05/08/2015 11:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mother's Day Brunch -- on the Grill


My mother, Frances Raichlen, wore the barbecue pants in my family. Back in a day when most women wouldn't go near a grill, my mother loaded ours with charcoal briquettes, lit it with gasoline! (do not try this at home), and charred T-bones anthracite black on the outside, leaving the center so rare it still mooed.

So as Mother's Day rolls around, I always think of the role she played in inspiring my own career as a food writer specializing in smoke and fire.

According to the NRA (no, not that NRA -- the National Restaurant Association), nearly half of all Americans will either dine out or order carryout on Mother's Day. Dining rooms packed like sardines. Harried waiters. Doesn't sound like much of a way to thank your progenitress to me.

Mom deserves better. Specifically, she deserves a home-cooked meal that requires her to lift not a single maternal finger. That means (drum roll please) firing up your grill.

Do it for brunch, that hybrid meal aptly described as "breakfast that begins with a cocktail." Brunch has other advantages: it gives you plenty of prep time while your wife/mother sleeps in, and she still has most of the day left to relax.

Which brings us to my official 2015 Mother's Day brunch menu:

Smoky Marys
Hot-Smoked Salmon with Grilled Bagels
Grilled Vegetable Frittata
Maple Candied Bacon
Grilled Pound Cake with Mixed Berry "Salsa"

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms on Planet Barbecue! We love you!

Get more tips on putting together this brunch menu at

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Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Primal Grill on PBS. His web site is