Where there’s Smoke …

Growing up in Michigan, the Great Lake State, the Magical Mitten, the Gastronomic Glove of this great country – has been a culinary blessing. The Great Lakes that surround out state offer us an unprecedented wealth of freshwater fish, our agriculture and ranching is literally bursting at the seams with our forests filled with wild game.

As a child I remember all those foods but not because I was a farmer, fisherman, or hunter. No, I remember all of those wonderful indigenous ingredients because of my families love of food and cooking alfresco!

Cooking outside on a campfire, grill or smoker is one of the most intriguing methods of cooking for me. Gone are all of the convenience appliances and gadgets. Even eschewing gas or briquets for the more flavorful lump charcoal or my preference, natural wood.

Cooking over wood is one of the most exciting and intimidating methods of cookery. Depending on the type of grill you have the only way of regulating the heat is by moving the food closer or further away from the flame. It’s a dance, with your steak as your partner and the searing heat from the cooking grate as your dance floor.

Guests at my home are often met with the whiff of hardwood smoke as the embers begin to die down from whatever i happened to be preparing that day. One thing is for sure, whatever menu i have created was prepared outdoors with the bounty that my state offers.

I found this recipe at the TOH culinary archives and found it to be remarkably similar to a recipe I have been preparing for years. The only real difference is technique – I like to impale the whole pineapple on a rotissorie and cooking over the open fire while basting with the maple butter from time to time resulting in a pineapple roast that’s carved at the table. Either way its an exciting way to end a meal!

Grilled Pineapple


4 Servings Prep/Total Time: 20 min.

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts or hazelnuts, toasted
Combine syrup and butter; set aside. Quarter the pineapple
lengthwise, leaving top attached.

Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and
lightly coat the grill rack. Grill, uncovered, over medium heat for
5 minutes. Turn; brush with maple butter. Grill 5-7 minutes longer
or until heated through; brush with maple butter and sprinkle with
nuts. Serve with remaining maple butter. Yield: 4 servings.

It’s usually pretty easy to find your main dish for the grill. Steaks, chicken, ribs etc. The one thing i hear over and over is for new suggestions for side dishes to accompany those backyard stars but still produce it outside. This recipe for grilled cabbage is a perfect side that everybody will marvel at.

Grilled Cabbage


8  Servings/Total Time: 30 min.

1 medium head cabbage (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cut cabbage into eight wedges; place on a double thickness of
heavy-duty foil (about 24 in. x 12 in.). Spread cut sides with
butter. Sprinkle with onion, garlic salt and pepper.

Fold foil around cabbage and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over
medium heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to
allow steam to escape.

Yield: 8 servings.

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