Late Season BBQ: Flavors of Summer and Fall

The first thing I noticed when writing this article is that I tend to use more citrus-based marinade in spring and summer grilling than the earthy rubs used in the fall and winter BBQs.  Autumn flavors are richer and can include cumin, chili powder, rosemary and sage.

Weather doesn’t matter. Outside plans could adapt to indoor cast iron grill pans.  Basic recipes could be used with a wide variety of meats and sides.

Basic rubs to use on Flank Steak, Steak or London Broil

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 large garlic clove, chopped and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 dried rosemary, well chopped
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 flank steak (approximately 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed of all visible fat,
several shallow slits cut into each side

In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, garlic paste, cumin and sugar, then stir in the Worcestershire sauce to make a paste.

Rub both sides of the steak with the paste. Put the steak into a large resealable plastic bag, press out as much air as possible, seal the bag and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Prepare a fire in the grill. When the coals are covered with a light ash, spread them in an even layer. Oil the grill rack, place it to 6 inches over the coals and preheat the rack for 5 minutes before grilling meat.

Grilled Sweet Corn

Grilled corn is a simple barbecuing treat. The recipes below for corn in foil, flavored butters, and dry rubs will give your grilled corn an extra flavor kick.

– 4 medium-size ears sweet corn

Gently peel husks back to within 2 inches of the base. Remove silk and smooth husks back into place, completely covering kernels. Using kitchen twine, tie husks in several places to secure.

Fill a sink or a large saucepot with ice water and soak corn for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and shake off excess water.
Preheat grill. Generously oil the grill to prevent sticking. Grill directly over medium to medium-hot coals 5 inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until tender — 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove string and husks and serve with one of the flavored butters below.

Corn in Foil
Clean 4 medium-size ears of sweet corn.

Cut an 18-inch square of heavy-duty foil and place corn in center of foil.

Season with one of the flavored butters or rubs below, if desired.

If using a rub, dot each ear with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon water. Bring together 2 edges of foil and fold to seal, leaving space for steam. Fold short ends of foil in to seal. Grill as directed until tender — about 45 minutes. Remove foil and serve with flavored butter if not already seasoned. Makes 4 servings.

Flavored Butters

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Butter: In a medium-size bowl, mix together 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened unsalted butter or margarine, 1/4 cup chopped, well-drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil until well blended. Makes 1/2 cup.

Roasted Red Pepper and Black Olive Butter: In a medium-size bowl, mix together 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine, 1/4 cup each finely chopped roasted red peppers and chopped, pitted black olives, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until well blended. Makes 1/2 cup.

Lemon-Chive Butter: In a medium-size bowl, mix together 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine, 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or 4 teaspoons crumbled freeze dried, and 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest until well blended. Makes 1/2 cup.

Dry Rubs for Corn

Chili-Cumin Rub: In a small bowl, stir together 2 1/2 teaspoons each chili powder and ground cumin and 1 teaspoon salt. Makes 2 tablespoons.

Ginger-Curry Rub: In a small bowl, stir together 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger and 1 teaspoon each curry powder and salt. Makes 2 tablespoons.

Mixed Herb Rub: In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon each freshly chopped rosemary, sage, and thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons each crumbled dried rosemary, sage, and thyme. Makes 3 tablespoons.

Grilled Fresh Fruit
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved
4 bananas, halved lengthwise
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons simple syrup, recipe follows

Simple Syrup:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the fruit in the sugar to coat. Grill over medium heat, until a golden crust begins to form on the fruit, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

In another medium bowl, mix together the mint, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Arrange the fruit on a serving platter, drizzle the mint syrup over top, and serve.

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Take pan off heat and cool the syrup before using. Any extra cooled syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Grilled Watermelon
1 seedless watermelon, sliced into wedges, 1 1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Cut each slice in half, creating two wedges (if your melon is really big, you may need to cut each slice into three wedges). You can leave the rind on or cut it off; it’s totally up to you.

Lightly sprinkle the wedges on both sides with the salt. Stand the wedges on their edges on a rack over a sink or pan and let them drain for half an hour.

Preheat the grill to high.

After the watermelon has drained, rinse each piece under cold running water. Place each piece between two folded paper towels and gently but firmly press to remove excess water. You should stop just when you feel the watermelon begin to crunch.

Brush the watermelon lightly on both sides with the olive oil. Grill over high heat until grill marks have formed and the melon is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from grill and sprinkle with sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper.

All these basics can be used as the makings of a fantastic late summer or fall BBQ – rich foods with the light flavors of summer starting to blend into the savory, earthy tastes of fall.


About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.