It is the Fourth of July and I know you are going to eat really well today! But are you going to be grilling!? This post is a bit biased and slanted for the ladies. Fellas, feel free to read (because there’s something in this for you, too), but ladies, I woke up with you in mind on this hot day when we’re deciding what we’re going to cook and how that’s going to happen.
Sometime last year I briefly touched on girl’s grilling out in my LATINA column. The theme was more or less a pictorial proposition that we can grill and so I shared a few enticing images with my suggestion of ideal tools that would get us started at the parrilla.
I don’t know that I convinced many women that grilling was their thing or even something they could remotely find interest in doing. And in all honestly, even after I wrote that piece and bought some really nice grilling goodies, I was not so keen on standing in front of a hot ass grill, patiently waiting for carne or any other food to be ready for consumption.
I like using my stovetop grill pan.
But, things have changed…
If I had to think about it, and I have, my active memory would take me to my childhood where we used to go camping every weekend. Our entire family would get thick in the experience. Fishing (hooking worms and all), canoeing, hiking, hitching tents and later cranking up campers, starting fires at a late and starry midnight hour for us to enjoy roasted marshmallows and the required dive into the mossy lake.
And, grilling of course because we had to eat and there was no kitchen. We’d either bring our own portable one or the respective campsite would have one of those standard park ones that bear nada. Caveman like grills. In any case, papi usually did all the grilling when we took our weekend excursions. He’d gather would or buy charcoal, and in his macho man like stature, set everyone back while he lit up the fire. As kids, we were curious and wanted to help but it was too “dangerous.”
The food we ate during our camping trips, and we took hundreds of them, were great. There was something special about eating food that was prepared outside without all the fancy utensils we had back at home. Very rustic if you will.
Pero ahora, mami is the one that grills. Not at the camping sites, rather at home. She dominates our huge and powerful ironclad machine. I’ve subconsciously watched her over the years and I realized that she knows what she’s doing. It’s not just about slapping a piece of steak or pollo on the grill. It’s more than that.
There’s buying the gas tank. Refilling it. Hooking it up. Knowing when to light the charcoal and carefully igniting it. I won’t bore you with those logistical details that must be learned if you really want to be grill master.
I’m simply using her skill as an example that we women can grill, too! If you’re not into all those prerequisites I just mentioned, at least do the cooking part! After all, that’s where the fun is! Let the fellas hook it all up and then step in there and get right to it.
There’s so much you can cook on the grill. I’ve enjoyed making grilled vegetables, fruits (like platanos maduros — OM!) in addition to the known staples. And, I promise you it’s not that complicated–actually, sometimes it’s simpler than conventional cooking.
I found for myself that once I’ve decided what I’m going to cook, it’s all a matter of embracing the method as you would stovetop cooking; only your outside and you’ll probably end up smelling like a smokey piece of meat by the time you’re done. If you’re okay with that, then I guarantee you’ll find extreme satisfaction in grilling!
Plus, who doesn’t like eating grilled foods! It tastes so good! All that smoke, all the rub (cause you have to make your own, but that’s another post for another day).
So, I urge you, as my sister in cooking to break out of your box, fears if any and go for it. Start simple so that you’re not intimidated or discouraged. Here are my suggestions to easily segue into the process, which will ultimately put you in charge. Well you already are, but this just adds another dimension!
1. Buy (or even borrow) a decent grill– note that it doesn’t have to be a fancy one with the gas tank which you’d have to learn how to use since it’ll have ignitions and temperature dials. A basic one just has a pit for charcoal and a grill top. Go for that latter if you’re just starting out.
2. Buy some charcoal. Because real grilling requires charcoal. And lighter fluid. And aluminum foil (great for wrapping up stuff like corn).
3. Buy some grilling basics (pictured below-thermostat being an important one if you don’t know how to gauge cooked meat).
4. Choose your foods for grilling (steaks, chicken, vegetables, shrimp, etc…).
5. Marinade your proteins with adobo, seasoning, mojo or homemade rubs (or your vegetables).
6. Light your grill and let it heat up.
7. Slap your meats and other foods on the grill and let the monster machine do its job!
8. Yes, you must watch it on occasion to make sure you’re getting the right amount of smoke and that you’re food is not over-cooking. You want to avoid drying your food out, which can happen since it’s on direct flames.
(grilling essentials: brush, scraper, spatula)
Remove your food and eat up! Sure, I could go into more detailed chatter on how to grill, but this my friends is all you need to know to get you foster some confidence, get you started and on your way to mastering the grill! In fact, in a super quick query I posed this morning to some girlfriends, I learned a lot of us love to grill certain foods and aren’t afraid. I’m talking basics like hotdogs, hamburgers, corn, skewered shrimp, chicken kabobs, and more yumminess. So fret not! Plus it’s way sexy. Any many I know loves to see a woman man-handling the grill.
Know that it’s initially on how you season your food–that will make all the difference. The other stuff will come as you practice, standing there and flipping your goodies. Trust me, there are endless ways to grill and endless enjoyment in learning new things.
In the meantime, here’s a great semi-homemade rub and marinade I made for a caliente rib eye steak a la parrilla. I served it with a grilled tomatillo sauce and grilled corn with a bleu cheese butter — all made on the grill!
And all so damn delicious. Now only if I had a grill of my own (because yes, I cooked in D.C. at my parent’s house)! For now, my stovetop grill pan will work!
Here’s to girl grilling power! Happy, safe, sexy and delicious 4th of July!
*this post is part of my Latina Smart ambassadorship and as such is sponsored. However, the topic, thoughts and recipe are my own, as always!
**OF FUN AND IMPORTANT NOTE: I’LL BE SPEAKING AT THE BLOGGING WHILE BROWN CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND IN L.A. DuoDishes and I WIL BE HOSTING A SEXY ROOFTOP PARTY ON THIS THURSDAY TO KICK-OFF THE CONFERENCE AND YOU’RE INVITED. OH, AND DON’T WANT TO MISS IT! LOTS OF GOODIES TO BE GIVEN AWAY, LOT OF SEXINESS AND NETWORKING! READ HERE FOR ALL OF THE DETAILS!
Spicy Rub & Malta Marinated Rib Eye Grilled Steak With Tomatillo Salsa
- 2.5-3lbs. boneless rib eye steak
- ½ cup Malta drink (any brand will work)
- ½ cup Worchestire sauce
- 1 ¼ tbs. spicy rub
- 1.5 tbs. sage honey
- 2 tsp. whole ground black pepper
- 1.5 tsp. salt
For Tomatillo Salsa
- 2 lbs. fresh tomatillos (husked)
- 2 small white onions
- 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 4 tbsp. fresh limejuice
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
Rinse steak, pat dry and place in large platter. Using your fingers even distribute the spicy rub. Add salt and pepper. Add Malta and Worchestire sauce. Cover and refrigerate for an hour. Light up the grill. Remove steaks from refrigeration and stir in honey to marinade. Using tongs, place steak on grill and baste with the juices from the marinade. Insert the thermostats in each steak. Turn heat on grill to medium and close. Cook on each side for 10-12 minutes. Open grill and flip steaks using large spatula (you can use tongs here, too). Check needle on thermostat for doneness). Baste other side with the remaining marinade, making sure to saturate them well. While grill top is open, rinse tongs (or using a different pair, place tomatillos and garlic on grill, around the steaks. Close grill and cook steaks for another 10-12 minutes; and tomatillos until charred around, but not too soft. Using tongs or spatula, you can flip steaks one more time or until your desired doneness is achieved (as indicated by your thermostat*). Remove steaks and place back into another large platter. Remove tomatillos and garlic from grill and place in bowl.
Once you’ve roasted the tomatillos and garlic, cut tomatillos half and add to a food processor or blender. Add onions, salt, cumin, olive oil, and limejuice. Pulse for 3-4 minutes until you have a nice chunky salsa.
To serve, use a large steak knife to cut pieces of carnita. You can alternatively, serve single filets. Pour 3 tbsp. of tomatillo sauce overtop steak. Serve with grilled corn and other vegetables, as desired.