Grilling by Dad

A walk around the neighborhood on Father’s Day is guaranteed to get your salivary glands activated.  For what else does that day come down to but the male prowess of grilling meat?


My husband long ago embraced that role in our family, eschewing the easy propane grills for the pleasure of building and making his own handcrafted Weber blazes.


Of course, Americans have always loved their meats, fish and vegetables cooked over an open fire. Come the spring, and our ongoing love affair with grilling, spit-roasting and smoke cookery almost appears an act of patriotism.


But, what about the health risks? Warnings abound of the cancer risks associated with charring – the very soul of barbecue.


It’s the charring that creates flavor – whether it’s done over a charcoal fire, a propane gas grill or in a stovetop pan.


Expose meat to temperatures high enough to char, and cancer-causing compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are the result.


But, there are strategies available for making barbecue a healthier business. A couple years ago, food scientists reported that marinating meat in beer or wine could help block the formation of HCAs. That’s because they contain antioxidants, chemicals that block the formation of carcinogens.


Recent studies also point to the role of herbs – rosemary, in particular – for their protective properties.


So in that spirit, I offer a tangy, mouth-watering barbecued lamb recipe, marinated in olive oil, red wine and lots of herbs, including rosemary, which grows so easily and profusely in our Mediterranean climate.


This dish is adapted from The Joy of Grilling by Joseph Famularo (Barron’s, 1998), which many cooks regard as the go-to source for all things barbecued.


Sara Solovitch is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.




Greek Roasted Potatoes

For the meat-and-potatoes man on his special day, here’s a dish that’s good enough to steal attention from the main attraction. This one is adapted from The Best American Recipes 2001-2002 by Fran McCullough, series editor (2001, Houghton Mifflin).



  • 3 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 400. Place the potatoes in a single layer in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Add the oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and toss well to coat with the oil.


Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes, add the stock, then toss and bake for 10 minutes more. Add the lemon juice, toss and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.


If you like, preheat the broiler and brown the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.




Lamb Kebabs With Zest of Citrus and Yogurt Sauce



2 pounds boneless leg or shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into cubes



  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • Handful of minced cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest


Combine the marinade ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and add the meat cubes. Refrigerate overnight or at least an hour before grilling.


Drain meat, reserving marinade, and thread on skewers, pressing the pieces close together. Grill the skewers until the meat is pink and juicy, about seven to 10 minutes, turning and brushing with the remaining marinade. For well-done meat, grill for 12 to 15 minutes.




Yogurt Sauce
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and grated


Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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