If you are among those for whom the lure of the grill trumps all weather conditions, consider bundling up and trying these recipes for grilled pork chops and Asian flank steak.
Grilled pork chops with cider-bourbon jus
(Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes,
40 minutes active)
2 acorn squash, halved across the center, seeds removed
1 cup apple cider or juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon bourbon or rum
Salt and white pepper, to taste
4 Golden Delicious apples, tops and bottoms trimmed
4 boneless pork loin chops, cut
Place the squash halves on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 8 minutes, or until partially cooked. Set aside. Meanwhile, to make the cider-bourbon jus, in a small saucepan bring the cider to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until the cider has reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and bourbon. Season with salt and white pepper. Transfer 1/3 cup of the jus to a small bowl, setting aside the rest.
Preheat grill to high. While the grill heats, cut the squash into 3/4-inch rings and place on a baking sheet. Slice each apple top-to-bottom into four pieces. Use a paring knife to remove the core from each apple slice, then set the slices on the baking sheet. Brush the apples and squash rings with jus from the bowl, then season with salt and pepper. On a separate baking sheet, arrange the pork chops, brush both sides with jus and season with salt and pepper. Oil the grill grate. Place the apples on the grate, close the lid and grill for 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to turn the apples, then close the lid and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the apples have grill marks and give when gently squeezed with the tongs.
Transfer the apples to the baking sheet and place the squash on the grill. Close the lid and grill for 4 minutes, then turn and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the squash is marked and cooked through. Transfer to the baking sheet. Place the pork chops on the grill and cook for 7 1/2 minutes, turning once. To serve, arrange the squash and apple rings around the pork and drizzle everything with the reserved jus. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Karen Adler and Judith Fertig's "Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens," Harvard Common Press, 2006
Asian grilled flank steak
(Start to finish: 4 hours 15 minutes, 20 minutes active)
1 1/2- to 2-pound flank steak
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, white part only, sliced
2 to 4 Thai chilies or jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
With a sharp knife, score the steak on both sides in a crosshatch pattern. Place in a glass or ceramic baking dish. In a large glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, scallions, chilies and sugar. Use the back of a spoon to mash to paste. Stir or whisk in the soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of water until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the marinade over the steak. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours, turning several times to ensure even marinating. Arrange the grill for direct grilling. Preheat the grill to high. Just before cooking, brush the grate with oil. Remove the flank steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Place the flank steak on the grill and cook to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare (about 145 F at the center on an instant-read meat thermometer).
Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes. Cutting against the grain, cut the steak into very thin slices. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from Steven Raichlen's "How to Grill," Workman, 2001