CRAVE: Summer offers perfect opportunity for grilling, smoking and flame-cooking

By Karen K. Will

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Mother Earth News

When you live on a farm, all four seasons of the year bring unique delights, but summer invites us to spend as much time outside as humanly possible. Hot, sunny days coupled with warm, moonlit nights, along with the sounds of frogs chirping, crickets singing and coyotes howling call us outdoors to enjoy the cacophony while it lasts.

Think “outside the box,” as in “oven,” this season by preparing meals over a good old-fashioned flame – whether that’s a campfire, a charcoal grill, or a smoker. It’s a fun way to escape the confines of the kitchen and to get in touch with your inner cowboy. Gather friends and family, and enjoy the seasonal amphitheater in your backyard with some simple and delicious kibble, eaten under the stars.

Natural Beef Burgers

Yields 4 servings.


1 pound grassfed ground beef

1 egg

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

1⁄4 cup old-fashioned oats

1⁄4 cup shredded cheese, optional


1. Place the beef in a large bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add to the ground beef, along with the oats and cheese, if desired. With your hands, combine mixture thoroughly.

Grilled Salmon with Memphis Rub

We love eating this with an impromptu sauce made from mayonnaise, sour cream and fresh herbs. Experiment with whatever you’ve got growing in your garden. The Memphis Rub is based on Steven Raichlen’s recipe in “The Barbecue! Bible.”

Yields 4 servings.


2 pounds wild-caught Alaskan salmon filets, cut into 4 pieces

Memphis Rub (recipe follows)

2 clean cedar planks, soaked in water for 1 hour


1. Rinse and dry the salmon filets. Sprinkle each filet with Memphis Rub and coat the flesh side of the fish. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Light the coals. When they’re gray, push them to the outer edge of the grill surface. Place the soaked planks on the grill.

3. Add the salmon, skin side down, and cover the grill. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the salmon turns light pink, but is not dried out. Do not turn over.

4. Transfer the fish to a serving platter, and remove the skin before serving.

Memphis Rub


1⁄4 cup sweet or smoked paprika

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder


1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid. Stir contents to blend, then put on the lid and shake.

2. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.


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