You’ve been working extra-long hours since receiving a dream promotion. You recently started dating and it’s consuming almost all of your free time. You haven’t got a free moment to yourself and feel like you’re losing your mind.

Finally, the weekend has arrived and you have no set plans. March Madness is happening and baseball season is rapidly approaching. You know what that means, right? Grilling season has officially begun, so round up your best buddies for a “Guys’ Night Out”!

This should be easy breezy; all you need are a few pounds of meat, seafood, veggies and condiments, along with tubs of ice cold beer and a few cigars. Plus the weather has broken, providing a mixture of sunshine with gusts of crisp spring air, making it perfect for grilling, and everyone can hang outside, clearing up the traffic flow of the house.

Grilling to a man is equivalent to baking for his female counterpart. It is almost second nature, in a sense. The grill is the ultimate symbol of masculine cooking. Eons ago, man tamed fire, and if you supply him with an industrial-sized grill, charcoal, lighter fluid or gas, he will produce his greatest creation yet.

He is armed with a stainless steel pair of tongs, spatula and platter. Now all he needs is to approach his prey quietly and carefully before going in for the kill. I am talking about flame-broiled steaks, juicy seasoned shrimp, succulent chicken breasts, smoked racks of ribs and so much more.

The good thing about all of this is that grilling is considered one of the healthiest ways to cook; the food should be extra spicy, and you will receive rave reviews as King of the Fire. So don’t hold back anything. If seasoned properly, the meat should hold up to almost any degree of heat that it encounters. Think of it as the modern-day man’s answer to urban tailgating. Remember the following when entertaining:

1. Always keep it simple! Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Less is more; just the essentials needed to satisfy a manly appetite: beef, beef and more beef.
2. Marinate! Build flavor! Ketchup will not suffice in this situation. A bold flavor is needed to stand up to the heat of the grill. Create flavored dipping sauces to accompany your choices of meat.
3. Divide the responsibilities and costs; delegate someone to pick up the alcohol, another condiments, party favors, sides, etc. Don’t break the bank trying to impress your buddies.
4. Need pay-per-view! Make sure all the party favors are provided to keep everyone happily entertained.
5. Make sure everyone is happy and full. Enjoy the fellowship. Enjoy the freedom. Make it a point to book the next event while everyone is together.

Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro
2 lb shrimp, peeled or unpeeled

Cilantro Salsa
1 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
1 Tbsp peeled and roughly chopped ginger
1 habanero or jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped, or dried red-pepper flakes to taste
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil, (or corn or canola oil)
Fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper to taste

Grilling instructions
1. Make the Cilantro Salsa. Start a charcoal or gas fire (don’t make it too hot), and position the grill rack at least 4 inches from the heat source.

2. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until the shells are too hot to touch or the flesh turns bright pink and browns a bit. Serve immediately with the salsa.

Salsa instructions
1. Combine the cilantro in a blender with the garlic, ginger, hot pepper, and oil. Puree until smooth, adding more oil if necessary and stopping the machine to scrape down the sides as needed.

2. emove to a bowl, add some salt and pepper, and thin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve; or cover and refrigerate for up to a day. (Bring back to room temperature before serving.) Makes about 1 cup

Grilled Chicken with Sesame
3-4 lb chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat
1/4 c sesame seeds
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp sugar or mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped scallions, for garnish

1. Toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently until they color slightly. Grind half of the seeds to a powder and set the other half aside. Combine this powder in a large bowl with the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, oil, sugar or mirin, salt, pepper, and about 1/4 cup of water.

2. Make a couple of deep slashes on the skin side of each piece of chicken, and add the chicken to the marinade. Let it rest while you prepare the grill, or refrigerate up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

3. Start a charcoal or gas grill. The fire should be only moderately hot, with the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Grill the chicken carefully — this mixture will burn easily — starting at the cooler part of the fire and, as the chicken’s fat drips less, moving to a hotter part. Turn the pieces as necessary to brown them. The chicken is done when it’s lightly charred, firm, and springy to the touch.

4. Serve the chicken hot or at room temperature, garnished with scallions and the reserved sesame seeds.

Chili-Lime Grilled Corn
8 ears fresh sweet corn
3 Tbsp butter
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 Tbsp high-quality chili powder, plus more to taste (see note)

1. The grill should be moderately hot and the rack no more than 4 inches from the heat source. Peel back (but don’t remove) the husks of the corn and remove the inner silk. Smooth the husks back into place.
2. When the grill is ready, cook the corn, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes. As the ears start to brown, remove the husks. Coat the corn with the butter and return to the grill, turning occasionally, until the ears are nicely browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.

3. Squeeze lime juice on the corn, sprinkle with chili powder, and serve immediately.

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Bay Leaves

1 1/2-2 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 11/2 inch pieces
1 lb zucchini, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Lots of bay leaves, preferably fresh

1. Start a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be only moderately hot and the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.

2. Combine the oil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss the meat and zucchini in the oil mixture to coat. When you’re ready to cook, skewer pieces of meat alternately with bay leaves. If the leaves break, just jam them between pieces of meat.

3. Grill the meat for about 2 to 5 minutes a side, depending on the heat of the fire and your desired degree of doneness. Remove and serve.

All recipes courtesy of

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