The smell of meat on the grill is unmistakable and a joy of summer.

I love to grill, and you’ll find me with tongs even when it’s freezing outside, but the act feels most natural this time of year. I love the flavor of flame-kissed meats.

Cumin is one of my favorite spices, so I made cumin chicken skewers. The recipe is easy, so it’s perfect for a novice or grilling pro. The key is the chicken needs to marinate for 12 hours or overnight. The skewers cook in less than 10 minutes, so I served mine with couscous and bagged salad and had a quick and delicious dinner on the table in no time. This is a great recipe to prep on Thursday night, and then all you have to do is grill it on Friday, after a long week.

One of my favorite smells is a burger on the grill. I made a cowboy burger, which is a classic burger with French’s fried onions, spicy pickles, barbecue sauce and bacon. You could add cheese, if desired. It’s a nice, filling burger.

And for the pork lover, try grilled pork chops topped with pineapple mango salsa. The salsa is so light and refreshing. This is the best option on a hot day.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and grilling season.


Cumin chicken kebabs

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Red onion slices

Bell pepper (optional)

Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a plastic bag or container. Cover with olive oil and toss to coat. Stir together all the spices and then pour over the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate 12 to 24 hours.

Slice up an onion and bell pepper and cut into 1-inch cubes or a little larger. Skewer chicken and vegetables.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Place skewers on the grill and grill 4 minutes on the first side, with the lid down. Flip and cook 3 minutes on the second side. Grills vary so the meat may need another minute. If the skewers are not all done, you can move the ones that are done on the top rack.

Serve over couscous or rice.


Cowboy burger

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided in half

Barbecue sauce

French’s fried onions

Spicy pickles

6 slices of cooked bacon

3 buns

Mix ground beef together with Worcestershire sauce, pepper and half the salt. Form into 3 patties. Sprinkle the remaining salt on exterior of each burger.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees. When it’s hot, add the burgers. Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes per side for a well done burger. If you like pink in the middle, cook 4 minutes per side. Grill buns, if desired.

Place a burger in each bun. Top each burger with bacon, spicy pickles, barbecue sauce and a pile of French’s fried onions. Serve immediately.


Grilled pork chops with pineapple mango salsa

3 (1/2-inch-thick) bone-in center cut pork chops


2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the salsa, see below)

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger or ginger pasta in a tube

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Mix together the marinade and place pork chops and marinade in a sealable bag and marinate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Make the salsa while the meat marinates.

Pineapple mango salsa:

7 ounces refrigerated mango chunks, with 1 tablespoon reserved liquid

8 ounces canned pineapple chunks (reserve the liquid for the marinade)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of liquid from the mangoes. Add the 1 tablespoon liquid and mango into a bowl. Drain the pineapple liquid and reserve it for the marinade.

Add remaining salsa ingredients to a bowl, stir to combine and refrigerate until time to use.

Heat the grill over medium-high heat.

Grill 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes per side, depending on thickness. My pork chops were a little less than half an inch thick and were done in eight minutes flat.

Juliana Goodwin is author of “Rotisserie Chicken Queen: 50 Fabulous Recipes That Start with Rotisserie Chicken.” If you have a question concerning a recipe, email Please put “recipe” in the subject line.