Stepping Out

Al fresco-style entertaining

A tasty summer bash is welcome throughout the season

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Keep the barbecue going post-Fourth of July. There’s always a reason to fire up the grill and invite some pals over for a summer soiree, whether it’s impromptu or planned well in advance.

For the meat lovers in your crowd, steak is always a winner. To up your grilling game this summer, try these tips from chef Grant Hon.

Choose your protein: Selecting quality protein is the starting place for an exceptional grilled meal. For example, the ribeye is the most well-marbled steak, meaning it’s super juicy, rich with beefy flavor and excellent on the grill.

Prepare the grill: Always start with clean grill grates. Heat your gas grill to high or start your charcoal 10-15 minutes before you grill. Dip a paper towel in oil using tongs and oil your grill grates before adding steaks for a great sear.

Prepare the meat: Pat steak dry with a clean paper towel and season before it hits the grill. You can’t go wrong with simple sea salt and cracked pepper, but creative rubs can add a special twist.

Sear and crust: Cook steak directly over your heat source to get a tasty, crunchy sear on the outside of the steak. This is where the best flavor comes from, and it offers a delicious contrast to the rich, juicy inside of the cut.

Control your cook: Keep the grill cover closed as much as possible to maintain a temperature of around 450 F. This helps lock in flavor and prevent flare-ups. Remember that highly marbled meat means more fat, which melts during cooking. This is a good thing, but you may experience more dripping or flare-ups if you’re used to grilling leaner steaks.

To minimize the need to open the grill cover, determine the amount of time you’ll need to reach your desired doneness then use the 60-40 grilling method. Grill 60 percent on the first side then 40 percent after you turn the steak over for an even cook.

Let it rest:A resting time of at least five minutes allows steak juices to redistribute for the best eating experience. A foil tent can help regulate temperature during the resting period.

Garnish and flavor: Whether you’re grilling vegetables, sauteing onions or adding a different kind of sweet or savory topping, just before you serve is the right time to garnish your steak.

Zesty Steak

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon Montreal Steak

Seasoning

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 pounds boneless beef sirloin or flank steak

Mix soy sauce, honey, orange juice, steak seasoning and ginger in small bowl. Place steak in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well.

Refrigerate one hour or longer for extra flavor. Remove steak from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.

Grill over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until desired doneness.

For added flavor, try a tasty topper on your meat.

Dijon Mustard Aioli: Blend Dijon and whole-grain mustard with creamy Greek yogurt, garlic, tarragon and white pepper for a rich, tangy topping.

Mushrooms and Blue Cheese: Mix hearty mushrooms and full-flavored blue cheese with your favorite savory spices and a splash of sherry wine

Smoky Bacon Jam: Start with the finest cuts of bacon browned to crispy perfection then add caramelized onion and an accent like brown sugar or balsamic vinegar.

Tomato Jam: Experiment with your favorite varieties to find the perfect balance of crushed tomatoes, sweet gherkins and seasonings.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Skewers with Lemon-Cucumber Salsa

8 skewers

1 pineapple

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces

Lemon-Cucumber Salsa

1 lemon, supremed

1 cucumber, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 tablespoon wildflower honey

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Soak wooden skewers for 15 minutes prior to grilling.

Heat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove rind from pineapple and dice into 1-inch pieces.

In small bowl, combine oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken and pineapple; toss to coat.

Alternating chicken and pineapple, pierce onto skewers.

Grill skewers 8 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

To make Lemon-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, combine lemon, cucumber, onion, honey and pepper.

Serve lemon-cucumber salsa over cooked chicken skewers

Tip: Supreme citrus fruit by cutting off top and bottom of fruit then cut away peel and pith, leaving no white on outside of fruit. Slice each segment into wedges by cutting toward center of fruit along membrane.