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Rev Up Your Grilled Sandwiches, Seafood, And Steak With These Surefire Flavor Combinations

Summer is all about grilling. And more often than not, it’s pork or chicken barbecue, and seafood that goes on the grill. Grilling imparts maximum flavor and enticing aromas, yet preparation is minimal. It is also one of the healthiest ways to prepare your food, with less or even zero fat used and with the excess dripped off. Before you try the grill recipes below, take note of the following tips to guarantee a flavorful outcome.


Temperature is key. Make sure the food you’re about to grill is at room temperature so that it can cook evenly. Always have your grill surface fiery hot so you can create a beautiful sear and caramelize the food well.

Fat is good. Choose meat cuts and seafood that are rich in fat and are still attached to the bones. The fat provides a lot of flavor plus leaves your meat tender and juicy. The bone also helps control the high heat and protects the meat from drying out. Collagen from the bones also imparts a nice flavor.

Stay away from sweet. Avoid adding too much sugar and any sweet ingredients since these will burn your food surface easily. If needed, brush any sugar-laden ingredient when the food is 3/4 done.


Blueberry and Brie Sandwich Filling

This cheese-jam pairing is a winner, no matter the kind of cheese or jam. Try kesong puti or fresh mozzarella cheese instead of Brie. And experiment with other jams like strawberry, raspberry, and mango jam. And for a healthier alternative, use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 1/2-inch thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1/2 cup blueberry jam
  • 250 grams Brie cheese, sliced
  • spring onions, sliced, for garnish, optional

1. Spread butter evenly on both sides of each slice of bread. Put half the cheese on one slice and half on another. Top each with remaining bread slices. 

2. Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches to grill pan and cook, flipping once with a metal spatula, until golden brown and crusty on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes. 

3. Transfer sandwiches to a cutting board and slice in half with a knife. Serve warm.


Orange Teriyaki Sauce with Grilled Salmon

Fish tends to stick to the grill grate when grilling or to the casserole when baking it. When grilling, make sure to oil the grill surface to prevent sticking and charring too fast. Another great fix to the problem is non-stick aluminum foil designed to ensure that meat or seafood never sticks to the pan. Just place a piece of foil directly on the grill or baking dish, with the specially coated dull side in contact with the food.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar 
  • 1 cup mirin 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • juice and zest of fresh orange 
  • 2 200-gram salmon fillets, or any firm fish like seabass or tuna
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring brown sugar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame seeds, orange juice and zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

2. Prepare barbecue on medium-high heat. Brush the grill rack with oil. Place non-stick aluminum foil on the grill to prevent salmon from sticking.

3. Brush salmon with orange teriyaki glaze and grill. Brush salmon with the glaze every 30 seconds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Aside from grilling, you can also bake or broil salmon together with teriyaki sauce.

4. Serve salmon with mango-cucumber salsa (recipe below).



  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, diced 
  • 1 medium sized cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded green chili 
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Combine first 7 ingredients of the salsa in small bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as a side dish with grilled salmon.


Cuban Spice Rub with Rib-eye Steak

A spice rub gives an instant boost of flavor to any meat, whether it’s ribeye steak, chicken, or pork belly. If you don’t have time to make a rub from scratch, just use ready-made taco seasoning instead.

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne 
  • 4 rib-eye steaks (about 1 kilo in total), sliced 1 1/2-inches thick
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. To make the spice rub, mix together all the spices in a small bowl.

2. Let steaks stand at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.

3. Prepare grill for 2-zone heat. For a charcoal grill, place coals on 1 side of grill. For a gas grill, leave 1 or 2 burners off.

4. Rub steaks with olive oil and season with the spice rub. Cook steaks over direct heat, moving to a cooler area if flare-up occurs, until charred, about 4 minutes per side. 

5. Using tongs, hold steaks vertically to sear edges (bone side and fat-cap side) and render some fat, about 2 minutes per side. Grill steaks over indirect heat, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 125°C (?) for medium rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. (Keep charcoal grill hot.)

6. Serve steaks with Chimichurri Sauce (recipe below).



  • 1 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3/4 packed cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 packed cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 green chili, stemmed
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

In a food processor, combine parsley, cilantro, oregano, vinegar, garlic, chili, salt and pepper. While pulsing the food processor, drizzle in 1/2 cup of the oil until the mixture becomes a creamy yet slightly coarse sauce. Transfer the chimichurri sauce to a bowl and set aside. Serve with Cuban ribeye steaks.



This article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 1 2016
Photography by Justin de Jesus
Styling by Tina Concepcion-Diaz