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Beer-Marinated Chicken Tacos

Many Americans are accustomed to guacamole loaded with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and fiery chiles, but a more traditional version in Mexico and parts of Texas is simply mashed avocados with a bit of salt and lime juice. It's rich and buttery - a fabulous topping for these juicy chicken tacos.

  

For the marinade:
1 cup dark Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 4 ounces each

For the guacamole:
2 ripe Haas avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 flour or corn tortillas, 6 to 7 inches in diameter

To make the marinade:
In a small bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place them in a large, plastic resealable bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

To make the guacamole:
Cut the avocados lengthwise around the pits, twist the halves apart, and remove the pits. Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and salt. Using a potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash the ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface to prevent browning, and refrigerate until about 1 hour before serving.

Remove the chicken thighs from the bag and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken thighs over Direct Medium heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cut the thighs into thin strips.

Warm the tortillas over Direct Medium heat for about 1 minute, turning once halfway through grilling time. Pile the sliced chicken inside the tortillas. Top each taco with a spoonful of guacamole. Serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Grilling Tips and Recipes From

Buffalo-Style Ribs with Blue Cheese Dressing

What could be better than hot and spicy grilled ribs? Dip them in this creamy dressing and you'll find out!

  
  

For the ribs:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 to 2 slabs pork back ribs (about 1 to 3 pounds)

For the dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 ounces blue cheese, finely crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper

Prepare the ribs:
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and brown sugar. Place ribs in a resealable plastic bag; pour marinade mixture over ribs, turning to coat ribs, and close bag. Marinate in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally to distribute marinade.

Meanwhile, make the dressing:
Combine all dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Remove ribs from marinade; reserve marinade. In small saucepan, bring reserved marinade to boil; boil at least 1 minute at a full rolling boil.

Place ribs in center of cooking grate. Grill 30 to 35 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally and brushing with boiled reserved marinade. Season ribs with salt and pepper to taste. Cut ribs into individual portions and serve with dressing.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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Grilling Tips and Recipes From

Grilled Pizza Bread

Frozen dough works well for this recipe, or ask your favorite pizzeria for dough. If you're not in a hurry, you can even make your own dough. Stretching it instead of rolling it makes it nicely uneven, creating crispy and chewy textures.

  

For the seasoning:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground Mediterranean oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon finely ground red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Flour
3 one-pound balls of pizza dough

Chopped tomatoes (optional)
Chopped onions (optional)
Chopped fresh basil (optional)

To made the seasoning:
In a small saucepan combine all the seasoning ingredients. Whisk over low heat just until warm and oil becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature.

Lightly flour the back of a 15 x 10" baking sheet and one of the pizza dough balls. Stretch out the dough to the size of the baking sheet. Place the stretched dough on the back of the baking sheet.

Stir the seasoned oil and liberally brush the surface of the dough.

Turn the baking sheet (like a big spatula!) with the dough directly onto the cooking grate. Remove the baking sheet and liberally brush the top side of the dough with the seasoned oil. Grill over Direct Medium heat until the underside of the dough is marked, 1 to 3 minutes. Don't worry if the crust bubbles; it will deflate when turned over. Slide the dough onto the baking sheet and flip the ungrilled side onto the grill. Brush the top with more oil and continue to grill for 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove from grill and cool slightly on a cooling rack. Top with chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, and fresh basil, if desired. Cut into individual pieces. Repeat grilling procedure for 2 remaining balls of dough. Serve warm.

Makes 12 to 15 servings

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Grilling Tips and Recipes From

Hot, Sweet, and Sticky Chicken Wings

The perfect snack to whet that picnic appetite, this one covers all the taste bud zones.

  
  

For the marinade:
1/2 cup ketcup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder

20 chicken wings, wing tips removed
Extra-virgin olive oil

To make the marinade:
a medium bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Rinse the chicken wings under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove the wings from the bag and discard the marinade. Lightly brush or spray the wings with olive oil. Sear over Direct Medium heat until well marked, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once halfway through searing time. Continue grilling over Indirect Medium heat until the meat is no longer pink at the bone, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Sweet and Spicy Shrimp Kabobs

Great zippy flavor and perfect finger food for entertaining.

  
  

1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the honey, Chile pepper, and salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from the marinade and discard any remaining marinade.

Thread the shrimp through the tail and head (2 or 3 per skewer) onto small skewers.

Grill over Direct High heat for 2 to 4 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Arrange skewers on a serving dish and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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