The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks


Thu Aug 10, 2017

Grilled Panzanella Salad

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Grilled Panzanella

There's an episode of King of the Hill where Bobby is waxing poetics about the flavor of his organic, co-op purchased tomato, which leads to a lecturing return from Hank on how tomatoes don't have any flavor, only to be left speechless himself after one bite of what we can only assume is the sweet, savory flavor of a really great tomato. When that episode first aired, I knew exactly what Hank was experiencing—I had thought tomatoes were nothing more than mealy, tasteless orbs my whole life, until one bite of an in-season tomato from my CSA many, many years ago let me know how wrong I was. Now I can't wait for tomato season every year, and when it hits, I make sure to get my fill of them from the farmer's market and restaurants, eating up as many as possible while they're in their prime. Last summer, as part of my tomato fix, I decided to try out a recipe from Serious Eats for a panzanella salad, and the results were so outstanding that the wait for another tomato season to make it again was excruciating, but it finally came, and this year I changed things up a bit to work in the grill, and I think it only made it all the better.

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Thu Jun 8, 2017

Grilled Halloumi Toasts with Watermelon Salad

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Halloumi Toasts with Watermelon Salad

I feel like it's really summer when watermelon starts showing up at most all gatherings. This fruit is specifically designed for outdoor consumption with its dripping juice providing an equally refreshing and frustratingly messy experience that would feel out of place if it weren't enjoyed in the heat a of summer at a picnic or cookout. So to kick off what is now summer using the watermelon barometer, I give you these appropriately light toasts topped with grilled halloumi and dressed with a watermelon and mint salad.

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Thu May 5, 2016

Strawberry and Halloumi Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Grilled Strawberry and Halloumi Salad

Just before I began writing this post, my wife told me one of the sweetest things—she picked up a pint of fresh strawberries at the farmer's market on her way home. It was soured though when she made it clear they were intended for her own personal smoothie use. Oh what a cruel fate, in the height of strawberry season I have my favorite fruit in its most delicious state sitting in the kitchen and was instructed not to eat it. There's no way I was going to be beholden to those demands and have already sneaked a few berries for myself, and that led me to thinking this is a perfect time to bust out this recipe for a strawberry and halloumi salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

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Tue Sep 8, 2015

Aioli-and-Pesto Fingerling Potato Salad

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Fingerling Potato Salad

There are some neighborhood restaurants that just feel like home. It'll take some time for me to find that place in my new locale of Durham, but back in Astoria there was no question that Il Bambino played that part in my life. It's a small panini shop that opened a few years after I moved to the neighborhood, and I was instantly enamored of their excellent sandwiches, welcoming owner, and a killer cannellini bean salad with pesto that quickly became my go-to appetizer. The restaurant hasn't changed too much over the years, and while the menu fluctuates just enough to keep things interesting, my main comforts have persisted over time.

It was a sad day though when I came in and saw that the bean salad was not on the menu. In its place was an unassuming fingerling potato salad. I ordered it, skeptical any dish could replace my fondness for the bean salad, but was taken aback with just how amazing it was.

Tender and creamy fingerling potatoes were coated in a truffle aioli, drizzled with the same fresh basil pesto that made the bean salad so magical, sprinkled with sweet and crunchy fried shallots, and generously topped with delicate shavings of sharp and salty pecorino romano. One bite and I'd nearly forgotten about that bean salad.

So, when I was considering what side to bring to my first cookout I was invited to down here in NC, I felt like anything less than this particular combination of ingredients would be selling myself short. It's rather process-heavy as potato salads go, but it's worth every second of it.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015

Mustard Coleslaw

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Mustard Slaw

When getting into barbecue, I had to take a long time enemy face on—coleslaw. I knew coleslaw only as that tough, bland salad doled out in medicine cups at Greek dinners, dressed with mayo as if that would make such an undesirable side more palatable. When I became a barbecue fiend, I was confronted with slaw in larger portions, and guiltily left it remaining on my plate after finishing all the glorious smoked meats that sat next to it. It took some time, but I couldn't rightfully keep being so wasteful, so started to cautiously indulge in coleslaw, and while mostly I remained unimpressed, I came across a few that surprised me with how delicious they were. Over my many years of cooking, I made it a point to whip up some coleslaw now and again in an attempt to make it match, or better, those that I found worthy of being served with barbecue, and I'm happy to say I've finally found slaw nirvana in this unassuming mustard coleslaw.

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