Get fired up!

LOCAL Life’s sizzling summer grilling guide.

Here in the Lowcountry, summer is pretty much synonymous with grilling. The sizzle of the grates, the smoky aroma, the sound of the juices dripping on the coals — it takes us to our happy place. Enhance the experience even further this summer by rising above hamburgers and hot dogs. For an all-star barbecue, consider these easy-to-follow recipes from top local chefs.

Live by the sword

Summer is all about fresh fish served up a million ways. Yet, we all know simplicity is the way to bring out the flavor of the sea. This swordfish recipe from chef Nunzio Patruno is grilled with seasonal herbs, drizzled extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, hitting all the right notes. Serve with elegantly minced summer fruit and vegetables and you have a perfect summer dish.

Nunzio Restaurant + Bar – Grilled Swordfish with fruit & vegetable chutney

(Serves 6)


6 (5 ounce) swordfish steaks

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 sprig of rosemary

2 lemons

1 lime

2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped/diced

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped

1 slice of pineapple, finely chopped

1 bunch of mint, chopped

Salt & pepper

3 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Basil oil

Directions [1] To prep the salad, marinate the swordfish with chopped garlic, sprig of rosemary, juice of 1 lemon and set aside for 15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, add all the vegetables, salt and pepper, lemon juice, lime juice and 2 ounces of extra virgin olive oil. Toss and set aside.
Grill the swordfish 4 minutes on each side. And set aside. [4] To plate, place the swordfish on a serving platter and spoon over the marinated vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped fresh mint and drizzle with basil oil. Serve.

Try this

Bad Biscuit – Shrimp fritters

What’s for lunch? These shrimp fritters (made with local shrimp, key lime dipping sauce, fresh watermelon and Dave Peck’s famous grits) might change your plans. Pick up a basket for $7.95 at Dave’s new Southern restaurant, Bad Biscuit, on the South End of Hilton Head. They’re shrimpy irresistible!

WWMD (What would Margaret drink?)

Margaret Pearman is a certified sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers and is responsible for curating the award-winning wine list at Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte. Here are her suggestions for June.

Pregame – G&R (Gin Rose)


2 ounces Bullrush Gin

2 ounces Finteman’s Rose Lemonade (London)

Wedge of Lime

Notes: Father’s Day can be a pretty hot day for us here in the Lowcountry. Grilling only heats that situation up! A nice refreshing cocktail using South Carolina’s owns Bulrush Gin, which is mild on the botanicals mixed with an English rose water botanically brewed lemonade is the perfect chill drink.

Sitting down to eat with Dad – Darioush Viognier (Oak Knoll/Los Carneros)

A white wine that offers loads of floral jasmine and citrus notes to help balance the jalapeño spice in the salsa while complementing the tropical mango. This is a big white wine that is sure to please Dad with its juicy and voluptuous mouth feel, and crisp finish.

Get out and grill!

Tips and advice from Robert Wysong, executive chef at Colleton River Club

If you have not already, tune up your grill, keep it clean and ready to light. If using propane, have an extra tank; don’t be the one who runs out of gas in the middle of the grill out.

Marinating and seasoning is the key and I encourage you to experiment with fresh herbs.

Hopefully, your outdoor time has been well spent this spring and maybe you tucked in a few great summer herbs. Parsley, lemon – thyme, oregano, basil, and mints all add great flavor to marinades for grilled vegetables and all other summer items. Be adventurous, keep it local, fresh and get ready to grill!

Catch of the day

Grilling fish is easier than you think. The team at Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte shared this amazing grilled mahi-mahi recipe, dressed in a beautiful mango and cucumber salsa. If you love the idea of grilling fresh fish all summer, keep this on hand, as it works with many types of fish. It’s a great way to prepare your catch of the day.

Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte – Grilled mahi-mahi with mango & cucumber salsa

Ingredients (mahi-mahi)

4 (6-8 ounce) filets of fresh mahi-mahi

Choice of seasoning (chef’s preference is citrus or blackening spice)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pan spray or olive oil to brush or spray your grill

Directions [1] Heat grill to medium high. Clean with grill brush, then spray to prevent breaking the fish filets. Pour olive oil and sprinkle spices over the fish filets; spread evenly over both sides. [2] Place the fish on the heated grill at a 45-degree angle to achieve diamond grill marks. [3] After searing for 2-3 minutes, use a metal spatula to twist the filet a quarter turn. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to the skin side of the filet, and continue to grill while turning every couple of minutes until fully cooked.

Pro tip: Brush a little mayo on the fish and it will never stick to a grill.

Ingredients (mango cucumber salsa)

1 mango, peeled and diced

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon jalapeño, finely chopped

1/3 cup red onion, diced

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

Directions Combine the mango, cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spirit of St. Louis

For many Midwestern transplants, pork steaks are a barbecue staple. The cut of meat comes from the shoulder and has significantly more fat and connective tissue than a pork chop. Originally just a St. Louis thing, pork steaks are now prevalent throughout the Midwest. They’re cheap, easy to grill, tender and always taste great. In this recipe, Vineyard executive chef Pascal Vignau takes it to another level, grilling the steaks with an apple cider vinegar glaze.

Vineyard – Grilled pork steak with apple cider vinegar glaze

(Serves 4)

4 (10 ounce) pork steaks

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons whole yellow mustard seed

Zest of 1 lemon

Directions [1] In a saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil. Add brown sugar, mustard seed and tomato paste. Cook for 15 minutes. [2] Add zest. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from fire and cool. [3] Season the pork steak. Cook in a cast iron skillet or on the grill. When halfway done, reduce heat and apply the glaze several times on both sides. Remove and serve.

Tender loving care

If you like bourbon, maple syrup and pork tenderloin, you’re sure to love this grilling recipe from Moss Creek executive chef Lenny Giarratano. It smells amazing and tastes even better. Recommended sides include vinaigrette jicama slaw and brown rice.

Moss Creek – Maple bourbon glazed pork tenderloin


2 pork tenderloins, silver skin removed, butterflied

3 tablespoons bourbon whisky

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons tomato ketchup

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons course ground black pepper

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Directions [1] Clean and butterfly the pork tenders. Mix all other ingredients together in a bowl. [2] Pour half of the mixture over the pork and work in. Let marinate for 60 minutes. Reserve the other half for basting. [3] Light grill to medium-high heat. I prefer charcoal fire with essence of cherry wood for this recipe, but a gas grill will work if needed. [4] Grill 5-8 minutes each side over direct heat with grill closed, basting with additional glaze as you go. The internal temperature for the pork should be 145 degrees. [5] Rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Taste the rainbow

Many fish lovers swear by the mild, delicate, nut-like flavors of rainbow trout. This sophisticated recipe from Hampton Hall executive chef Jared McElroy is a hit with Hampton Hall members. It’s enhanced with an easy-to-make compound butter. “To finish the dish, we top the trout with a dollop of the butter (recipe below) and let it melt over the fish to create a fresh herbaceous sauce,” McElroy said.

Hampton Hall – Grilled rainbow trout with shallot & tarragon butter

(Serves 6 )


6-8 (10-ounce) rainbow trout fillets, head and bones removed

1 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, rough chopped

Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil or spray

Directions [1] Heat a grill to high heat (about 425 to 450 degrees). Slice the lemons as thin as you can and remove the seeds from the slices. [2] Gently pat the fish dry with paper towels. Remove the fins from the belly area of the two fillets. [3] Lay the fish open on a work surface, skin side down. Lightly season the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle the fresh tarragon over the flesh. Lay three slices of lemon on one of the filets and then fold the fish back together. [4] Spray both side of the folded fish and lay the fish on the hot grill. Allow the skin to crisp and sear. When the fish is ready to be turned, the skin will release from the grill. Turn the fish and grill to crisp the skin on the other side. Total cooking time will take 7-10 minutes. [5] For plating, we serve this with a cornbread and sausage dressing and sautéed kale with roasted butternut squash. At home this would go great with some roasted fingerling potatoes and simply sautéed green beans with butter.

Ingredients (compound butter)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 shallots, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pinch black pepper

Directions [1] Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add the vegetable oil and then add the minced shallots and sauté for 1-2 minutes until they are translucent. Remove the shallots from the pan and allow them to cool. [2] In a bowl, combine the softened butter, tarragon, parsley and cooled shallots. Mix with a rubber spatula. Add the lemon juice and then season the butter to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the butter and hold at room temperature for plating.

Fit to be Thai’d

Refreshing and delicious, watermelon is one of those fruits we can all agree on. It’s the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue. This sophisticated Thai watermelon salad recipe from Berkeley Hall executive Sous Chef Tim Uphold hits all the right notes. “It pairs well with most anything from the grill, a definite go-to for spring into summer,” he said.

Berkeley Hall – Thai watermelon salad


1 cup sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 small watermelon

1/4 red onion, julienne

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon mint chiffonade

Directions [1] Take the first six ingredients and combine in a bowl. [2] In a separate bowl, peel and cut the watermelon to desired size. Add onion and 1 tablespoon of mint to watermelon and pour dressing over and mix. [3] Let sit for 20 minutes, then drain salad. Plate and garnish with the last of the mint.

Try this

Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar – Pan roasted scallope

If your dad is into local seafood, consider Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar for Father’s Day. Their pan roasted scallope features fresh scallops from local waters, cauliflower, hazelnuts, sage and brown butter. The ingredients meld for a perfectly delicate flavor and are the perfect way to say, “Thanks Dad!”




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