Fixin' to cook out by your fire pit on a glorious summer night in Morrisville? Ready to throw charcoal on the grill and barbecue in your Durham backyard?


Whether you're a regular Jane who likes burgers and brats or a connoisseur who relishes lamb loin chops, if you thrill to grill, we've got the ultimate summer sizzle.


In the "Dishing Up" series from Storey Publishing, which devotes a full cookbook to a single state's finest meals, there's something for everyone. From simple faves to complex fare, everything tastes better cooked over an open flame.


The following main-course recipes offer East Coast dishes hot off the coals, so fire 'em up!




Dishing Up Virginia
145 Recipes That Celebrate Colonial Traditions and Contemporary Flavors
By Patrick Evans-Hylton





Southern Born and Bred Burgers


Although ground or minced beef dishes have existed since at least the 12th century, it wasn't until sometime in the 19th century that someone put patties of raw meat to flame (and later still, nestled one between two slices of bread) to create the predecessor of what we think of as today's hamburger. Gourmet burgers move beyond the pale of basic burgers — this version is stuffed with roasted garlic butter and adorned with pimento cheese and slivers of fried country ham.


Compound Butter
2 roasted garlic cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 slices Virginia country ham, cut into thin strips
4 burger buns
8 butter lettuce leaves
1 small sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons pimento cheese


Makes 4 burgers


1. Make the butter. Combine the garlic and butter in a small bowl. Roll the mixture into a log with waxed paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour.


2. Make the burgers. Divide the ground meat into four portions and loosely shape each into a patty. Make a small pocket in the middle of each patty and fill with 1 tablespoon of the prepared compound butter, closing the meat around the opening. Sprinkle both sides of each patty with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.


3. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high or heat a grill pan to very hot. Cook the patties for 4 to 5 minutes, then turn and cook for 4 or 5 minutes longer.


4. Meanwhile, cook the ham strips in a skillet over medium heat until crispy, stirring to prevent burning. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.


5. On the bottom bun, layer 2 lettuce leaves, onion slices and the cooked hamburger patty. Top the patty with 1 tablespoon of the pimento cheese and ham strips and close with the top half of a bun. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.



Brats in Beer With Sweet
and Sour Cabbage


The spirit of small batch, artisanal beer is still alive in the dozens of craft breweries across the state, many in Central Virginia. This recipe pays homage to them and to the early German settlements in Virginia, several of which were established in the early 1700s to mine iron ore in the Rappahannock River basin. German immigrants also joined other settlers, like the Scots-Irish, in populating the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valleys as those areas were settled.


Makes 4 servings

Sweet and Sour Cabbage
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 small head red cabbage, finely shredded
2 small Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
1 small Golden Delicious apple, cored and finely chopped


4 cups beer
2 large white onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
4–5 black peppercorns
8 bratwursts


1. Make the cabbage. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.


2. Stir in the water, apple cider vinegar, apple juice, caraway seeds, celery seeds, cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Add the cabbage and apples, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage and apples are tender, 40 to 45 minutes.


3. Make the bratwurst. Bring the beer, onions, garlic, caraway seeds, celery seeds, mustard seeds and black peppercorns to a simmer in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the bratwurst, cover, and simmer until a thermometer inserted into a sausage reads 160 degrees, 12 to 17 minutes.


4. Heat a gas or charcoal grill or a grill pan to medium-high. Remove the bratwurst from the stockpot and cook, turning occasionally, on the grill or in the grill pan, until the outsides are browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.


5. Divide the cabbage among 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 grilled bratwursts and serve immediately.



Dishing Up New Jersey
150 Recipes From the Garden State
By John Holl







Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers
Recipe from Jersey Girl Brewing Company, Hackettstown


This surf and turf is served on a stick, and everyone knows that food always tastes better on a stick. Fire up the grill, assemble some skewers, pair with an American brown ale (like the one made by Jersey Girl Brewing Company), and you're in for an excellent eating experience. Serve these skewers with Jersey Tomato and Corn Salsa (recipe follows).


Makes 4 appetizer servings

The Glaze
1/2 cup honey
cup spicy brown mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic powder


The Kabobs
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into rounds
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into large chunks



1. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill and oil the grill grates. If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 15 minutes.


2. To make the glaze, combine the honey, mustard, vinegar and garlic powder in a small bowl and mix well.


3. To assemble the kabobs, thread the shrimp, sausage and bell pepper onto skewers. Brush the kabobs with some of the glaze and reserve the remaining sauce.


4. Place the kabobs on the grill, over medium heat, or 4 to 6 inches from the coals if you're using a charcoal grill. Cook until the shrimp turns pink and the sausage is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn frequently and keep brushing with the glaze. Remove to a platter and serve.



Jersey Tomato and Corn Salsa
Recipe from Jersey Girl Brewing Company, Hackettstown


When Jersey's best produce is in season, homemade salsa is just plain terrific. This recipe from Charles Aaron and Mike Bigger is great with chips, on burgers or with burritos, but it really shines when paired with the Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers.


Makes 3 cups

1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 large Jersey tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



1. Put the onion into a strainer, and the strainer in a bowl of ice water. Let the onion soak for 10 minutes; this dulls some of its bite. Remove, drain and dry the onion, then transfer to a mixing bowl.


2. Add the corn, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper to the onion and stir to combine.


3. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes, then drain and discard any excess liquid before serving. The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



Backyard Clambake
Recipe from Diane Henderiks


A summer staple and an experience that everyone should have at least once (but preferably more than once), the clambake is a delight. While the classic clambake is done on the beach, in a pit with coals, this recipe is suited for the backyard grill. Grab your ingredients and some bottles of your favorite beverage, and call some friends over for a warm-weather feast.


Makes 4 servings

2 dozen steamer clams (more if you'd like)
2 dozen fresh mussels
4 medium red potatoes
1 large bunch seaweed or rockweed, soaked in water
4 ears corn, shucked and cut in half
4 live lobsters
8 extra-large shrimp (11/15 count), peeled and deveined, tails on
Banana leaves (optional)
4 links turkey sausage, grilled or baked until done (optional)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 lemons, cut into wedges


1. Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill. Wash the clams, mussels and potatoes thoroughly.


2. Spread a layer of seaweed across the grill and top with the potatoes and corn. Place the lobsters on top of the corn and potatoes. Then make another layer with the clams, mussels and shrimp. Cover the entire clambake with banana leaves or another layer of seaweed. Close the lid and roast for 30 minutes.


3. If you're using the sausage, add it to the top of the pile and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.


4. Check the bake: Search for and discard any unopened clams or mussels. Lobster is done when it turns red and you can twist the small legs and antennae. Remove everything from the grill and transfer to a large serving bowl. Serve immediately with drawn (melted) butter and lemon wedges.



Dishing Up Vermont
145 Authentic Recipes From the Green Mountain State
By Tracey Medeiros







Lamb Loin Chops With Mustard Butter


Delicious grilled lamb loin chops are topped with a melt-in-your-mouth whipped garlic mustard butter. This dish makes a tantalizing presentation when served with mashed potatoes and asparagus.


Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 lamb loin chops, 1-1/4 -inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper



1. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and pepper until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature.


2. Season the chops with salt and pepper to taste.


3. Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill. Place the chops on the grill and sear for 3 minutes. Reduce heat, turn chops over with tongs, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes longer or until desired doneness is reached.


4. To serve, place chops on a plate and top with mustard butter; the butter will melt over the warm lamb.


Note: The mustard butter also works well with lamb sirloin tips.



Grilled Maple-marinated Portobello Mushrooms


Serve these sweet, smoky and meaty mushrooms on a roll with your favorite sandwich dressing.


Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup pure maple syrup, Vermont Grade B
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup maple vinegar, cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce and vinegar in a medium bowl until well-combined.


Remove and discard the gills and stems from the mushrooms, and place them in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the mushrooms, seal the bag and refrigerate for 1-6 hours, turning the bag over at least once.


Prepare a grill to medium-high.


Remove mushrooms from marinade, reserving marinade for basting. Pat mushrooms dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.


Grill mushrooms for 3-4 minutes on each side, basting with reserved marinade as necessary.





Dishing Up Maine
165 Recipes That Capture Authentic Down East Flavors
By Brooke Dojny





Grilled Spice-Brined Pork Tenderloin With Heirloom Tomato Salad


Tenderloins are a perfect candidate for brining (soaking in a spiced salt solution for a few hours) because the process helps the lean meat retain moisture and it also injects flavor. The smoky grilled meat is beautifully complemented by this height-of-summer salad made with juicy, right-from-the-vine heirloom (or otherwise) tomatoes.


Makes 4-6 servings

Spice-Brined Pork
4 cups cold water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon crumbled dried rosemary
2 teaspoons mustard seeds, crushed (see Note)
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, crushed (see Note)
2 bay leaves, each broken in half
2 pork tenderloins, 12 ounces each
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


Heirloom Tomato Salad
3 cups diced juicy ripe tomatoes, preferably a mix of red and yellow (about 2 pounds)
1 medium-small white or red sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup pitted imported black olives
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 cups arugula, roughly torn if large



1. Combine the water and salt in a large, deep bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the rosemary, mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves. Add the pork, turn to coat, and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.


2. To make the salad, toss the tomatoes with the onion, olives and garlic in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and pepper flakes and mix well. Set aside at cool room temperature for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate for several hours.


3. Build a medium-hot barbecue fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels.


4. Rub or brush with the oil and season generously with the pepper. Grill, turning to brown all sides, until almost but not quite cooked through in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should register no more than 145 degrees when it comes off the grill.


5. Let the pork sit, loosely covered, for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.


6. Toss the tomato salad with the arugula. Spoon over or around the pork to serve.

Note: Use a mortar and pestle to crush the mustard seeds and peppercorns or put in a sealed plastic bag and pound with a mallet.



Grilled Fourth-of-July Salmon With Chive Egg Sauce


In early Maine days, when the state's larger rivers ran rich with salmon, Independence Day was rung in with the fruits of the early summer season. The traditional celebratory meal consisted of salmon with egg sauce, fresh green peas, tiny new potatoes and strawberry shortcake for dessert. This is a slightly updated version of the salmon.


Makes 6 servings

Chive Egg Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 large shallots)
1/2 cup bottled clam juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of 1/2 medium lemon)
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives


Grilled Salmon
6 salmon steaks or fillets, 6 to 7 ounces each
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chive spears (with purple flowers attached if possible)
Lemon wedges


1. To make the Chive Egg Sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the clam juice and wine, bring to a boil, and cook briskly until reduced by about one-third, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over medium heat until slightly reduced and thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the eggs and lemon juice and stir gently so as not to break up the egg yolks too much. (The sauce can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated. Reheat in a microwave and stir in the chives before serving.) Gently stir in the chives.


2. Brush the grill rack with oil. Build a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.


3. Brush the salmon on both sides with the oil and season with the salt and pepper to taste. Grill the fish, turning carefully once with a large spatula, until the flesh just turns opaque in the thickest part and flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness. (If you like your salmon more on the rare side, reduce the cooking time.)


4. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the chive spears and lemon. Pass the Chive Egg Sauce in a sauceboat for spooning over the salmon.




All recipes used with permission from Storey Publishing.