Taking it Outdoors


Walking outside on a Sunday evening, you can’t help but pick up the subtle yet unmistakable scent of BBQ in the air. The aroma gets our mouths watering, while conjuring a million memories of past summers enjoying the company of family and friends over the delicacies of the grill. 

In some ways, outdoor entertaining is a lot easier than eating indoors. Quicker clean-up and less prep time (since half of the food is prepared outside) certainly make for a more relaxed kind of entertaining, and a much cooler kitchen is also welcome in the hot summer months. Here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your outdoor cooking escapades: 

Prepare your equipment. Make sure last year’s grilling equipment is in check: propane tank should be refilled (if you have a propane grill); fresh briquettes if using charcoal; heavy-duty long tongs for safe grilling; and steel brushes (or refills) for brushing and cleaning grates. A small side table or stacking tray is helpful to have next to your grill for extra work space.

Keep the critters away. Purchase candles made from real citronella oil to repel insects. Place them at the perimeter of your patio or outdoor dining area for extra protection. Mesh food domes are also a great item to have to protect your food from unwanted company. They come large enough to cover platters. 

Designate a space (a closet, drawer or storage bin) to store all your outdoor entertaining paraphernalia: fun tablecloths, placemats, caddies for cutlery, et cetera. Entertaining is easier when you don’t have to go looking for all those items in ten different places.

Most of all, maximize the flavorful seasonal produce that abounds in summer, keeping your preparations simple enough to relax and enjoy these moments before summer is gone.

Pomegranate Teriyaki London Broil

Pomegranate-Teriyaki London Broil

London broil is a thick cut steak that is generally marinated and grilled and then sliced thinly crosswise. Because of the thickness, it can often be hard to gauge doneness. For best results, cook it slower on indirect heat and then give it a reverse sear over the flame at the end of cooking time. Definitely use your meat thermometer to test for desired doneness.

1 (2 lb.) London Broil (about 1.5–2 inches in thickness)

⅓ cup Sadaf pomegranate molasses (concentrate)

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger root

1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic (about 1 clove)

⅓ cup olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Rinse and pat meat dry. 

2. Whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour off and reserve about ⅓–½ cup mixture for serving time.

3. Marinate meat in remaining mixture for at least 6 hours (or overnight). 

4. Preheat grill. Set up the grill for indirect heat: 1 zone off, 2 zones on (if grill has 2 zones, leave 1 zone on, 1 off). 

5. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Place London broil on zone with no heat. Close grill lid and cook for 15 minutes. Flip meat and cook another 15 minutes to internal temperature of 133–134°F for rare (or until desired doneness is reached).

6. Move London Broil over to the lit zone and sear for about 1–2 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove from grill and allow London Broil to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Slice thinly crosswise and serve with reserved marinade as a dressing/dipping sauce. 

Mango Jicama Slaw

Mango-Jicama Slaw

A sweet alternative to coleslaw, this is a refreshing tropical accompaniment for any barbeque. A jicama is thick-skinned Mexican tuber root vegetable with a crisp and slightly sweet quality that pairs wonderfully with fruits.

1 large jicama, peeled and julienned

1 large mango, peeled, pitted and julienned

1–2 limes

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Olive oil

Optional: 2–3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

Combine jicama and mango in a large serving bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime (or more as needed) over the jicama and mango. Add the spices and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat; season to taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.


Country Bliss Potato Salad 

Yields: 6–8 servings 

I am not a huge fan of overly mayonnaise-y, deli-style potato salad, which can be too rich and needlessly caloric. Try this lighter and healthier version at your next BBQ!

16 red bliss potatoes (about 3–4 pounds), washed, scrubbed and quartered

2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and shredded

½ cup chopped red onion (½ small onion)

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 tablespoons fresh chopped dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill)

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoon prepared white horseradish

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1½–2 teaspoons kosher salt or more to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Bring large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes; return to boil and cook for about 1520 minutes or until fork pierces potatoes easily (potatoes should not be falling apart). Drain and rinse with cold water. 

2. Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place them in a large mixing bowl with carrots, onion, celery and dill.

3. In a separate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients together; whisk to blend well. Pour mixture over warm potatoes and toss until well coated. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature.  

Grilled Vanilla-Rum Glazed Pineapple

Yield: 6–8 servings

Delicious by itself, and spectacular topped with vanilla ice-cream! This recipe will also work with ripe peaches, pitted and halved.

1 ripe pineapple, rind removed and trimmed, evenly sliced into 8–10 half-inch rounds

½ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup dark rum

1 teaspoon lime zest

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Mix together brown sugar, rum, lime zest, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended. Marinate pineapple slices in mixture for one hour, turning to coat once in a while.

2. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill grates (using oil-soaked paper towels and tongs works well). Remove pineapple slices from marinade (reserve marinade).

3. Grill pineapple slices, about 34 minutes per side, brushing with reserved marinade to create a sticky glaze. Remove from grill and drizzle a little of the remaining marinade on top of pineapple slices. Serve hot or warm.

Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer based in Woodmere, New York. She teaches classes throughout the country and writes articles connecting delicious cooking and Jewish inspiration. Her first cookbook is The Giving Table.

This article was featured in the Summer 2024 issue of Jewish Action.
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