Recipes

Bust out the grill for grilled ginger salmon, chipotle glaze, more

May 29, 2014 at 5:17 PM ET

Video: Melissa Cookston, author of “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” joins TODAY to demonstrate some great alternatives to standard burgers, and offers advice on grilling this summer.

It's time to break out the grill, and world barbecue champion Melissa Cookston, author of "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" and owner of Memphis Barbecue Company, is ready to help you do just that with two delicious recipes. But first, here are a few quick grill tips from Cookston before getting started: 

1. Clean and oil your grill grates. Food, especially fish, will quickly adhere to grates that aren't clean.

2. Use a marinade that incorporates an oil component. One of the things that makes grilled food so delicious is the charring that occurs where the food meets the fire. If your food sticks to the grill, the lovely grill marks will be destroyed along with much of the flavor.

3. Never add sauce too early! Sauce items only in the last 5 minutes of cooking or less. Sauces usually have a high sugar component and will burn if added to your dish too early.

4. Set up your grill for two temperature zones- one hotter, one medium. You can do this with a gas grill or charcoal. Use the hot zone for an initial sear to lock in the flavors and develop your grill marks, then move items to the medium zone to finish cooking to your desired level of doneness.

Now let the grilling begin!

Grilled ginger salmon with pineapple chipotle glaze
Serves 4

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 (8-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 4 cups granulated sugar

In a nonreactive container, combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, oil, pepper, granulated garlic and ginger and mix well. Add the salmon fillets. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours, turning occasionally.

To make the glaze, place the chiles and a splash of the vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Place the pineapple juice in a large stockpot over medium heat and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the chipotle mixture and cook for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, granulated sugar and remaining vinegar and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and cook for 10 minutes. This recipe boils quickly, so stir constantly. The glaze should lightly coat the back of a spoon when done. Remove from the heat and let cool. The glaze can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Prepare a medium-hot grill and lightly oil the grates. Remove the salmon from the marinade and shake off excess liquid. Place on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer, depending upon the thickness of the fillets. In the last minute of cooking, liberally brush on the glaze and allow to thicken slightly. Serve with additional glaze on the side if desired.

Cast iron corn bread
Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 cups self-rising white cornmeal
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 12-inch seasoned cast-iron skillet and place it in the oven to heat. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then carefully pour into the hot skillet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the bread is firm. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Pry up and flip over the corn bread to keep the crust crisp. Serve hot.

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