The 4th of July comes with a pretty standard menu in most American households: burgers, hot dogs, maybe a rack of ribs or some bone-in steaks if someone’s feeling ambitious.
It’s all a bit tired, and more importantly, it doesn’t feel very … American. Why? Because the very notion of American cuisine — just like the very notion of American identity writ large — is something that should be informed by the diverse panoply of cultures and traditions that call this country home.
So we reached out to four standout NYC chefs from four very different backgrounds to ask them what their families like to throw on the grill come summer. From a French-Indonesian household’s BBQ chicken recipe to the Korean ribs you’ve always been nervous to attempt at home, these recipes will bring a welcome breath of fresh air to your cookouts this weekend and beyond.
It is called Independence Day, after all. Try something different for a change.
Chef Cédric Vongerichten’s Grilled Chicken Lombok
Growing up the son of famed chef Jean-Georges presented Vongerichten with a tough act to follow, but luckily he has managed to forge a path of his own with Wayan — a well-loved fine dining Indonesian spot in Nolita.
Wayan translates to “first-born” in Balinese, a fitting name, where Vongerichten crafts dishes that both represent Indonesian and French culinary styles. One of the chef’s personal favorites is Grilled Chicken Lombok, the recipe for which he’s graciously agreed to share with us at InsideHook.
“Grilled Chicken Lombok (traditional name is Ayam Bakar Taliwang) is a new recipe I developed for the summer, which has quickly become my favorite thing to make on the grill/BBQ. In short, this is an Indonesian version of the traditional BBQ chicken — a culinary classic and iconic dish from the region of Lombok, also one of my wife, Ochi’s, favorite childhood foods from her childhood in Indonesia,” says Vongerichten. “I love the simplicity of this dish and its depth of flavor, perfect summer meal with a side of fresh sweet corn or any in-season vegetable of your liking.”
For the Kombu Brine:
4 qts water
½ cup sugar
½ cup salt
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
A piece of kombu (dried kelp)
Few leaves of makrut limes
Combine all ingredients in a large container.
For the Lombok Marinade:
½ cup Long red chili fingers, with seeds
¼ cup Shallots, peeled
3 Tbsp Garlic, peeled
2 cup Tomatoes, ripe
2 Tbsp Palm Sugar
4 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Salt
4 Tbsp Coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until it has a slightly chunky consistency.
1. Place a deboned or halved chicken in the Kombu Brine for 6 hours — this helps to season the meat and keep it juicy.
2. After 6 hours, pull the chicken out from the brine and let it sit for 1 hour in the Lombok Marinade. Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat, preferably using charcoal or wood for a better flavor.
3. Once the grill is hot, place chicken skin-side down and brush with the leftover marinade. Once the skin is golden brown and lightly charred, flip the chicken and continue cooking. Grill until the chicken is fully cooked — about 15 mins for breasts and 20-25 mins for legs and thighs.
4. Finish with a squeeze of lime, crispy shallots and garlic chips — enjoy!
Chef David Shim’s Galbi (Korean-Style Ribs)
When most people think of a high quality steakhouse in New York City, their minds might not immediately land on the concept of Korean cuisine. Chef David Shim is on a mission to change that with COTE, the city’s first Korean steakhouse, located in the Flatiron District. There, smokeless grills help create Shim’s delicious signature dishes, like a Korean classic called Galbi, or marinated short ribs.
“Most may think of a huge T-bone, thick Ribeye or whole brisket when thinking of grilling or barbecue,” says Shim. “As much as I love these cuts, Galbi is the perfect grilling steak, and it’s a Korean classic. The addictive savory sweet smell and the caramelized bits are a source of bragging rights in any setting. It requires a bit of knife work (which you will need to practice to perfect) as well as some time to marinate, but once you get it right, you will be a star of the party.”
2 lbs short rib
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups dashi or water
1 cup mirin
1 cup sugar
1 Korean pear (Bosc is a nice substitute)
1/2 medium onion
5-7 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 thumb nail-sized piece of ginger
1/3 cup sesame oil
1. Mix the soy, water, mirin and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
2. Blend the pear, onion, garlic and ginger as fine as you can in a blender. Pour this purée over the meat and make sure the mix is well incorporated. Let this sit for about 30 minutes.
3. Pour the wet marinade over the meat and puree. Massage the meat to get it well incorporated. Let the beef sit for at least 3-4 hrs. It’s best to make this the night before or early in the morning of the day you plan to serve.
4. Just before you’re ready to grill, pour over the sesame oil and mix well.
5. Heat the grill or lightly oiled cast iron pan to high heat to get it hot, then lower the flame to medium high (the marinade will burn if cooked too high). Add the short rib and cook about 3-4 minutes on each side until it gets nicely caramelized.
6. If using cast iron, remove the meat and add one onion sliced and 1 bunch of scallions cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces to the pan. Saute the vegetables and add a bit of water to deglaze. Serve.
Miss Lily’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Miss Lily’s, the beloved Caribbean restaurant known for its vibrant Jamaican menu and fun island atmosphere, has two locations in NYC: one in the East Village and another in Soho.
Kahari Woolcock is the new chef de cuisine, serving up classic Jamaican fare like Miss Lily’s world-famous Jerk Chicken. The chicken is brined for three days, marinated to perfection with their signature jerk sauce, then given a nice grilled char. Make at home with the recipe below, or simplify the whole process by springing for Miss Lily’s Jamaica in a Box kit, which includes everything you need to make the Jerk Chicken, along with mango chutney, cucumber escovitch, rice and peas, jerk corn, and old-fashioned banana pudding — available on Goldbelly.
Start with one whole chicken split in half backbone removed.
4 bunches green onions
2 medium yellow onion
6 cloves garlic
10 each yellow scotch bonnet
6 sprigs fresh thyme
15 whole allspice berries
4 Tbsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp Brown sugar
500 grams jerk marinade (recipe above)
100 grams tomato paste
80 grams scotch bonnet minced
150 grams brown sugar
400 grams water
5 grams allspice powder
15 grams fresh thyme, chopped
For Jerk Marinade
Put all ingredients in a food processor and turn on until smooth paste is formed and reserve.
For Jerk Sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive heavy-bottom pot and cook over low heat until the mixture reaches a thick, saucy consistency (similar to ketchup). Place contents in blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Cool and store in refrigerator for up to one week. Adjust by adding water if too thick, and simmer down if too thin.
2. Place split chicken in marinade for 24-48 hours.
3. Pre-heat grill to medium heat and allow wood/charcoal to burn to ember coals.
4. Place chicken skin side up over low-medium heat and cover … let cook for 10-15 minutes making sure no fire kicks up and move gently if needed before allowing to burn. If too hot, move chicken to cooler part of grill.
5. Flip the chicken and char the skin until desired char is achieved. Flip once again, then start to baste with jerk sauce. Keep this up for about 20 minutes.
6. Keep cooking and basting until the internal temp is 165 F. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Chef Christine Lau’s Grilled Carrots, Sesame Sauce, Chili Oil and Cilantro
Brought to life by the same team as Wayla, Kimika has been stunning diners since it first opened in Soho. There, an all-female kitchen team led by chef Christine Lau creates a masterful mix of dishes that show off the flavors of both Japanese and Italian cuisine. Lau also shows with this flavorful vegetarian dish that good grilling doesn’t just mean steaks and burgers.
2 lb carrots
4 oz tahini
1.25 oz soy sauce
0.75 oz mirin
1 oz sake
1 oz sugar
1 oz rice wine vinegar
1 – 2 oz water
2 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 oz lemon juice
2 oz cilantro, chopped fine
2 oz chili oil, pick your favorite
TIP: Currently we are using baby carrots at Kimika as that’s what we are finding at the Greenmarket. If you cannot find them, not to worry, use full size carrots. It’s best to grill them whole then cut them into smaller pieces, that way you don’t have to worry about chasing after little pieces falling through the grates.
The sesame sauce can be done ahead of time.
1. Place the sake in a small pot and add sugar. Heat the sake just until the sugar is dissolved. In a blender or using an immersion blender, mix all ingredients together except the water and blend.
2. Add enough water to the sauce so the consistency is similar to honey. Set aside or refrigerate if making ahead of time. The amount of water we are adding varies because the consistency of tahini varies so much across brands.
3. Toss the carrots in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the carrots on the hottest part of the grill. Make sure to get a nice char on all sides of carrots. We want to cook the carrots completely on the grill so if the char is getting too much, move them to a cooler portion of the grill.
4. Test to see if the carrots are done by using a cake tester, toothpick or small paring knife. We know the carrots are done when you can puncture the carrot without any hard resistance.
5. In a bowl, place the sesame sauce and half the lemon juice. Whisk the two together. Once the carrots are done, place them in a bowl and toss them with the sesame sauce. Make sure all the carrots are coated evenly.
6. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed: maybe add salt and/or add more lemon juice. Place the carrots on a plate. Drizzle the carrots with chili oil and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
This article was featured in the InsideHook NY newsletter. Sign up now for more from all five boroughs.