Saturday, May 28, 2011

In Case You Plan to Grill Out This Weekend

The weather forecast for the weekend here in DC includes thunderstorms almost every day. Last night, I used a grill pan for these turkey burgers to avoid getting caught out in the storm which started, no joke, as my husband ran into the house after returning from a business trip. The rain was, literally, "on his heels," chasing him into the house through the murky dusk.

I am hoping to use the grill at least once this weekend, though. We have a Weber kettle grill with a chimney starter so grilling is not something we do on a weeknight or on a whim. It requires some time and planning and half way decent weather. This weekend, I was planning to grill a flank steak, but after the ones at Whole Foods were not grass fed and were $14.99 per pound, I ended up buying a skirt steak. As I wanted meat from a locally raised, grass fed cow, my options were limited but if that's not your issue, they had flank, flap, and flatiron steaks that would all work well for this. Unfortunately, my busy schedule lately has caused me to miss many of my usual farm stand haunts so I'm scrambling a bit and using the grocery stores a little more than usual.

This is an easy marinade with a Latin American feel. I like to grill a larger steak than I need (or even two) so that I'll have leftovers for another day. By making it yourself, you can control the sodium, which can be very high in commercial brands. There's a little kick to the marinade thanks to the chipotle pepper, which you can play with to your taste. If you like less heat, choose a smaller pepper from the can or use half. If you like a lot of heat, use two! Save the rest of the can of chiles for the next time or for chili. They keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for quite a long time and are easily available in most grocery stores.

If you want to emphasize the Latin flavors, serve with warmed tortillas, beans and rice, avocado slices, grilled onions and peppers, tomatoes and cheese for toppings. A green salad rounds out the meal. If it's for a party, you could even serve some spicy grilled shrimp as an appetizer. Here's a great recipe. Then, all you'll need is some chilled and slightly fizzy vinho verde, beer or sangria and your party will be complete!

The marinade is versatile enough, though, that you are not limited - try it with some potatoes, or other veggies on the side! I sometimes serve it with my olive oil potato salad and some mayo free slaw.

Mojo Criollo

(makes enough marinade for a steak for 4 people or about 1 smallish cut up chicken)

juice of 1/2 orange
juice of 1 lime (if the lime is particularly dry, use an extra half)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (just one chili, not one can), minced with a little of the sauce
1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch or two of salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and use to marinate a flank, flatiron, or hangar type steak or chicken. Marinate several hours and then grill. These thinner cuts grill quickly so keep an eye on it. On a charcoal grill, I might only grill for a few minutes on each side to sear and then move the steak to the other side of the grill and close the lid for another few minutes of indirect heat. I like to throw the meat into the marinade in the morning and then it's all ready to go at dinner time.


  1. sounds fantastic! Will have to try it as soon as I have a grill again!

  2. What an awesome marinade. I can't wait to try this

  3. Charis - hope that will be soon!!

    Maris - thanks so much! I actually made the steak last night and it was delicious!

    Just noticing your names rhyme.

  4. can't wait to try it. thanks, Wendy!

  5. Thanks Anna! Hope you like it!

  6. this sounds fantastic even though I don't have a grill I like the combination of sweet and tart citrus juices