The Barbecue


A couple of weekends ago we barbecued with our friend Katie in the suburbs (well, technically the outskirts of the city). This might not seem newsworthy to you, but for apartment dwellers without access to a grill it was a very special and eagerly anticipated event—the opportunity to perform an important ritual of summer and try out a couple of the grill recipes I have been collecting. I am still kind of amazed that we are now people who grill-out, not just the children of people who grill. It seems so adult. I guess we are also buying houses, having babies and opening our own businesses- so maybe grilling shouldn’t be such a surprise.


The day started off with rain and grey skies, but as we pulled into her driveway the clouds parted and we were awarded the perfect summer day—hot in the sun, cool in the shade with blue skies and big fluffy clouds. It was a BBQ miracle and the perfect early summer evening.


Bryan was in charge of the grill although it turns out I am pretty aggressive with the lighter fluid and so with a little teamwork our charcoals were glowing and eventually our grill was ready to go.  He monitored the fire and acted as grill-master while Katie and I prepared the food. And oh what food!

Our main course was chicken kebabs marinated in a yogurt herb sauce and accompanied by slices of potatoes which were first cooked in vinegar and then grilled and sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper. The grilling equivalent of salt and sour chips.


The kebabs were delicious. The marinade rendered the chicken moist and flavorful. The potatoes were a real revelation- they were amazing! Such a simple idea that I had never even imagined doing. Salt and Vinegar chips are one of my favorite things and I was happy to have a less fried version that is so simple to make. The potatoes were so good that I am anxious to try to accomplish the same thing at home without the use of charcoal and lighter fluid. (oven roasted?) It was such a good meal and such a pleasure to eat outside with loved ones and look forward to the summer that lies ahead of us.

And that isn’t all. Stay tuned for the stellar cucumber soup we made and the cake that closed out our meal!


Grilled Vinegar Potatoes (adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine)

  • 1 pound potatoes (your favorite- I used Yukon Gold) cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Bring potatoes and vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan (vinegar should cover potatoes). Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer potatoes until just fork tender, about 5-10 minutes. Let potatoes cool in vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, and gently toss with oil, salt, and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill potatoes in a single layer until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Watch carefully so they don’t burn too much. Sprinkle with salt before serving.


Chicken Kebabs (Cook’s Illustrated)

  • 3/4 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 large red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Whisk yogurt, 6 tablespoons oil, 4 teaspoons garlic, thyme, oregano, salt pepper and cayenne in a large bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours. Whisk remaining oil, garlic, basil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while the chicken is marinating.

Remove chicken from yogurt marinade and discard marinade. Thread each skewer with chicken, red pepper and onion alternating. Set aside.

Grill over medium-high grill turning one quarter turn every couple of minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Transfer to serving platter and brush with garlic-basil oil. Serve hot.

22 comments to “The Barbecue”

  1. Man oh man those potatoes sound brilliant. I have a weakness for salt and vinegar Lays (as in I can’t keep a bag for more than a few days so I have to stop buying them).

    I decided that my balcony is better served by an herb container garden than a grill but I really do miss a good summer BBQ. Your’s looked FANTASTIC.

    Hooray for summer!!! (finally)

  2. THose are some good lookin’ kabobs, and I’m so interested in the idea of boiling the potatoes in vinegar. I’m going to ask my grill man to give that a try.

  3. those potatoes look amazing! and so simple!

  4. Dawn in CA says:

    June 24th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I am definitely going to try those potatoes this weekend. Just the thought of them is making me drool. But… Tim. Oh, Tim. Lighter fluid? Seriously? (Shakes head and makes little clucking noises.) I implore you, please don’t ever use that stuff again. Instead, get yourself the most wondrous of BBQ tools – the charcoal chimney starter. Under 20 bucks. Amazing. The best money you’ll ever spend for outdoor grilling. You can thank me by inviting me to your next BBQ party. ;)

  5. Oh, Dawn, I know. I felt bad about the lighter fluid but since we have no grill or outdoor space it didn’t seem worth buying a chimney for a one-time bbq. Please forgive me!

  6. Oh the grill! This is what we’ll be doing over the weekend. Why is it that a grill party can incite such joy in the heart? We’d love to try those potatoes.

  7. Vinegared potatoes? Oh man, I’m trying that soon! They sound amazing.

  8. Those grilled potatoes sound perfect! Definitely on the menu for July 4 backyard cook-out.

  9. I am definitely one of those unlucky city dwellers without outdoor space for grilling. But its so nice to have friends and family who do, it’s definitely the best part of summer! The potatoes and kebabs look so delicious!

  10. Hmm…maybe the potatoes would work on a grill pan? They look delicious, but I’m grill-less.

  11. Mmmm. Those “potato chips” look divine! Looking forward to giving them a try!

  12. oh i know how you feel about grilling! i miss it so much! those potatoes look tasty!

  13. Just made this last night – the chicken was delicious and amazingly tender. Marinating for a long time really made the difference. I messed up on the potatoes and some of them were cooked too much and some not enough (and some fell into the coals). But the 50% I was able to salvage was delicious!

  14. Glad to hear you liked the recipes!

  15. Heather J says:

    July 1st, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Okay, the food looks great. But can I say, the camera work with the spoon reflection is nothing less than brilliant. A true artist, you are, Tim. But you already knew that.

  16. these types of potatoes are super easy to make in the oven — no boiling necessary! i thin slice a baking potato, brush both sides with olive oil, season with sea salt and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 425 degree oven. let them bake until the tops turn golden brown, then flip and turn the broiler on for extra crispiness. i put a little more salt and toss with fresh chives. soo much better than potato chips!

    sorry to be late on this, but i just discovered your blog from design sponge and it’s wonderful! i can’t wait to try using the vinegar, mm.

  17. this picture makes me happy. All the grill marks on the kebabs, perfection!

  18. Before commenting on the recipe, I must say that your site is very impressive ! Now for the Chicken kebabs, they definitely seem to be delicious. I am always on a lookout for simple marinades for BBQing and this is just one of the kind. Will definitely try it out.

  19. Hi,
    First, I love your blog. Longtime reader, first-time commenter — because I finally made these potatoes (inside)! And while they were delish, they were almost too vinegary, which I attribute to maybe soaking too long in the vinegar after boiling. But they’re totally doable; I grilled them on my two-burner stovetop grill. I think next time, I’ll soak for less time and maybe add some water to the vinegar when I boil them.

    Thanks for the great idea!

  20. Hey Jennifer, thanks for the nice message and for the update. We were recently wondering about this, so I am glad you gave it a try. Thanks for the advice, I love vinegar more than the average person (I gladly will drink some) and so it makes sense that you want to be careful with the flavoring here. Keep us posted if you try again!

  21. Just found your blog last night (through a posting on Pinterest) and served this dish tonight and loved it! The chicken was oh so moist and very delicious. The spuds brought sweat to my cheeks which was fine by me but my guests would prefer less vinegar. Will do half vinegar and half water next time. I also cooked the potatoes on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes per side as the bbq was filled with kebobs. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. You have a great blog! Thanks for the recipes.

  22. It looks delicious! I will definitely try this one. Thanks…

What do you think?