Summertime and the Grilling is Easy

Fourth of July has a way of sneaking up on us, and it is historically a sweltering summer day. We love to cook outside on days like that, so the inside of your home remains a cool sanctuary. For a Fourth of July meal at home this year, it’s all about grilling. How about a grilled romaine salad with charred tomato vinaigrette, a cast-iron skillet ribeye with bourbon butter and summer squash with fruit vinegar?

For the grilled romaine salad, what you wanna do is take some nice, stiff, crunchy romaine (romaine season is approaching its end but greenhouse varieties are available locally). Take the whole head and split longways. Sprinkle the cut side of both halves with salt and pepper and brush some canola oil on your grill so that it’s nonstick. Place the cut-sides of the romaine on the grill so that the edges get slightly charred, cooking for about two minutes before turning 90 degrees and cooking for about two more minutes. Flip and grill the other side for two minutes, then plate and drizzle with some charred tomato vinaigrette and top with your favorite cheese (my go to is Goat Lady Dairy Chevre). Serve it with a knife and fork and remember there’s nothing wrong with eating a salad with a knife!

Just because you’re cooking on a grill doesn’t mean you have to grill something. You can use a trusty cast-iron skillet, set on the grill until it gets smokin’ hot.

  • Already have your steak sitting near the grill while you make the salad (so the chill will dissipate and it will start to come up to room temperature), just don’t let it sit out too long!
  • Salt and pepper both sides of your steak and drizzle a little bit of oil on it (we use canola).
  • With tongs, place the steak in your dry, hot skillet so it will sear. (If you have a one-inch ribeye, it will only take about four minutes.)
  • Carefully flip the steak (just once) and sear for about 4-5 minutes on the other side, depending on the thickness of your steak how hot your grill is.
  • Move the steak to a clean plate, and let it rest for about five minutes before you cut into it. Top with bourbon butter. You will be amazed at the flavor of a seared steak because fat is flavor and all of the inter-muscular fat from that steak drips into the pan and the meat cooks in it. It’ll blow your mind.

For the veggies, it’s really simple.

  • Wash some yellow and green summer squash, split longways and season with salt and pepper on the cut side.
  • Grill cut-side down for about four minutes on each side.
  • Transfer to a cutting board, chop and then place in a salad bowl and toss with some fruit vinegar of your choice and serve alongside your steak. (While this recipe is for strawberry vinegar and strawberry season has come to a close, you could easily substitute peaches or blackberries, both currently available at The Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market.)

As for dessert, forgo the oven and keep it simple so you can relax and enjoy the day. Scoop up some vanilla bean ice cream (we like Homeland Creamery) and serve with some sliced fresh peaches. What could be better?

Bourbon Butter
makes ¼ pound

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 ½ tbsp chopped green onions

Allow butter to come to room temperature, just like softening cream cheese before whipping it (don’t get impatient and microwave it; things won’t turn out so well), and then combine with remaining ingredients in a mixer. Using a rubber spatula, remove mixture to a sheet of wax paper and roll into a log. Place in freezer until set. Slice off a coin as needed.

For cooking in your backyard, we trust locally-raised meats, and we enjoy working with the triangle-focused folks at Firsthand Foods—you can find their pork on our menu in Cary. We also love LoMo Market and MAE Farm Meats which both feature meat from Firsthand Foods..

If those aren’t convenient for you, here are some other great places to buy locally-raised meats that we love:

For more recipes, visit 

What will you be cooking for the 4th?

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:


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