My Dad is a grill master. And he’s a bit cocky about it. He even wears a “King of the Coals” grilling apron that my Mom got him. He taught me a few things, but he was too prideful to “pass the tongs” to me at family cook outs. But with a little time and a lot of trials on my tailgating crew, I finally perfected these recipes and challenged him to a cook off. Since my Mom abstained from voting, the jury is still hung, but just the fact that he didn’t outright win is a victory for me.
BBQ Chipotle Chicken Sandwiches
6 boneless chicken breasts
6 sandwich rolls
12 tomato slices
Red leaf or romaine lettuce
½ cup cilantro
1 bay leaf
½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
¼ cup white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, pureed
Place all marinade ingredients in a blender and puree on high speed, reduce speed and slowly pour in vegetable oil. Pour marinade over chicken and cover, or use large re-sealable bag, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Mix together mayonnaise and pureed chipotle until well incorporated, can be kept refrigerated covered for up to a week.
Preheat, clean, and lightly oil BBQ grill. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess, and cook on grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then rotate chicken breast ¼ turn and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip chicken over and cook for an additional 6 minutes rotating ¼ turn half-way through, once chicken is fully cooked remove from grill and let rest while assembling sandwiches.
Cut rolls in half lengthwise, place on grill and lightly toast for one minute. Spread chipotle mayo on both sides of bread, add chicken, and garnish with lettuce and tomato.
Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp
20 large shrimp (or prawns)
1 lb. of sliced bacon
2-3 fresh Jalapeños, seeded
2-3 slices Monterey jack cheese, ¼-inch thick
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
¼ cup Gallo Family Vineyards’ pinot grigio
5-6 wooden skewers, soaked in water at least 20 minutes
Mix the paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper together. Set aside.
Cut the cheese and jalapeños into 20 thin strips total, about 1/4 inch wide. With a paring knife, ‘butterfly’ each shrimp by carefully slicing from tail to tip without going all the way through. Stuff one piece of cheese and Jalapeño into each shrimp, wrapping each shrimp in bacon. Place shrimp on a wet skewer. Repeat this process until all shrimp have been placed on skewers, using as much of the skewer as possible without crowding.
Place skewers in a large container or on a platter. Melt the butter in the microwave, add the white wine and stir, spoon melted butter over the shrimp and sprinkle with seasoning mix.
Cook skewers over medium hot (if grilling) until shrimp are done and bacon is cooked, 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve over saffron rice with a tropical salsa.
Grilled Chicken in Mango Chipotle Mojo
1½ cups canned mango nectar (1- 12 oz. can)
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo
¼ cup spicy tomato-based barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” chunks
For the Mango Chipotle Mojo, puree the nectar, peppers, barbecue sauce, honey, and lime juice until smooth in a food processor or blender. Season to taste and add more lime juice, if you like. Reserve half to serve with the chicken.
Place the chicken in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the remaining half of Mango Chipotle Mojo. Seal the bag, toss to coat, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours, tossing occasionally.
Remove chicken from the mojo and thread onto skewers. Discard the used marinade.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
Grill the chicken, turning often, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with the reserved Mango Chipotle Mojo.
Kicked-Up Grilled Peaches
4 large white peaches
1 ½ cups mascarpone cheese
¼ cup candied ginger, minced
Zest from one lemon
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp orange liqueur, optional
Mix all ingredients except peaches with mascarpone cheese and let chill for at least an hour for flavors to meld together.
Halve and pit the peaches, then fill the cavity with cheese mixture. Place cheese side up on grill over a medium barbecue, close cover and cook until warmed through, maybe 6-8 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature.