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Grilling and Smoking and Rhubarb for Father’s Day

By Ann Hattes
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Rhubarb Renaissance (Minnesota Historical Society Press) by Kim Ode introduces more than 50 practical recipes, concoctions like rhubarb corn fritters, spiced couscous with rhubarb and figs, rhubarb-bacon compote, and rhubarb ketchup.

Rhubarb, a native of China, was first used in medicinal treatments there and much later in European countries as well. A versatile vegetable, it is classified and most often used as a fruit here in the U.S.

yum_grilling0712aaRhubarb Renaissance (Minnesota Historical Society Press) by Kim Ode introduces more than 50 practical recipes, concoctions like rhubarb corn fritters, spiced couscous with rhubarb and figs, rhubarb-bacon compote, and rhubarb ketchup. In the dessert category, there’s rhubarb foster, salted caramel rhubapple pie, rhubarb-peach pavlovas, rhubarb-zucchini bread, and more. Salmon and Rhubarb in parchment papers delivers sophisticated results as do the other recipes.

To make sweet roasted rhubarb, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place 3 cups rhubarb, cut in1-inch pieces, in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar evenly over fruit. Roast for 20 minutes until rhubarb is very soft. Late summer rhubarb with less moisture may need a tablespoon of water to prevent scorching. Serve as is on ice cream or scrape into a bowl, stir briskly to break rhubarb into a smooth puree for other recipes. Makes 1 cup puree.

Savory roasted rhubarb is made similarly by drizzling with ¼ cup real maple syrup, and sprinkling with ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, pinch of cayenne pepper and pinch of salt. Serve as is alongside grilled meats, or scrape into bowl, stirring briskly to make a puree. Brown sugar may replace maple syrup, sage or marjoram, the rosemary. The purees can be frozen for up to six months.

yum_grilling0712ccThe Ultimate Guide to Grilling (Skyhorse Publishing) by Rick Browne informs how to grill just about anything, from steaks to lobster, tofu to apples. Divided into chapters such as fish and shellfish, lamb, beef, sauces and marinades, and vegetarian BBQ, this book makes it easy to plan for a huge party, complete with sides and desserts. With easy-to-follow instructions and detailed photos, grillers have no problem making maple-smoked lamb shanks with whiskey onion marmalade, southern sugared ribs, Teriyaki buffalo ribeyes, zesty smoked oysters, crab cakes with basil mayonnaise, or grilled nectarines. Rick also includes tips on building barbecue pits and anecdotes about his travels as an award-winning griller.

Weber’s Smoke by Jamie Purviance is a guide to smoke cooking for everyone and any grill. The 87 recipes inspire, ranging from the classic best-on-the-block baby back ribs to the ambitious like smoked duck and cherry sausages. And many of the recipes let you achieve that smoke flavor in a matter of minutes, not hours. There are basic and advanced smoke cooking methods for traditional smokers as well as standard backyard grills. Learn about smoking woods’ flavor characteristics and food pairing suggestions that complement each distinct type of wood. The delicate flavor of alder, for example, pairs well with fish, while the mild, slightly sweet but dense fruity flavor of apple pairs with beef, poultry, game birds and ham. Slightly sweet mild cherry also pairs with poultry, game birds and pork. The moderate pungent, bacon-like flavor of hickory goes with pork, poultry, beef, wild game and cheeses, while strong mesquite, in a class by itself, pairs best with beef and lamb.

Try the recipes for various rubs, marinades, brines and sauces. And for the best possible results, follow Weber’s Top Ten Smoking Tips: Start early. Go low and slow (most of the time). Regulate the heat with a water pan. Don’t overdo it (i.e. don’t add too much wood; smoke should flow like a gentle stream). White smoke is good; black smoke is bad. Keep the air moving (open vents draw smoke from the charcoal and wood so that it swirls over the food). Don’t go golfing (be mindful and safe, checking the temperature every hour or so). Try not to peek. Let the bark get dark (Ribs and large chunks of beef and pork should be enveloped in a dark mahogany, borderline black crust called “bark,” the consequence of fat and spices sizzling with smoke on the surface of the meat developing into a caramelized crust.) Feature the star attraction (every flavor plays a supporting role to the main ingredient).



Salmon and Rhubarb in Parchment Packets

Smoked Chicken Drumettes with Orange-honey Glaze


Ann Hattes has over 25 years experience writing about both travel and food for publications both in the US and internationally. A senior living in Wisconsin, she’s a member of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association and the Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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