When your cowpokes, big and small, come in hungry after a hard day riding the range, they want something good to eat--fast! That's Texas-style grilling--foods grilled quickly over a hot fire, with a little mesquite for smoky flavor.
For an easy way to add even more big, bold taste, try a snappy salsa to marinate a steak or mix up a signature burger. Add a vibrant picante sauce to your favorite chicken quesadilla or brush it as a glaze over chicken on the grill. When you have a jar of your favorite salsa, picante or taco sauce handy and your grill is fired up, you can rustle up some great Lone Star grub in minutes.
For more Southwest-style recipes and information, visit www.pacefoods.com.
As a rancher and the owner of Perini Ranch Steakhouse, which Gourmet magazine voted "one of America's Great Rural Restaurants," Tom Perini is the go-to guy for grilling, Texas-style. He's also an award-winning cowboy cook and author of "Texas Cowboy Cooking" (Comanche Moon Publishing, 2001), which includes an introduction by Robert Duvall. Perini advises:
Build the fire.
You know the fire is hot enough if you can hold your hand about an inch from the grate for approximately one second.
Add wood for flavor.
Most backyard cooks use charcoal--and it's fun to add wood chips to the coals for flavor. Try mesquite, but hickory works well also.
Treat beef like a king.
Take beef out of the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes prior to cooking, as this helps bring the meat to room temperature. To produce 1 1/2-inch thick steaks grilled to medium-rare, cook approximately 4 minutes per side on a hot fire.
Use the right tools.
Always use tongs, not a fork, when turning food, to keep juices from escaping.
For more information, visit www.periniranch.com.
Simply Spicy Grilled Chicken
3/4 cup Pace Picante Sauce
Mix picante sauce and barbecue sauce. Reserve 3/4 cup. Grill chicken 20 minutes. Brush chicken with remaining picante sauce mixture. Grill 20 minutes more or until done, turning and brushing often with picante sauce mixture. Discard remaining picante sauce mixture. Cook rice according to package directions without salt. Stir in reserved 3/4 cup picante sauce mixture and onions. Serve with chicken. Garnish with orange slices and thyme, if desired. Grilling times are a guideline only. Sizes of chicken pieces may vary, which affect the amount of time it takes to thoroughly cook. Serves: 4.
Spicy Grilled Quesadillas
8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
Put 4 tortillas on work surface. Top each with 1/2 cup cheese, 1/4 cup salsa, 1/4 cup chicken and 2 tablespoons green onions. Top with remaining tortillas. Brush tops of quesadillas with oil. Place quesadilla oil-side down on grill rack over medium coals. Grill about 3 minutes. Brush tops of quesadillas with oil. Turn and grill about 2 minutes more or until lightly browned. Let quesadillas stand 2 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serve with remaining salsa and sour cream. Serves: 4.
Wild West Picante Burgers
1 pound ground beef
Mix thoroughly beef and picante sauce. Shape firmly into 4 patties, 1/2 inch thick. Grill patties 10 minutes or until done, turning once and brushing often with additional picante sauce. Serve on rolls with additional picante sauce. Serves: 4.