Memorial weekend is just ahead, and I am hoping for a weekend full of clear, sunny skies and at least two cookouts to kick off the summer season.

While strolling through the library, I came across a massive book with 3-inch-high letters that read “The Grilling Book,” published by the magazine Bon Appetit. I was excited to see what this 432-page tome had inside, expecting all kinds of fancy new tricks and flavors, but when I got it home and got to read through it, I was struck by how simple and familiar so many of the dishes are.


The chapters are divided by types of meat, then vegetables, flatbreads and pizzas, sides and salads, and even drinks and sauces. There were 380 recipes in all, and lots of charts and side notes about how to pick the best meats for different uses. It was a very informative cookbook, and very encouraging, rather than intimidating.

First up, I was interested in these lemon butter-stuffed burgers. I’m sure you’ve head steak with an herb compote at a restaurant before, and this is the same idea—the flavored butter keeps the burger rich, juicy, and flavorful. Yum!

Second, I wanted to save this recipe for flank steak with bloody Mary tomato salad. I love making flank steak for company because it cooks fast and you’re handling one piece of meat that can handle a crowd. The steak here gets a simple dry rub, but it shines well against the tomato salad, which features olives, celery heats and leaves, horseradish and Tabasco. Don’t tell anyone its inspiration is a bloody Mary cocktail— see if they come to that conclusion on their own.

And finally, chicken skewers flavored with yogurt, fresh cilantro and spices, served with a lemon salsa. I’ve never had lemon-based salsa, but I’m excited to give it a try!

I hope these recipes give you some interesting new ideas for this weekend, and that we’ll get some good weather so we have the opportunity to make them.


Lemon butter-stuffed burgers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 ½ pounds ground beef (preferably chuck)

Vegetable oil, for brushing

4 sesame seed hamburger buns, sliced

1 large tomato, thinly sliced crosswise

1 bunch arugula

Mix butter, herbs, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Measure 1/3 cup herb butter; transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap (reserve remaining butter in bowl for spreading on buns). Using plastic wrap as aid, form butter into a 3-inch long log; wrap plastic around to seal. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut crosswise into 4 pounds. Flatten rounds into 2-inch-diameter disks.

Divide meat into 4 pieces. With wet hands, form each piece into a ball. Using your thumb, make a deep, wide indentation in the center of each. Press 1 butter round flatly into indentation, then press meat securely over to enclose. Flatten each burger into a 3 ½-inch diameter patty. Do ahead: burgers can be made 6 hours ahead. Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic, and chill.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grate with oil. Season both sides of burgers with salt and pepper. Spread remaining butter over cut sides of buns. Grill burgers for 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Grill buns until slightly charred, about 1 minute per side.

Assemble burgers with tomato slices and arugula leaves.

Flank steak with bloody Mary tomato salad

For the steak:

2 1 ½-pound flank steaks

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons (packed) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for brushing

For the salad:

1 cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, divided

2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup chopped celery hearts (inner stalks and leaves from 1 bunch)

½ cup chopped brined green olives, plus 2 tablespoons olive brine

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

½ teaspoon celery seeds

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the steak: Place steaks on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Mix sugar, paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper in a small bowl; rub all over steaks. Cover; refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Let steaks come to room temperature for 1 hour. Heat grill to medium-high and brush grates with oil. Grill to desired doneness, 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a work surface; let rest for 10 minutes. Do ahead: can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before slicing.

For the salad: Mix onion and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a large bowl. Let macerate for 10 minutes, tossing often. Add tomatoes, celery and olives.

Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, olive brine, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and celery seeds in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Add to bowl with tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Do ahead: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.

Cut steak against the grain into ¼-inch thick slices. Serve salad with steak.

Chicken skewers with coriander marinade and lemon salsa

8 Meyer lemons (or 5 if using regular lemons)

½ cup finely chopped cucumber, preferable English hothouse

3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, divided

1 serrano chile, finely chopped

Pinch of sugar

Kosher salt

1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemons; discard. Cut between membranes to release lemon segments into a medium bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl, and discard membranes. Strain juice into a clean bowl; reserve lemon segments and juices separately.

Mix segments, 1 tablespoon lemon juice (set aside remaining juice for another use), cucumber, 2 tablespoons scallions, and chile in a small bowl. Stir in sugar; season salsa to taste with salt and set aside.

Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Puree ¼ cup cilantro, yogurt, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, coriander, and turmeric, if using, in a mini food processor or blender until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.

Heat a grill to medium high and brush grill grate with oil. Thread 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Grill, turning once and watching closely to prevent burning, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon lemon salsa over chicken. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1 tablespoon scallions.