2010 Grilling Forecast

Several times during the year, I get a release from McCormick, the spice people, highlighting their “Flavor Forecast” for the season.

This year, they’ve turned out their first-ever Grilling Edition of their signature Flavor Forecast, identifying top sizzling pairings and summer flavor trends.

According to Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick, “this season, expect to see backyard grillers experimenting with flavor layering — high-impact combinations of rubs, marinades, glazes and more — to boost flavor before, during and after grilling. Another exciting trend is taking cues from traditional cocktail flavors and ingredients — rediscovering them as inspiration on the grill.”

Here are McCormick’s top five grilling trends:

Backyard Bistro — The surging popularity of at-home entertaining continues as grillers recreate the foods and flavors from their favorite eateries.
Layer It On! — Grill masters are embracing creativity by merging marinades, rubs, brines, mops, sauces and more.
Fired Up Fruit — Grilled fruits are being skewered alongside meats, pureed to make tenderizing marinades, and chopped for salsas and relishes.
Ethnic Sizzle — Nearly every cuisine around the globe claims a place on the grill — especially current favorites like Caribbean, Latin, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian.
Shaken, Stirred and Grilled — Using flavorful spirits in place of vinegars or other liquids is paving the way for new combinations like mojito marinades and bourbon-spiked pork tenderloin.

These delicious driving forces will showcase flavors that combine everything from sweet and spicy to warm and smoky, according to Vetter. The experts at McCormick have identified these seven pairings:

Applewood and Plum — Juicy plums accent the smokiness of applewood and add adventurous flair to all-American barbecue.
Cilantro and Lime — Cutting across the diverse cuisines, this bright and zingy pair is a refreshing taste of summertime.
Rosemary and Fig — Figs are an unexpected and regionally inspired match for aromatic rosemary.
Chipotle and Maple — This culinary comingling delivers an updated take on smoky, spicy and sweet.
Brown Sugar and Bourbon — A versatile duo that brings a delicious dose of Southern charm to the patio.
Cinnamon and Coffee — Bold and confident — with just the right edge of bitterness.
Red Chili Sauce and Mango —The unmistakable flavor of mango takes hot or sweet red chili sauce far beyond mere “condiment status.”

For more on these grilling trends and flavors, visit www.flavorforecast.com. Recipes and grilling tips are available at www.grillmates.com and www.lawrys.com.

For a sneak peek, here are a couple of recipes that I thought looked pretty appealing.

Applewood Grilled Shrimp and Plum Salad with Cinnamon-Honey Dressing
6 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup plum jelly
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 pound extra large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 plums, quartered
4 cups spring mix salad greens
6 slices applewood bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
½ cup fresh raspberries
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt
½ teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
For the cinnamon honey dressing, mix lemon juice, honey, sea salt and roasted cinnamon in small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Set aside.
Mix plum jelly and water in small bowl. Mix Applewood Rub and lemon peel. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush with oil. Coat with Rub mixture.
Grill shrimp skewers over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes per side or just until shrimp turn pink, brushing occasionally with plum jelly mixture. Grill plums 1 to 2 minutes or until grill marks appear, turning frequently and brushing with 2 tablespoons of the Cinnamon Honey Dressing. Cut plums into slices.
To serve, divide salad greens among 6 plates. Top each with shrimp, plums, raspberries and bacon. Serve immediately with remaining Cinnamon Honey Dressing.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional information per serving: 335 calories, 19 grams fat, 15 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 120 milligrams cholesterol, 701 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Applewood-Rubbed Ribs with Daikon-Plum Slaw
3 to 4 pounds pork baby back ribs
6 to 8 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub
½ cup plum preserves
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup plum preserves
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt from McCormick Sea Salt Grinder
1 daikon radish (1 pound), peeled, shredded and drained of excess liquid (3 cups)
½ medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced (½ cup)
½ cup shredded carrots
Pickled ginger (optional)
For the ribs, place ribs on foil-lined baking pan. Rub Applewood Rub evenly over both sides of ribs. Cover with foil. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven 1 hour or until meat starts to pull away from bones. Transfer ribs to grill. Stir plum preserves until smooth. Brush over ribs.
Grill ribs over medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes per side or until evenly browned.
For the slaw, mix vinegar, plum preserves and sea salt in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Toss radish, cucumber and carrots in large bowl. Divide evenly among 6 plates. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Garnish with pickled ginger, if desired. Serve with Applewood Ribs.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 638 calories, 38 grams fat, 40 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 148 milligrams cholesterol, 732 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.