05/14/2012 02:40 EDT | Updated 07/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Grill with gusto: Asparagus with vinaigrette, chipotle cheeseburger, honey glaze

If you're planning to host a barbecue, here are some recipes to prepare for family and guests.

A delicious way to enjoy vegetables is to grill them, which adds so much to the flavour. With fresh local asparagus coming onto the market, this easy side dish topped with a citrusy vinaigrette is sure to be a hit.

Burgers are top of mind for many backyard grillers; here's a recipe for cheeseburgers with a chipotle salsa. And a glaze created using ingredients you probably have on hand, including pilsner, is perfect as a condiment or a marinade.

To create a two-zone fire using charcoal, here are some easy steps to follow from Weber-Stephen Products LLC:

Fill an aluminized steel chimney starter (Weber RapidFire is one brand) to the rim and burn the coals until they are lightly covered with ash. Spread the coals in a tightly packed, single layer across one-half to three-quarters of the charcoal grate.

Put the cooking grate in place, close the lid, and let the coals burn down to the desired heat. Leave all vents open.

The basic two-zone fire is an efficient charcoal arrangement for a wide variety of foods. It combines both direct heat (where the food cooks directly above the coals) and indirect heat (where the foods cook above and to the side of the coals).

Direct heat is best for relatively small, tender pieces of food that cook quickly, such as hamburgers, steaks, chops, boneless chicken pieces, fish fillets, shellfish and sliced veggies. Direct heat sears the surfaces of those foods, developing flavours and texture, and it cooks relatively thin foods all the way to the centre.

Indirect heat is best for larger, tougher foods that require longer cooking times such as roasts, whole chickens and ribs. Indirect heat also cooks the surfaces of food but in a much more even way.


Asparagus and Pancetta With Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

Ideal grill: charcoal

Smoke intensity: mild

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

90 g (3 oz) pancetta or 2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

1 kg (2 lb) asparagus

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Ground black pepper


15 ml (1 tbsp) finely grated lemon zest

30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh lemon juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) white wine vinegar

15 ml (1 tbsp) finely diced shallot

10 ml (2 tsp) finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

5 ml (1 tsp) honey

Small handful hickory wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook pancetta until crisp and browned, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Prepare a two-zone fire for medium heat (180 C/350 F to 230 C/450 F).

Remove and discard tough bottom of each asparagus spear by grasping at each end and bending it gently until the spear snaps at its natural point of tenderness, usually about two-thirds of the way down the spear. Drizzle spears with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.

In a small, non-reactive bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients. Slowly add 50 ml (1/4 cup) of oil and whisk until vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush cooking grate clean. Drain and add wood chips to charcoal and put lid on the grill. When wood begins to smoke, cook asparagus over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.

Transfer asparagus to a serving platter, drizzle with vinaigrette and top with pancetta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: 2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from "Weber's Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill" by Jamie Purviance (Oxmoor House, 2012).


Mesquite-Grilled Cheeseburgers With Warm Chipotle Salsa

Ideal grill: charcoal

Smoke intensity: strong

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 22 minutes

750 g (1 1/2 lb) ground chuck (80 per cent lean)

10 ml (2 tsp) ground cumin

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) ground black pepper

Kosher salt

30 ml (2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 plum tomatoes, each cut in half lengthwise

2 large handfuls mesquite wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

45 ml (3 tbsp) finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 canned chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce, minced

15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh lime juice

4 slices smoked cheddar or smoked Gouda cheese, each about 30 g (1 oz)

4 hamburger rolls

In a large bowl, gently combine beef, cumin, pepper and 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt. Shape into 4 patties of equal size, each about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide in the centre of each patty. This will help the patties cook evenly and prevent them from puffing on the grill. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat (230 C/450 F to 290 C/550 F).

In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl. Brush tomatoes with remaining 30 ml (1 tbsp) of oil.

Brush cooking grate clean. Drain and add half of the wood chips to the charcoal and put the lid on the grill. When smoke appears, place tomato halves, cut side up, over indirect high heat. Close lid and cook until tomato juices are bubbling and the skins split, about 12 minutes. Remove from grill. Remove and discard tomato skins and roughly chop tomatoes. Add tomatoes, cilantro, chili and lime juice to onion mixture. Season with salt. Set aside.

Drain and add remaining wood chips to charcoal and put lid on the grill. When wood starts to smoke, cook patties over direct high heat, with lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to medium doneness, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. During the last minute of cooking time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt and toast the rolls, cut side down. Remove from grill and build each burger with the salsa. Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: 2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from "Weber's Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill" by Jamie Purviance (Oxmoor House, 2012).


Honey Pilsner Glaze

This glaze can be used as a marinade, glaze or condiment. It was created by Steve Adams, who has led his competition barbecue team, Team Cedar Grilling, to victory for three consecutive years. They represented Canada at the Jack Daniels’ World Championships in Lynchburg, Tenn.

50 ml (1/4 cup) pilsner

50 ml (1/4 cup) honey

50 ml (1/4 cup) brown sugar

50 ml (1/4 cup) yellow mustard

2 ml (1/2 tsp) garlic powder

Freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serving suggestions:

—Place glaze in a non-reactive bowl, keeping some aside in a separate bowl for serving. Marinate chicken pieces or wings for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Grill over indirect heat until cooked. Serve glaze on the side

—Use as a glaze on roast ham in the last hour of cooking. Add pineapple or raisins, if desired.

—Use as a condiment on grilled sausage, hamburgers, hot dogs or sandwiches

Source: Recipe created by Steve Adams, Team Cedar Grilling, for Steam Whistle Pilsner.