Create: Meals on the Grill


Incredibly, 75 percent of Americans* own a grill or smoker. That’s a whole lot of grilling goin’ on, especially during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays when at least 60 percent of grill owners fire ‘em up.

Photography by Janet Warlick


Chef Brandon Douglas, executive chef at Green Leaf Grill in Little Rock.

Chef Brandon Douglas, executive chef at Green Leaf Grill in Little Rock.

In light of this favorite pastime, we decided to share a few recipes to add a bit more sizzle to your outdoor culinary cookbook. This month, we worked with Chef Brandon Douglas, executive chef at Green Leaf Grill, and called upon our friends at Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative as well the crew over at PK Grills to help us bring you recipes, tried and true.

Grass Roots is an Arkansas-based, farmer-owned cooperative of sustainable livestock producers who share resources and responsibilities to raise the highest-quality meats without growth hormones and antibiotics. Log on to their website or call 479.310.0037 for more information.

PK Grills date back to the early 1950s.

“When I think of PK Grills, I think of my grandfather and grilled chicken. I ate a lot of grilled chicken — prepared on a PK Grill — out of his garage,” Douglas said.

The cast aluminum charcoal grill is made in the United States, is virtually rustproof and easily detaches from its wheeled base for transport. These aspects as well as its ease and versatile use make it hugely popular. If you’d like to learn more, log on to There, you’ll also find recipes like the ones that follow.

Tips from Chef Brandon:

  • When using charcoal, be observant. There will be hot and cold spots.
  • Timing is very important. Food must be put on the grill at just the right time. You want to wait until at least two-thirds of the charcoal has turned white and has stopped smoking.
  • When grilling steaks, flip one time only — unless you want to create crosshatches — to be certain it cooks evenly.
  • Cook ribs slow and low.
  • When grilling chicken, always watch for flare-ups (caused by drips), especially if you’re cooking with sauce. “It’s best to let marinades drain off before placing the meat on the grill.”

Douglas serves as executive chef of the Green Leaf Grill. He has worked in the food industry for 13 years and was formally trained at the Arkansas Culinary School of Apprenticeship, under Chefs Paul Novicky and Paul Uher. He first realized his love for cooking while earning his bachelor’s degree at Henderson State College. He cooks most often for his wife Kendria and children Maddox and Liam.



Grilled T-bone Steak with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chive Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup blue cheese crumbles, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon bacon, cooked and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 T-bone steaks, 1 to ½ pounds each
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Using a fork, combine butter, blue cheese, bacon, chives and salt together in a small bowl. Roll the butter in plastic wrap, forming a log. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat grill to high heat. Brush steaks with olive oil, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place steaks on grates, and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees for medium rare or 135 for medium. Remove from grill, top with a slice of compound butter, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with grilled vegetables (recipe follows).

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chive Butter

Blue Cheese, Bacon and Chive Butter

Trim and peel onion, leaving root end intact. Slice into ¾-inch wedges. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle tomatoes and okra with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Either using a grill pan on the stovetop or a pan suitable for your grill, grill vegetables over high heat until okra and onions brown and tomatoes soften. Remove from grill. Serve immediately with steak.

Yields 4 servings

Courtesy of PK Grills and Southern Boy Dishes



Barbecued Chicken for a Crowd

  • 80 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
  • ½ cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground poultry seasoning
  • 2 28-ounce bottles KC Masterpiece Original barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups grape jelly
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup Tiger Sauce or your favorite hot sauce, not too hot

Melt the jelly in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and Tiger Sauce; whisk well to combine. Cover the pan, and set it aside.

Combine the seasoning salt, Old Bay and poultry seasoning in a medium mixing bowl; whisk to combine.

Lay one layer of drumsticks in two full-size disposable aluminum steam pans, alternating the thin and thick end of every other piece so they fit together nicely. Season the drumsticks liberally and evenly with the seasoning mixture. Flip drumsticks over and repeat the seasoning. Add another layer of chicken to each pan and repeat the seasoning on both sides. Cover the pans with foil, and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.

Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium heat, 350 degrees. Add the smoke wood of choice, just before you start cooking.

Arrange the chicken on your grill in the same interlocking manner as in the pans. Cook the drumsticks, turning them about every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the leg reaches 175 degrees, about one hour.

Sauce the chicken by working in batches. Pour about two cups of sauce in a very large mixing bowl, then add about 15 legs and gently toss/fold to coat them in sauce. Repeat the saucing with the remaining legs. If you want to set or lightly caramelize the sauce, return the chicken to the grill for a couple minutes per side.

Note: Do not sauce the chicken the night before if you’re going to keep them in the foil pans. The acid in the sauce will react with the aluminum. Instead, brush the chicken with warm sauce just before serving.

Courtesy of PK Grills and John Dawson


David’s Baby Back Ribs

  • baby back ribs
  • Wicker’s Original Marinade and Baste or your favorite marinade
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • rub

Cut baby backs in half and marinate in Wickers Original Marinade and Baste overnight. Place glowing coals and hickory or mesquite evenly over bottom PK rack. Put the marinated meat in a grill rack; place on top grill. Shut down every vent halfway or more, and let ribs slow cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Occasionally check fire.

Take the ribs off the rack. Place two halves on aluminum foil. Add a little olive oil, honey and some of your favorite rub or spices. Wrap the two halves together tightly and place in a 225- to 250-degree preheated oven. Leave them in the oven 3 1/2 to 4 hours, and they will peel right off the bone!

Courtesy of PK Grills and David Moix

A huge thank you to Grass Roots for their fantastic grilling package of meats; to Douglas for lending us his culinary skills; to PK Grills for use of one of the most popular grills made; and to Nina DuBois, account executive for AY, for allowing us to invade her personal space.

*Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

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