Sprinklers and slip-and-slides, sun tans and the smell of SPF, fireworks and firecracker popsicles, grilling and drinking. Some things in the summer just go hand-in-hand — and in the latter case: glass-in-hand.
Case in point: Backyard cookouts are a longstanding staple of the sweltering season, and there’s no better way to keep cool around a flaming grill than with a cold beverage. For the discerning drinker, that means a quality bourbon.
And thanks to the versatility of liquor, if it’s not in a rocks glass, it’s on your plate — marinating and tenderizing your entrée and tantalizing your taste buds.
Check out the slideshow below for some inspired recipes to pair with your best bourbon, featuring select creations infused with Knob Creek Rye and Knob Creek Bourbon by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Symon.
Grilled Pork Chops with Orange and Jalapeño Knob Creek Rye Glaze
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> 6 pork chops, bone in Olive oil Salt Freshly ground black pepper Orange & jalapeño Knob Creek® Rye glaze <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Let the pork chops come to room temperature by removing them from the fridge a half an hour to an hour prior to cooking. 2) In the meantime, preheat your grill to a medium high heat. (Chef's Tip: Michael Symon recommends using a charcoal grill.) 3) Brush the pork chops with a little olive oil and season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 4) Once the grill is heated, place the pork chops on the grill to cook for about 5 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees, basting them with the glaze every minute or so until they start to develop a great fiery whiskey citrus crust. 5) Remove pork chops from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. 6) Serve with your favorite accompaniments. <strong>For the Rye Glaze:</strong> ¼ cup Knob Creek® Rye ½ gallon fresh squeezed orange juice 2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice 1 jalapeño, slice in half with seeds in 1 cup brown sugar Place all ingredients in a non-reactive pan over medium heat and reudce by half. (Chef's Tip: Michael Symon says this will take about an hour.) Set aside until needed.
Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Yogurt
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> 1 large egg 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 pounds boneless lamb or beef, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 3 tablespoons cumin seeds 3 tablespoons coriander seeds 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon Asian chili powder 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Beat the egg with the cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss in the lamb so that all the cubes are coated, and refrigerate for 1 hour. 2) Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal or gas grill and oil the grill grates. Dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat just until you smell the spices’ aroma; be careful not to let them burn. Then immediately remove the skillet from the heat and let cool. In a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder, grind the seeds into a coarse powder. Mix the powder with the salt and chili powder until well combined. 3) Thread 5 cubes of lamb onto each skewer and rub the spice mixture all over the meat. Brush the tops of the skewers with the oil. Grill the skewers until they are crusty and brown on the outside and medium-rare on the inside. Serve the kebabs with a side of yogurt for dipping.
Grilled Shrimp Burgers
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> Vegetable oil as needed 1 garlic clove, peeled 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled 1 small red onion, chopped 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped, optional Hamburger buns or hard rolls, toasted if you like, optional Lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, pickles, and condiments as you like <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Prepare a grill or turn on the broiler; the heat should be medium-high and the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. If you’re grilling, clean the grates with a wire brush. If you’re broiling, grease a rimmed baking sheet with a thin film of the oil. 2) Combine the garlic and one-third of the shrimp in a food processor and process to a purée, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the container as necessary. 3) Add the remaining shrimp along with the onion, bell pepper if you’re using it, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and the parsley. Pulse until the shrimp is chopped, but not too finely. Shape the mixture into 4 patties and put on wax or parchment paper. 4) Brush the grill or the patties lightly with the oil. To grill: Put the burgers directly over the fire. To broil: Put them on the prepared baking sheet and under the heat source. Cook, undisturbed, until the side exposed to the heat develops a browned crust, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the burgers and repeat on the other side, cooking until the shrimp has turned opaque throughout, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve on buns if you like, with mayonnaise, ketchup, or any other condiments you like. <strong>Flipping the Burgers: </strong>If you try to turn these before a dark crust forms and they release easily, they'll probably fall apart. (If you’re grilling, wait for them to release easily from the grates.) <strong>Tips</strong> Shrimp contain collagen, which when puréed acts as the “glue” that holds these burgers together. Make sure you chop (not purée) the rest of the shrimp, or else you will get a burger that’s all glue (sticky and mushy). And don’t add too many more vegetables or the burgers might start to break apart when you cook them. For a switch from lettuce, try garnishing with whole basil leaves. <strong>Variations</strong> Grilled or Broiled Salmon Burgers: Try substituting skinned salmon fillets in this recipe. They’ll be a little more fragile but still hold together. Thai-Style Grilled or Broiled Shrimp Burgers: In Step 2, add 1 seeded fresh hot green chile (like jalapeño) and 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger along with garlic and the first third of the shrimp. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce and the juice of 1 lime along with the remaining shrimp. Replace half of the parsley with fresh basil leaves (preferably Thai basil). Continue with the recipe. Serve with mayonnaise spiked with hot sauce and lime wedges.
Knob Creek Rye Grilled Chicken with Watermelon & Feta Salad
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> 4 chicken breasts, skin on 1 tbsp olive oil ¼ cup Knob Creek® Rye Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 cups red seedless watermelon, cut into 1" cubes ½ cup Greek feta cheese 4 tbsp finely sliced scallions, white and green parts ½ cup Knob Creek® Rye BBQ sauce ½ cup red wine vinaigrette <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Preheat your grill to medium high heat. 2) Place the chicken in a gallon-sized bag with olive oil and Knob Creek® Rye. 3) Marinate chicken for 1 hour in the refrigerator, turning once. 4) After an hour, remove the chicken from the marinade and dry, discarding the marinade. 5) Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. 6) Once the grill is heated place the chicken on the grill for 5 minutes. 7) After 5 minutes, flip the chicken over and begin basting it with the Knob Creek® Rye BBQ sauce every couple of minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. 8) Remove the chicken and let it rest. 9) While the chicken is resting, combine the watermelon, feta and scallions with the red wine vinaigrette and spoon onto a platter. 10) Place the BBQ chicken on top and serve immediately. <strong>For the Rye BBQ Sauce:</strong> 1 tbsp olive oil 1 cup onion, minced 1 garlic clove 1 tbsp coriander seed, ground 1 tsp cumin seed, ground 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup cider vinegar ½ cup Knob Creek® Rye 2 cups Ballpark Mustard Pinch of salt 1) Sweat the onions and garlic over low heat for 1 minute in olive oil with a pinch of salt. 2) Add coriander and cumin seeds to the pan and let them bloom for an additional minute. 3) Add brown sugar to the pan and let it melt. 4) Add the cider vinegar and Knob Creek® Rye to the pan and reduce the mixture by about a 1¼ over medium heat for 10 minutes. 5) Remove pan from heat and stir in the mustard. 6) Taste for seasoning, adding salt and brown sugar as necessary. 7) Set aside until needed. <strong>For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:</strong> 1 tbsp shallot, minced 1 tsp garlic, minced ½ cup red wine vinegar ½ tsp kosher salt 1 1¼ cups extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp seeded Fresno chilies, minced 2 tbsp fresh mint, sliced 1 tbsp toasted almonds, chopped 1) Combine all ingredients into a bowl except the olive oil. 2) Add the oil in a slow stream, whisking continuously. 3) Set aside until needed.
Grilled Artichokes with Green Olive Dip
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> 6 artichokes 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tsp. salt Juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 tbsp. more juice 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Geen Olive Dip (recipe follows) <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Slice tops off artichokes, pull off small outer leaves, trim stems, and snip off thorny tips. In a large pot, bring 1 to 2 inches water to a boil. Add 1 tbsp. salt, juice of 1 lemon, and artichokes; cover and steam until artichoke bottoms pierce easily, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on their size. Drain artichokes. When cool enough to handle, cut each in half lengthwise and scrape out fuzzy center. 2) In a small bowl, combine garlic, oil, remaining 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper. Brush artichokes with garlic mixture. 3) Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct medium heat (about 350F). Grill artichokes, turning once, until lightly browned, 8 to 11 minutes. Serve with olive dip. Make Ahead: Artichokes through step 1, up to 2 days, chilled. Green olive dip, up to 2 days, chilled. For Green Olive Dip: In a blender, puree 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp. chopped green olives, 1 tbsp. drained capers, 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. salt until coarsely pureed.
Churrasco Steak and Arugula with Candied Pepper Chimichurri
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> FOR THE CHIMICHURRI 1/2 cup finely minced candied Red Peppers 1/4 cup candied pepper liquid 1/4 cup brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro 6 garlic cloves, very finely minced 2 shallots, very finely chopped 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil FOR THE STEAKS 4 8-ounce skirt steaks 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt 1 tablespoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 4 cups baby arugula 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with their liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside. 2) Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill. 3) Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the black pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other side until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside. 4) While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat. 5) Arrange the 4 steaks on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.
Grilled Peach Salad with Knob Creek Bourbon and Bacon Dressing
<strong>What You'll Need</strong> 6 peaches (firm, quartered with pits removed) 2 tbsp olive oil ½ cup Marcona almonds ¼ cup bacon, cooked 2 cups arugula Knob Creek® Bourbon & Bacon Dressing <strong>Prep:</strong> 1) Start by brushing the peaches with the olive oil. 2) Grill the peaches for 1 minute per side or until they are warmed and slightly softened. 3) Set the peaches aside while you make the Knob Creek® Bourbon & Bacon Dressing. 4) Once the dressing is ready, place the almonds, arugula and reserved bacon in a large mixing bowl with the peaches. 5) Add the warm vinaigrette, gently toss to coat and serve immediately. <strong>For the Bourbon and Bacon Dressing:</strong> ¼ cup bacon, diced 2 tbsp Knob Creek® Bourbon ¼ cup red wine vinegar 1 tsp honey 1 tsp Dijon mustard Extra virgin olive oil (as needed) 1) Place a medium sauté pan over medium high heat. 2) Add the Knob Creek® Bourbon to the rendered bacon fat and cook slightly for a few minutes. 3) Remove the bourbon and bacon mixture from the heat. 4) Vigorously whisk in the vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard into the bourbon and bacon mixture until smooth. (Chef's Tip: Michael Symon recommends giving the dressing a quick taste. If it is too acidic for you, adjust the mixture slightly by adding olive oil to taste).