Jazz Up Your Grill's Fare

Summer and grilling go hand-in-hand, but sometimes you need to jazz up your grill repertoire.

So, forget the same old hot dog and burger recipes. Instead, check out the Summer 2006 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine to find great, thoughtful recipes sure to vow friends and family alike.

The magazine's editor in chief, Chris Kimball, visited The Early Show Tuesday to share recipes, tips, and word on his favorite grilling gadgets, all tested by his crew at America's Test Kitchen.

Kimball prefers charcoal grills, because they provide exceptional browning and searing that a gas grill simply can't replicate. Also, a charcoal grill provides your dishes with an amazing smoky flavor.

Traditional charcoal has come back into vogue in the past decade. Irregularly shaped lumps of charred wood burn faster than the neat briquettes that became popular in the United States after World War II. Cook's Illustrated's editors like the lump hardwood charcoal, because it's 100 percent hardwood and contains no additives.


1. Use enough charcoal. There's no sense spending $50 on steaks, then steaming them over an inadequate fire. The size of your grill, the amount of food being cooked, and the desired intensity of the fire are all factors in deciding how much charcoal to use.

2. Make sure the coals are covered with fine gray ash before you start to grill. Such ash is a sign that the coals are fully lit and hot.

3. One the coals are ready, set the cooking grate in place, and let it heat up for five minutes.

4. Don't use the cover when grilling. It can impart give foods an off-flavor. If you need to trap heat, use foil.


• Grill Wizard grill brush
• Thermapen Digital Thermometer
• Welding Gloves from Hardware Store: Cheap and They Work
• Amco Tongs
• WEBER Rapid Fire Chimney Starter
• BBQ Basting Brush
• Norpro's 12-inch Stainless Skewers

For recipes, go to Page 2.


Charcoal Grilled Potatoes for Salad
Serves 4 to 6

When buying potatoes for these salads, make sure they are no larger than 3 inches in diameter. You will need about fifteen 10-ince metal or wooden skewers. Wooden skewers may require trimming to fit in a Dutch oven. Prepare the other salad ingredients while the water heats, so the salad can be made with potatoes that are hot off the grill. Because the potatoes are precooked, they need only brown on the grill. This recipe provides instruction for building a hot or medium-hot fire, but you can grill the potatoes alongside your main dish over a charcoal-or gas-grill fire of any intensity. If cooking over a medium or medium-low heat, increase cooking times by 1 or 2 minutes per side.

1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, 2 to 3 inches in diameter scrubbed and unpeeled, cut into eighths
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, bring 4-quarts water to boil over high heat; add 1 teaspoon salt.
2. Skewer potato pieces. Drop skewers into boiling water and boil until knife slips in and out of potatoes easily, about 10 minutes.
3. While potatoes boil, line rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. With tongs, remove skewers to paper towel-lined baking sheet; pat potatoes dry with additional paper towels. Discard paper towels (potatoes can be cooked to room temperature for up to 2 hours); brush all sides of potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until all charcoal is covered with layer of fine gray ash, about 20 minutes. Build single-level fire by spreading coals evenly over bottom of grill. Set cooking grill in place, cover grill with lid, and let grate heat up about 5 minutes. Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. Grill is ready when coals are hot or medium-hot. (See how to gauge heat level on pate 31.)
5. Place skewers on grill; cook, turning skewers twice with tongs, until all sides are browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
6. Slide hot potatoes off skewers into medium bowl and use immediately.

Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Alla Diavola
Serves 3 to 4

Clean the grill of residual ash from previous use; residual ash can catch fat drippings and cause flare-ups

Chicken and Brine
2 whole garlic heads, outer papers removed
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 cup table salt
1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), butterflied and pounded

Garlic-Pepper oil
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil

Vegetable oil for grill grate
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

1. To brine chicken: Combine garlic heads, bay leaves, and salt in gallon-sized zipper-lock bag; press the air and seal bag. Using rubber mallet, pound mixture until garlic cloves are crushed; transfer mixture to large container and stir in 2 quarts cold water until salt is dissolved. Immerse chicken in brine and refrigerate 2 hours.
2. For garlic-pepper oil: While chicken is brining, heat garlic, black pepper, pepper flakes, and olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat until garlic is sizzling and mixture registers about 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Divide garlic-pepper oil into 2 small bowls and set aside.
3. To flavor chicken: Remove chicken from brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Apply 2 tablespoons infused oil beneath the skin.
4. To grill chicken: Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until all charcoal is covered with layer of fine gray ash, about 20 minutes. Bank half of coals on either side of grill, leaving midsection of grill free of coals. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. (See how to gauge heat level on page 31.) Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. Lightly dip small wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Lightly dip small wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Position chicken skin side down on grate over area with no coals; cover grill and fully open lid vents.
5. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Carve drizzle with remaining infused oil, and serve lemon wedges.

Grilled Potato and Arugula Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 4 to 6

1 recipe Grilled potatoes for Salad
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
Table Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 large bunch arugula, washed, dried, stems trimmed (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2 - inch pieces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, mined (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Toss hot potatoes with 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add chives, arugula, and yellow pepper; toss to combine.
2. Combine mustard, shallot, remaining 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, olive oil, and salt to taste in small bowl. Pour over potatoes; toss to combine. Serve immediately.

German-Style Grilled Potato Salad
Serves 4 to 6

Toast the mustard seeds in a small dry skillet (keeping the skillet covered in order to keep the seeds in place) until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the hot seeds to the vinegar and let them steep while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

1 recipe Grilled Potatoes for Salad
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, toasted and added to red wine vinegar (see note above)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Table Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices of bacon (about 4 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4 - inch strips
2 small shallots, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 rib celery, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Toss hot potatoes with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and mustard seed mixture, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper
2. Fry bacon in medium and crisp, about 6 minutes; with slotted spoon, transfer bacon to bowl with potatoes. Reduce heat to medium, add shallots to fat in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to boil; stir in remaining tablespoon vinegar mixture. Pour mixture over potatoes, add celery, parsley, and salt to taste; toss to combine. Serve. (Can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature up to 30 minutes; toss before serving.)

Spicy Grilled Potato Salad with Corn and Poblano Chiles
Serves 4 to 6

Poblano chiles are relatively mild; to increase spiciness, include the minced seed and ribs of the jalapenos. You can roast the poblano chiles right on the grill.

1 recipe grilled potatoes for Salad
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup cooked corn kernels cut from 2 ears grilled (see page 59) or boiled corn
2 medium poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 - inch pieces
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons juice from 1 or 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 scallions, white parts only, sliced thin
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves

1. Toss hot potatoes with vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Add corn, poblanos, and jalapenos; toss to combine
2. Whisk lime juice and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves; whisk in olive oil and salt to taste. Pour lime juice mixture over potatoes and add scallions and cilantro; toss to combine. Serve. (Salad can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature up to 30 minutes; toss before servings)