand sommelier for True Food Kitchen. “It acts as a frame, melding with the earthy, gamey tones of the beef, while the salsa verde freshens up the pairing.”
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
- ½ teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon good quality sea salt, plus extra
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1½ pounds grass-fed beef flap meat, trimmed and cut into four portions
- Fresh black pepper
Combine parsley, cilantro, fennel, vinegar, capers, anchovy paste, garlic, chili flakes, salt and ¾ cup of oil in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Salsa can be made one day ahead. Refrigerate in a covered container.
Season steak with salt and pepper. Gently toss with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, coating evenly. Sear on hot grill for 3 minutes. Turn over and cook 1–2 minutes. Using instant-read thermometer, cook to internal temperature of 110°F, about medium-rare. Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with salsa verde. Serves 4.
Vina Robles 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles); $26, 92 points. This bottling exhibits the richness that’s made Paso Robles famous, yet at a price point that’s great for frequent indulgence. Inky in the glass, the bottling’s lush nose offers concentrated black cherry, caramel, cocoa and coffee. It’s soft and smooth on the palate, where the black-cherry compote flavors are lifted by star anise and clove. Editors’ Choice. —Matt Kettmann
Nicholas Heidemann is a chef, caterer and lifelong angler who grew up at a fishing resort in Ontario. He fished and cooked his way around the world as a yacht chef and fishing expedition cook.
Heidemann lives on the shores of Clear Lake, and he caters for both winery and fishing events. While most fishermen use motorboats and spinning gear to catch largemouth bass here, he prefers to sail and use a fly rod.
“They’re just such rough and tough fighting fish, and they’re so much fun to catch,” he says. “I’ve been eating freshwater fish all my life—pike, pickerel, bass and all that. Some people look down on them and say, ‘No, don’t eat that stuff,’ but that’s just [baloney].”
Heidemann says that freshwater bass needs to be cooked right to taste its best. His recipe uses a marinade, lots of herbs, pecans and wood smoke to counter the oiliness and what some call the “muddy” scent of the uncooked fish.
- 4 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 largemouth bass fillets, about 6 ounces each (may substitute branzino)
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced tarragon
- 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced Meyer lemon zest (or ½ tablespoon each of orange and lemon zest)
Combine vinegar, mustard, horseradish, mayonnaise and olive oil in large bowl. Add fish. Coat well, and let marinate 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine pecans, garlic, herbs and zest in large, shallow baking dish. Shake excess marinade from fish. Dredge fillets in pecan mixture, packing the nuts onto the fish to coat evenly.
Heat grill to 500˚F. Add piece of oak or smoke chips. Once wood is smoking, place oiled wire rack with fine mesh (or oiled cast-iron skillet or griddle) on grill. Add fish in single layer. Close grill lid and cook about 3 minutes. Then turn the grill off and let finish 7 minutes, or until fish tightens and opens up a little (if using charcoal, move to the coolest part of the grill). Using thin-slotted spatula, carefully remove filets. Garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs. Serves 4.
Greywacke 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough); $23, 92 points. This vintage delivers appealing aromas of stone fruit, honeysuckle and wet stone, with only the slightest vegetal tone. There’s a lovely play between the creamy texture and crunchy acidity on the palate, highlighting flavors of orchard fruit, salt and snow pea. It finishes long, with stony minerality. Old Bridge Cellars. —Christina Pickard
Courtesy Richard Hyman, Owner and Executive Chef, Fenix, Lodi, CA
Richard Hyman named his new Lodi restaurant Fenix, a nod to the mythical bird that rises from the ashes. The name pays tribute to Hyman’s own comeback after suffering serious burns at his previous restaurant. At this modern, eclectic eatery marking new beginnings, the chef serves up dishes that are bold and creative, but not fussy. He prepares this steak Argentinian style, with vivid colors and strong flavors.
- 2 (12-ounce) skirt steaks
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
- 1 bunch flat parsley, stems removed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
- ¼ cup chopped sage leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 12 cloves garlic, chopped
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 1½ cups good-quality olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
If necessary, peel membrane and trim sinew from skirt steak. Set aside.
Put all other ingredients into blender. Pulse until slightly coarse. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place steaks in deep dish. Pour one-third of chimichurri on steaks, and rub into surface. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Heat charcoal grill. When coals are blazing, grill steaks 4 minutes per side (medium rare). Remove from grill. Spoon chimichurri over steaks and serve. Serves 2
Michael David 2015 Inkblot Petit Verdot (Lodi); $35, 91 points. Intense and lavishly fruity, this wine is ripe and concentrated in flavor, with a rich—almost thick—feel. Tons of blackberry, black cherry and dark chocolate flavors are layered between soft tannins for a luxurious texture and lingering finish. —Jim Gordon
Courtesy Julia Sherman, Salad For President
Each entry in Julia Sherman’s Salad for President blog is a collaboration with an artist, musician or other creative person. Their dialogue becomes a springboard for recipes, events and installations. All this will be showcased in a cookbook scheduled for release in 2017. This recipe is a clever salad take on the classic dessert pairing of peach and almond.
“The flavor of peak-season peaches is amplified on the grill,” says Sherman. “Their sugars caramelize and their juices run to make a sweet and tangy marinade for crusty chunks of sourdough.”
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons minced shallot
- 1 pound small ripe yellow peaches, halved and pitted
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 sandwich-sized slices crusty sourdough bread, 1-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons fresh roughly torn purple basil (can substitute green Genovese basil)
Whisk almond extract, vinegar and shallot in small bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, toss peaches with 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle or brush oil on each side of bread slices. Season with salt and pepper.
On a hot-oiled grill*, arrange bread on outer edges. Place peaches cut-side-down in center. Set aside bowl, retaining liquid. Grill bread for 1 minute on each side, until lightly toasted. Grill peaches until bottoms are caramelized and lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes. Cut toast into 1-inch cubes. Add to peach bowl, along with any crumbs. Slice peach halves into quarters. Add to peach bowl.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to almond-vinegar-shallot mixture slowly, whisking to emulsify. Drizzle dressing over peaches and bread. Let marinate 5–10 minutes.
Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Toss lightly with basil, and serve. Serves 2.
*Bread and peaches can also be broiled in the oven or cooked in a grill pan.
Ca’ del Bosco NV Cuveé Prestige Rosé Brut (Franciacorta); $60, 91 points. Aromas of wild berry, bread dough and crushed aromatic herb carry on to the silky savory palate together with tangerine, pomegranate and peach. Tangy acidity and a foaming mousse provide freshness and finesse. —Kerin O’Keefe
- 1Easy Steamed Oysters on the Grill
- 2Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Chimichurri
- 3Grilled Chicken Paillard with Peach, Olive and Aged Gouda Salad
- 4How to Make the Best Steak Frites with the Double-Fry Technique
- 5Harissa-Rubbed Grilled Alaskan Salmon
- 6“I Like It Shallot” Burger
- 7Grilled Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon Pairing
- 8Grilled Largemouth Bass with Pecan-Herb Crust
- 9Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri
- 10Grilled Peach Panzanella with Almond Essence Vinaigrette