If you were lucky, there might be a toothsome potato salad, a crunchy bean salad, thick slices of sun-warmed beefsteak tomatoes or some charred ears of ripe corn bursting with flavor. At worst, you could usually find a bowl of canned sauerkraut or perhaps some rapidly dehydrating crudités.
While meat still reigns supreme on grill grates across the country, you’re now also likely to find fillets of fish and chicken breasts cooking on the Weber. And that’s not to mention a range of new barbecue delicacies, including grilled fruits and even sweet desserts.
One of the grill masters responsible for this key menu change is Steven Raichlen. His dozens of books have made Americans take barbecue seriously and go beyond just cooking hamburgers and hot dogs.
In his new book, Project Fire, he even includes an irresistible recipe for Salt Slab Chocolate Brownie S’mores. Yes, such, a thing actually exists! “I give you the richest, awesomest, most decadently chocolaty s’more of all,” he writes in his book. “You start not with graham crackers, but with your favorite chocolate brownie.”
While the dish is fairly standard his twist comes in the preparation. “You smoke-roast the s’mores on a fire-heated salt slab, salt being the secret ingredient used by so many pastry chefs these days to bring out a dessert’s sweetness, while paradoxically, not making it taste sugary.”
You just may cook every one of your summer meals on the grill!
- 6 Excellent chocolate brownies (each about 3 by 4 inches)
- 6 Fresh mint leaves, rolled and thinly slivered, or 2 tablespoons crème de menthe liqueur (optional)
- 6 Squares (each about 2 by 3 inches) super-premium chocolate bar
- 6 Rectangular marshmallows (each about 2 by 3 inches) or conventional marshmallows, cut in half lengthwise
- Flaky salt, preferably Maldon, for serving (optional)
- 1 cup Unsoaked wood chips.
- Brush or scrape the grill grate clean; there’s no need to oil it. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat slowly to medium-high. Gradually heat the salt slab at the same time.
- Lay the slivered mint leaves atop the brownies or sprinkle the brownies with crème de menthe, if using. Lay a square of chocolate on top, and top with a marshmallow.
- Arrange the marshmallow-topped brownies on the hot salt slab. Add the wood chips to the coals or to your grill’s smoker box and lower the lid. Smoke-roast the s’more brownies until the marshmallows are sizzling and browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plates or bowls or serve them right off the salt slab, sprinkled with flaky salt, if using.
Warning: Do not make this recipe in cold weather. Hot salt slabs have been known to crack or explode when exposed to cold air.
Excerpted from Project Fire: Cutting-Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes from the Caveman Porterhouse to Salt Slab Brownie S’Mores by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Matthew Benson.