En español | There was a time when I grill-roasted big festive cuts such as whole turkeys, pork shoulder and prime rib for the summer celebrations. No more. My new mission: Eat less meat, leaner meat, better meat. With that in mind, I will share three of my favorite recipes for summer grilling.
A well-marbled steak or chop may taste great, but it's not so great for you. The saturated fat in lamb, beef and pork eventually clogs the arteries and can lead to heart disease, so stick with leaner cuts like the ones I've featured here: London broil from the top round; pork tenderloin, which is the leanest of the pork cuts; and boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Lean cuts have their challenges. Fat equals flavor, and without it, meat can taste lackluster. And overcooking can cause them to dry out and toughen up.
For all three cuts, I've developed simple, high-flavor marinades, which enhance taste. The sweet, sour, smoky beef marinade, as well as the barbecue-flavored pork marinade, are designed for a pregrill soak, while the soy chicken one is ideal for a postgrill dunk. The lightly sweet beef and pork marinades and the brown sugar sprinkle on the chicken will help these cuts brown, and that translates into high flavor.
For these cuts to stay juicy, you'll need high heat and short cooking times, so make sure the grill is fully preheated (for me that's about 10 minutes), and then get the meat off quickly. Pricking the London broil with a fork and slicing the steak thinly across the grain also ensures more tender meat.
Someone recently told me we should treat fatty red meat like decadent desserts — fully enjoyed, but only occasionally. So grill up lean cuts like the ones featured here and serve them with a side of fresh grilled vegetables (I've suggested one for each dish) and a big salad — vegetable or bean and grain — and you've got a fresh, colorful healthy summer-weekend feast. Then maybe you'll have room for a decadent dessert!
Barbecue-Marinated 5-4-5 Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Serves 6 to 8
Serve this succulent pork with slices of grilled sweet potatoes and your favorite coleslaw. To grill the potatoes, coat the peeled slices with a little oil and season them with salt and pepper. Add them to the grill along with the tenderloins, turning them and removing them from the grill at the same time as the pork. Set out extra barbecue sauce for dipping.
- 1/4 cup your favorite sweet barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons each canola oil, molasses and cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Ground black pepper
- 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds)
Mix barbecue sauce, canola oil, molasses, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl; pour into a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Add tenderloins; marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. (Return to room temperature before cooking.)
Heat gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes, or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate well with an oil-soaked rag. Add tenderloins, close lid and grill until dark-brown grill marks form, about 5 minutes. Turn tenderloins over, close lid and continue to grill until dark-brown grill marks form on remaining side, about 4 minutes longer. Keeping lid closed, turn off all burners and let tenderloins remain on the grill rack until fully cooked, about 5 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into medallions and serve.
Sweet-Sour-Smoky Marinated-Grilled London Broil
Accompany this dish with grilled asparagus. Just drizzle the spears with a little oil and season them with salt and pepper. When you turn the steak, add the spears to the grill, perpendicular to the grill rack. They should be done at the same time as the steak.
- 2 tablespoons each olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 London broil steak, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds, pricked multiple times with a fork
Mix oil, vinegar, Worcestershire and soy sauces, mustard and garlic powder in a small bowl; pour into a gallon-size zipper-lock bag. Add steak; marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours at room temperature or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. (Return to room temperature before cooking.)
Heat gas grill, igniting all burners on high for at least 10 minutes, or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean grate with a wire brush and then lubricate well with an oil-soaked rag. Add steak, close lid and grill, turning only once, to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium. Remove steak from grill and let rest 5 minutes. Slice thin and serve.
Grilled Five-Spice Chicken Breasts With Soy Dipping Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
I love grilled bok choy with this recipe. To grill bok choy, quarter the heads lengthwise and give them a thorough rinse, shaking off excess water. Drizzle them with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the bok choy wedges to the grill with the chicken, also turning them and removing them at the same time as the chicken. For a flavor boost, drizzle them lightly with sesame oil.
- 4 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds) split crosswise to form 8 thin cutlets
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; more for the grill
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Mix the five-spice powder, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the garlic powder and a sprinkling of salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Put the chicken in a shallow pan, drizzle with the vegetable oil, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken; toss and rub to coat thoroughly.
Heat a gas grill with all burners on medium-high for 10 minutes or build a hot charcoal fire. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked rag. Put the chicken on the grate and grill until one side has dark grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
Transfer chicken to a serving dish. Drizzle with about half of the soy mixture, sprinkle with cilantro, and toss to coat. Let rest 4 to 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with the remaining soy mixture passed at the table.