Small scale: how anyone, anywhere can grill great food

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By Sam Elliott

My inner Ron Swanson has never given up on finding a way to grill. Growing up in the suburbs with parents who both cooked regularly, I took grilling out for granted. Because when you move out and can’t grill as regularly, you’re driven to find a solution. College life introduces you to the George Foreman style of things.

But I like to think that Swanson – the meat-loving all-American legend of television’s late “Parks and Recreation” – would be proud of my adaptability and creativity when it comes to cooking raw meat over an open flame.

Even city slickers can easily get in on the grilling greatness. Experience has taught me that there’s a grilling option for any size outdoor space. One of my young adulthood’s homes in the city included a small rectangular patch of outdoor concrete no longer than six feet on any side.

But limited space shouldn’t limit your outdoor cooking experience. The best options for small-scale grilling include the smallest of charcoal grills or portable camping propane options. Not having access to a full-size kitchen or grill doesn’t mean you don’t have access to an incredible grilled meal.

And you know what’s great to cook on small grills? Small things.

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1. Ditch the big burger patties for individualized, customizable sliders served on smaller dinner rolls for buns – also grilled, of course. Tip: To make your own small-size burger buns, use a quick biscuit mix, but instead of water use plain yogurt in the mix. Roll into small balls, bake at 350 degrees and serve topped with mini burgers and toppings.

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2. Soaked shrimp – Marinate shrimp a concoction of lemon juice, lime juice, salt and pepper overnight or at least for a few hours before cooking. Or you could use Italian dressing. Or barbeque sauce. Or hot sauce. You get the idea. It’s a super easy and effective way to add some solid flavoring to your meat before you grill. Pair with: Sesame Rice and a glass of Chardonnay. For the rice recipe, visit youarecurrent.com.

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3. Shark steaks – Regardless of how you felt at the end of “Jaws” – or any of the forgettable cash-grab sequels that followed – you’ll find shark steak to be delicious and unlike your typical seafood fishy eating experiences. Shark steaks come pre-cut smaller than beef steaks, but are just as delicious. An overnight stay in a Ziploc bag full of Italian dressing really does wonders for the steaks, adding an enjoyable supporting cast of flavor but still allowing the natural taste of the shark meat to come through the grilling experience. Or try the time-tested milk bath recipe.  Pair with: A glass of Pinoit Grigio.

Spicy shrimp

Ingredients:

Fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, fresh shrimp, paprika, olive oil, salt and lemon juice.

    • Preheat grill for medium heat.
    • In a small bowl, crush the garlic with the salt. Mix in cayenne pepper and paprika, and then stir in olive oil and lemon juice to form a paste.
    • Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp for two to three minutes per side, or until opaque.

Shark steaks

Ingredients: two, eight-ounce shark steaks, two cups of milk, one tablespoon lemon juice, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

  • Place the shark steaks in a shallow dish and pour milk over them to cover. Let stand for 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight.
  • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Remove the shark steaks from the pan and pat dry. Discard leftover milk. Season the steaks with lemon juice, sea salt and pepper.
  • Grill the steaks until meat is firm, about 15 minutes, turning once. Fish should appear white all the way through.

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