July, 2013 — Independence Day Recipes

Independence Day Grilling Recipes from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

The Saveur Test Kitchen team cooking on a Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire Grill.

Fire up your grill and celebrate friends, family and the 4th of July with a festive barbecue. We’ve pulled together our favorite kebab recipes from issues past as well as a new favorite from the Saveur Summer BBQ in New York. Read on for Terbiyeli Küşleme (Mint and Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs), Prosciutto Cantaloupe Skewers, Barbecue Shrimp Skewers with Peach Salsa, Orange Beef Teriyaki Kebabs, Tequila Barbecue Chicken Kebabs and Grilled Figs with Vanilla Gelato.

Send Us Your July 4th Barbecue Photos and Win a Steak Champ Thermometer

Whatever you prepare at your barbecue this holiday, we’d love to see pictures of your food and fun. Send us your photos and you can be one of four lucky winners of a Steak Champ Electronic Steak Thermometer ($50 value each). We will give one thermometer to each of four winners:

Steak Champ Electronic Steak Thermometer

  • The best looking food photo
  • The photo of the most creative grilled dish
  • The best group photo from a July 4th barbecue
  • The best photo that includes a Kalamazoo grill

Entered photos may be posted on the Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet blog and on our Facebook page. We are happy to include your name or keep your entries anonymous. To enter, email your photos no later than Tuesday, July 9th, 2013. Winning photographs will be selected by our newsletter team.

Email your photos with the subject: July 4 Photo Contest.

Happy Independence Day!

Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet

Terbiyeli Küşleme (Mint & Aleppo Pepper Marinated Chicken Kebabs)

Grilled Marinated Chicken Kebabs

The Saveur test kitchen fired up a Kalamazoo K750HS Hybrid Fire Grill for the 4th Annual Saveur Summer BBQ. The kebabs they grilled were simply amazing. The recipe is from the 2013 Grilling Issue, and we wanted to share it with you.

A thick, flavorful marinade of mint, Aleppo pepper and Turkish sweet red pepper paste caramelizes on the outside of these grilled chicken kebabs.


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground Aleppo pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Turkish sweet red pepper paste (available from Khana Pakana)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1” pieces
  • 6 12-inch metal skewers


Mix oil, mint, chili flakes, thyme, Aleppo pepper, tomato paste, red pepper paste, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Add chicken; toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side. Remove chicken from marinade; thread onto skewers. Grill on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until chicken is slightly charred and cooked through, 12 to15 minutes. If the outside starts to burn before the chicken is fully cooked, move to the cooler side of grill until done.

Saveur Summer BBQ - Saveur test kitchen team cooking on a Kalamazoo Grill

Kellie Evans and the Saveur test kitchen team grilling kebabs at the Saveur Summer BBQ

Cantaloupe Prosciutto Kebabs

Melon Proosciutto Grilled Kebabs

Sweet and summery cantaloupe meets the heat of the grill for nicely caramelized sugars contrasted by salty, cured-pork. This simple appetizer is sure to be a hit every time you serve it.


  • 1 large cantaloupe
  • 4 to 5 ounces thinly-sliced prosciutto (or Speck, see note)
  • 6 skewers, about 8 inches long


Preheat the grill for direct grilling at about 500°F.

Cut the cantaloupe into cubes, roughly 1-1/2 inches in size. Slice the prosciutto into strips about 1 inch wide. Wrap one piece of cantaloupe at a time with one slice of prosciutto, and slide it onto the skewer so that the skewer holds the prosciutto in place.

Continue this process until you have completed 6 skewers. Grill over direct heat for a couple of minutes on each of the four sides, until the cantaloupe is nicely marked and the edges of the prosciutto are crisped. Serve warm.

Note: Speck is a version of prosciutto that is smoked in addition to being salt cured. For this recipe I used Speck La Quercia Americano, made in Norwalk, Iowa. The apple wood smoke flavor added nicely to the dish, and the Speck was quite a bit leaner than traditional prosciutto.

Barbecued Shrimp Skewers with Peach Salsa

Barbecued Shrimp Skewers with Grilled Peach Salsa

The spiced rub on the shrimp is balanced by sweet peach salsa in this fantastic summer appetizer.


For the Peach Salsa:

  • 1/2 lime
  • 3 ripe yellow peaches
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • Sugar (optional)

For the Barbecued Shrimp:

  • 32 shrimp, 10 to 15 per pound size, shelled and deveined, tails left on
  • 1 tablespoon Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub (see recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 16 bamboo skewers (or 8 if they are double-pronged like in the photo)

For serving:
8 lime wedges


To make 3 cups of peach salsa: Juice the 1/2 lime into a medium-sized bowl. Dice the peaches and immediately stir into the lime juice. Add the onion, red pepper and cilantro. Stir in 1/2 of the jalapeno and test the salsa for heat. Add as much of the remaining jalapeno as appropriate for your taste and the tastes of your guests. If the peaches were not ripe enough or otherwise did not deliver enough sweetness, add a small amount of sugar as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat (about 400°F).

Use double-pronged skewers (like the one in the photo above) or pairs of skewers to prevent the shrimp from turning. Build 8 double-prong skewers with 4 shrimp each.

Combine the Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub with the brown sugar and sprinkle over both sides of the shrimp skewers.

Grill the shrimp over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes, turning once. The shrimp are fully cooked when they become opaque. Try not to overcook the shrimp or they can become tough.

Serve the shrimp (on or off the skewers) with the peach salsa and lime wedges.

Tequila Barbecue Chicken Kebabs

Grilled Tequila Barbecue Chicken Kebabs

Our quick and easy Tequila Barbecue Sauce lends robust flavor to these chicken kebabs. Make a little extra sauce if you want to try it in other dishes.


  • 2 cups Tequila Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 red bell peppers (or use 1½ red and 1½ orange for added color), cleaned and cut into squares
  • 2 poblano chiles, cleaned and cut into squares
  • 2 ears corn on the cob, shucked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into squares
  • 6 skewers, about 8 inches long

Tequila Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (look for it in the aisle with Asian specialty ingredients)
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup tequila
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed

Combine all ingredients. Yields about 2 cups. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


Cut the chicken into large cubes for the kebabs and place them in a zip-top freezer bag with 1 cup of tequila barbecue sauce. Remove as much air as possible, seal and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
When it is time to prepare for cooking, get the grill ready for direct grilling at about 500°F.

Assemble the kebabs, alternating between chicken, bell peppers, poblanos, corn and red onion.

Grill the kebabs over direct heat for a few minutes per side, brushing with the reserved 1 cup of barbecue sauce each time you turn them. The chicken should be cooked through in about 15 minutes. Be careful not to slop too much barbecue sauce onto the grill while you baste because the sugars will burn quickly.

Note: A lot of companies are offering nice grilling tools these days, including some pretty fancy skewers for kebabs. Some are forged stainless steel and some have “pusher” disks to help you transfer the kebab bits to your plate without getting your fingers dirty.

The most important skewer design feature, in my opinion, is a flat blade. A flat blade will help keep the pieces of food from rotating on the kebab. The blade doesn’t have to be very wide to do this, just markedly wider than it is thick (see the skewers in the picture on the left).

When the piece of food can rotate on the skewer, it is harder to turn the skewer for even cooking. Worse yet, when some of the pieces are rotating and some are not, you have to realign them over and over or totally forget about even cooking. A flat blade will keep all the food aligned so that you can easily cook everything evenly with a few turns of the skewer.

I’ve tried several different types of flat bamboo skewers for cooking. All of them work well. Some have double prongs, which make for a nice presentation. If you can’t find flat bamboo skewers, you can use pairs of round skewers in parallel to accomplish the same thing. Bamboo skewers can be soaked for an our before use to help prevent them from burning on the grill. You can also lay a folded strip of aluminum foil on the grill grate underneath exposed skewer ends to protect them.

Orange Teriyaki Beef Kebabs

Beef tri-tip is tender and perfect for kebabs, and the homemade teriyaki gets a flavor boost from fresh orange for a winning combination.


  • 3 cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-grated garlic (use a microplane)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly-grated ginger (use a ginger grater or microplane)
  • 1-1/2 pounds tri-tip beef, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cut into squares
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into squares
  • 1/2 pound cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into squares
  • 24 large fresh spinach leaves
  • 6 skewers, about 8 inches long


In a medium saucepan, reduce the 3 cups of orange juice down to 1 cup over medium heat.Whisk 1 cup of light brown sugar together with the sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and orange juice reduction.

Combine all but 1/2 cup of the teriyaki with the tri-tip in a zip-lock freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible, seal and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup light brown sugar into the reserved 1/2 cup teriyaki. Cover and refrigerate to use later for basting.

When it is time to prepare for cooking, get the grill ready for direct grilling at about 400°F.

Assemble the kebabs, alternating between beef, bell peppers, sweet onion, pineapple and folded spinach leaves.

Grill the kebabs over direct heat for a few minutes per side, brushing with the reserved teriyaki glaze each time you turn the kebabs. Total cooking time should be about 10 minutes for beef cooked to medium doneness. Be careful not to slop too much teriyaki glaze onto the grill while you baste because the sugars will burn quickly.

Serve hot.

Grilled Figs Over Vanilla Gelato

Grilled Figs Over Vanilla Gelato

Although not exactly common grill fare, figs are fantastic over an open flame (see Michael Chiarello's recipe for Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese). The fire brings out the sugars and emphasizes the sweetness. A dusting with sugar and cinnamon caramelizes on the outside to turn these figs into a light dessert.


  • 16 Black Mission figs, stems removed and halved
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Skewers
  • Vanilla Gelato (or ice cream)
  • Honey (optional)


Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium heat (about 300° to 350°F).

Combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Gently toss the figs in another bowl with the canola oil and thread onto skewers. Using pairs of parallel skewers spaced 3/4" apart will keep the figs from rotating. Place the fig skewers on a cutting board or baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with the sugar mixture.

Cook the fig skewers directly over a medium fire, cut-side-down. Cook until the sugars have completely caramelized, about 3 minutes, and then turn to cook the skin side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the figs, especially on the skin side.

Dish the gelato into 8 serving bowls and top with 4 fig halves each. Optionally drizzle with honey.