In honor of your adventurous foray into the concept of daycationing, we offer up some great barbeque recipes to get you started. Think regular grilling but way more flavorful. And who better to consult for great recipes than Cooks Illustrated’s Backyard Barbeque? Because here at Benicia Magazine, who has time for recipe testing? Still, we’ve done the heavy lifting by finding the very best barbeque recipes for you to enjoy.
Texas Shredded Barbecued Beef
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon salf
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (5-6 pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, quartered and trimmed
1 (13 by 9-inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan
3 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained, and sealed in foil packet
½ cup barbeque sauce, plus extra for serving
Combine pepper, salt, and cayenne in bowl. Pat pieces of meat dry with paper towels, and rub them evenly with spice mixture. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. (If refrigerated, let sit at room temp for 1 hour before grilling.) Before cooking, unwrap meat and transfer to roasting pan.
For a charcoal grill, open bottom grill vents halfway. Light large chimney starter half full with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts, about 50 briquettes). When coals are hot, pour them into steeply banked pile against 1 side of grill. Place wood chip packet on top of coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vents halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill, place wood chip packet directly on primary burner. Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 15 minutes. Turn primary burner to medium and turn off other burner(s).
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place roasting pan of meat on cooler part of grill, away from coals or flames. Cover (positioning lid vents over meat if using charcoal) and cook until meat is deep red, about 2 hours. During final 20 minutes of grilling, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
Flip meat over in roasting pan, cover pan tightly with layer of foil, and roast beef in oven until fork inserted into center of beef meets no resistance, 2 or 3 hours.
Transfer meat to large bowl, tent bowl loosely with foil, and let meat rest for 30 minutes. When meat is cool enough to handle, pull meat into thin shreds, discarding excess fat and gristle. Toss meat with barbecue sauce and serve with extra sauce (if desired). Pile it up on your favorite bread and serve with grilled corn on the cob with Basil Pesto butters (using fork, beat 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) softened, unsalted butter with 2 tbsp basil pesto and 2 tsps lemon juice.)
Skirt Steak Fajitas
Don’t marinate the steak for longer than 2 hours or it will begin to turn mushy. We prefer these steaks cooked to medium-rare. Serve with guacamole, tomato salsa, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, and lime wedges.
2 (12-oz) skirt steaks
½ cup lime juice from 4 limes
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 onion, cut into ½-inch rounds (do not separate rounds)
Salt & pepper
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Prick steaks with fork about 50 times on each side, then cut each steak in half crosswise. Combine lime juice, 2 tbsp oil, soy sauce, garlic, cumin, sugar, and jalapeno in bowl. Measure out ¼ cup of marinade, stir in cilantro and reserve for serving. Transfer remaining marinade to large zipper-lock bag and add steaks. Seal bag tightly, toss to coat steaks, and let steaks marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Before grilling, brush both sides of peppers and onion rounds with remaining 2 tbsp oil and season with salt & pepper. Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
For a charcoal grill, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes). When coals are hot, spread two-thirds evenly over bottom of grill, then pour remaining coals over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn the other burner(s) to medium.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place steaks on hotter part of grill, directly over coals or flames, and cook (covered if using gas) until deeply browned on first side, about 6 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook (covered if using gas) until meat registers 120 to 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer (for medium rare), 2 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer steaks to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
While steaks cook, place peppers and onion rounds on cooler part of grill and cook until spottily charred, 8 to 12 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer vegetables to carving board with steaks and tent loosely with foil.
Working in batches, place tortillas in single layer on cool part of grill and cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side. As tortillas are done, wrap them in kitchen towel or large sheet of foil.
Separate onion rounds, slice bell peppers into ¼-inch strips, then toss vegetables together in bowl with half of reserved ¼ cup marinade. Slice meat thin against grain and toss with remaining marinade in separate bowl. Arrange steak slices and vegetables on serving platter and serve with warmed tortillas.
The Ultimate Hamburger
Buy ground beef that is 85 percent to 90 percent lean. With the added bacon fat, 80 percent lean burgers will be greasy. Crumble the cooked bacon over a salad, or use the slices as a burger topping.
8 strips bacon
1-2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed and discarded, remaining bread cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
¼ cup milk
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 large garlic cloves, very finely minced.
Fry bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Transfer 3 tbsp bacon fat from skillet to heatproof bowl and place bowl in refrigerator.
Place bread in small bowl, add milk, and let mixture sit until bread is saturated, about 5 minutes. Using fork, mash mixture into smooth paste. Break up beef into small pieces in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add garlic, bread paste, and reserved bacon fat. Using fork or hands, lightly kneed meat mixture to incorporate ingredients into a cohesive mass. Divide meat into 4 equal portions. Using hands, toss each portion of meat back and forth to form loose ball, then gently flatten each ball into 3/4 – inch-thick patty.
For a charcoal grill, open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes). When coals are hot, spread them evenly over bottom of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.
Clean and oil cooking grate. Grill burgers, without pressing down on them, until well seared on both sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve, topped with bacon if desired, with roasted potatoes and green salad on the side.