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Paula Disbrowe would be delighted if everyone grilled on Memorial Day. The author of “Food 52 Any Night Grilling: 60 Ways to Fire Up Dinner” (Ten Speed Press, $24.99) wants readers to utilize their grills as often as possible, suggesting that a get-together around the grill can be foolproof. It doesn’t require long marinating times or low-and-slow cooking.

Outdoor Contentment

“It’s hard not to feel happy when gathering outside to grill,” she told me in a telephone conversation about Memorial Day cooking from her home in Austin, Texas. “Part of the joy is getting outdoors – the confluence of fresh air and the casual nature of the process. Smelling the aroma of the grill is part of it, too, plus interacting with the signals that they provide.”

Charcoal vs. gas-fueled grills are at the heart of the grilling conundrum. She said not to worry about it because almost every recipe in her book can be prepared with either a kettle-style charcoal grill or gas grill. She explained that she had to switch out her previous grilling rig before doing research for her book.

Old Texan Rig

“Before I dove into this book, my husband and I relied on a rustic grill that’s common in south Texas, a large, heavy round one with a hinged grate that can be raised or lowered, and swung away over or away from the fire,” she said. “It’s an object that beckons guests to gather around to swap stories and watch logs burn to ashes. But without a cover, controlling the heat is a challenge.”

She said anyone would be hard-pressed outside of the land of armadillos and drive-through beverage barns to find a similar grill.

The Menu

As part of a Memorial Day grilling menu, she offered two delectable dishes for guests to snack on, starters that say “party.”

Her Grilled Corn Nachos are a fresh and hearty combination of caramelized-on-the-grill corn and green onions, plus a just-right amount of fresh lime juice, cilantro, black beans, jack cheese and Cotija cheese. Grilled cherry tomatoes are optional. The concoction is layered over tortilla chips on a rimmed baking sheet and grilled with the lid closed just long enough to melt the Jack cheese.

Creamy Kale Toasts showcase grilled Tuscan kale (sometimes labeled lacinato kale). Grilling tames the vegetal taste of the greens, offering gentle smokiness and an appealing texture contrast as a portion of the leaves become crackly crisp. With the thick central ribs removed and finely chopped, the kale is mixed with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, goat cheese, plus a smidgen of dried red pepper flakes. The toasts and the topping can be prepared in advance, reducing the stress of last-minute prep. If you have any leftover topping, it is delicious served the next day as a sandwich filling.

For the main course, she recommended grilled New York strip steaks coated with an alluring spice rub spiked with pink peppercorns. The rose-colored peppercorns bring a flavor and aroma that she described as delicate and pleasantly floral.

To avoid overcooking the steaks, she offered a rest-it-right tip, a trick that makes a difference in the carryover heating after the meat is removed from the grill. Placing the hot side of the steak down (the last side to touch the grate) retains more heat, whereas placing the hotter side up allows the heat to diffuse more quickly. So, if you’re worried that a steak is slightly overcooked, let it rest hot side up. If you’re worried the meat is undercooked, rest it hot side down.

To round out the menu, ask guests to bring green salad and cut watermelon. Maybe a potato- or grain-based dish. Yes, and some scrumptious brownies.

Cowgirl Strip Steaks with Pink Peppercorn Crust

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Pink Peppercorn Crust

3 tablespoons pink peppercorns, plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel

1/2 teaspoon cayenne or another ground red chile

Four 8-to 10-ounce boneless New York strip steaks

Flaky salt, such as Maldon

Cook’s notes: The first and arguably most important step is to season the meat — generously — an hour in advance. It’s also important to build a two-zone fire, so you have some flexibility with the heat. You might need to move the meat (or briefly close the grill) to avoid flare-ups or to finish cooking the meat through without burning the crust.

PROCEDURE

1. Crust: Heat the peppercorns, coriander, and fennel seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the seeds occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a mortar (or you can combine them in a resealable plastic bag and roll a wine bottle over to crush). Add kosher salt, orange peel, and cayenne and coarsely grind with the pestle.

2. About an hour before grilling, remove the steaks from the fridge and coat all sides with the spice mix. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high. Carefully wipe the preheated grill grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.

4. Grill the steaks over direct heat until charred and crusty on both sides and the meat registers 120 degrees for rare, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Carryover cooking will bring the steak to 125 degrees, or medium-rare, as it rests. Transfer to a carving board.

5. Cut each steak into 1⁄2-inch (1.3cm) slices. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

Creamy Kale Toasts

Yield: makes enough for 8 toasts, with leftovers

Grilling stems of kale and other sturdy greens is a quick, easy process that dramatically transforms their taste and texture. The leaves won’t char evenly, and that’s fine — you want a mix of doneness that ranges from blackened and crackly to deep green and tender. This spread can also be made with other greens (collards, mustard, turnip) and other leftover vegetables (grilled and finely chopped fennel, celery, carrots). Don’t wash the kale unless you absolutely must — it crisps much better if the leaves are completely dry.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (50g) grated aged goat cheese (such as Cypress Grove Midnight Moon)

1 bunch Tuscan (lacinato) kale (12 ounces)

8 thick slices rustic Italian bread

1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise

Flaky salt, such as Maldon

PROCEDURE

1. Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium fire, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Carefully wipe the preheated grill grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and red pepper flakes. Season with kosher salt and pepper and then fold in the cheese.

3. Working in batches, grill the kale leaves perpendicular to the grates so they won’t fall through. Cook over direct heat until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer to a cutting board and cool slightly. Use a knife to trim the thick ribs from each leaf and then finely chop the kale leaves. Fold into the yogurt mixture.

4. Grill the bread over direct heat until lightly charred, about a minute on each side. While still warm, rub 1 side of each toast with the cut side of the garlic. Top each toast with a slather of the creamy kale and arrange the toasts on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.

Grilled Corn Nachos

Read more here: How to grill up a feast this Memorial Day