Inside-Out Grilled Cheese Steak

I originally thought about putting the grilled steak inside the grilled cheese sandwich, but as I was making this recipe I had second thoughts and felt the need to switch it up. This version is easier to eat with a knife and fork but fun to prepare since I use a grilling stone. Serves 6

What You Need: Grilling stone

  • 1 cup (250 mL) Emmental or Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Edam cheese, shredded
  • 1 bakery fresh demi baguette, about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) in length
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 filet mignon (approx. 6 oz/170 g each), cut about 1½ inches (4 cm) thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine Emmental and Edam cheeses. Set aside.

Slice the baguette into 12 rounds about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place 6 slices of bread butter side down. Sprinkle each with 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) of the mixed cheese. Top with a slice of bread, butter side up. Repeat for remaining sandwiches and set aside.

Fire up your grill to 350-450°F (180-230°C).

Place your grilling stone directly over your fire source. The stone should sizzle when you drop a little knob of butter onto it. Be careful not to overheat the stone because, as even a heat as it is, it can still burn your food. Open grill lid and drop a teaspoon (5 mL) of butter onto the hot stone. As it melts and sizzles, add the red onion and shallot and sauté on the stone. Using a pair of tongs, spread the onions into an even layer. Let the onions sizzle for a few minutes, then give them a stir with the tongs. Turn them about so they start to brown on all sides. Set onions aside in a small bowl or a corner of the stone. Keep warm.

Season all sides of the filet mignons with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Stone grill the sandwiches for 2-3 minutes per side, turning frequently to prevent burning, until the bread is golden brown and crisp and the cheese is melted.

At the same time as you are grilling the cheese sandwiches, drop another teaspoon (5 mL) of butter onto the hot stone and place seasoned steaks onto the bubbling butter. Stone fry the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. Remove steaks from grill stone and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Remove grilled cheese from grill. Thinly slice each steak into four, on the bias. Place two slices of steak atop the grilled cheese. Garnish with caramelized red onions and fresh thyme. Serve immediately.


Grilled Shrimp Taco with Mango Salsa and Queso Fresco

This recipe reminds me of a shack on a hot sandy beach in Mexico. Having fun, drinking a few cerveza and kicking back and relaxing. Mmmm, shrimp taco! Makes 8

What You Need: Potato masher; Tequila plus shot glasses; Three 20 cm bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for at minimum of 1 hour.

Mango Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 fresh green serrano or a jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) red onion, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1 lime
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1½ lb (675 g) big shrimp (approx. 10-12 pieces per pound)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) sea salt
  • Drizzle of tequila (100% agave)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 juicy lime
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup (125 mL) seedless small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cilantro leaves, picked from the stem
  • 2 cups (500 mL) iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 12 flour or corn tortillas, 5 to 6 inches (12 to 15 cm) in diameter
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup (125 mL) crumbled queso fresco
  • 8 wedges lime

To prepare the Mango Salsa, peel the mango. Cut the mango flesh from the pit and coarsely chop. Take a potato masher and mash the mango. This is to extract all the sweet flavor for the salsa. Add the Serrano chile, red onion and green onion. Squeeze over a little fresh lime juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Drizzle with a little avocado oil. Mix and set aside.

To prepare the shrimp, peel the shrimp by taking the entire shell off them and discard the shells or save them for stock. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and drain. Add sea salt and mix about to coat all of the shrimp. Let stand, refrigerated, for about 5 minutes. This will help increase the flavor of the shrimp, especially when using frozen shrimp.

Rinse shrimp to remove excess salt and pat dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, cut each shrimp in half lengthwise through the middle. Pick the black vein bits out from the flesh. Rinse under cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels again. It is a lot easier to work with partially dry rather than sloppy wet shrimp - also safer when working with knives. Skewer the shrimp halves onto a couple of bamboo skewers, about 10 to 12 pieces per skewer. Don't put the shrimp onto the skewer facing the same way. Change it up and put them any way you like. It looks pretty funky once the shrimp are grilled!

Place shrimp skewers in a dish large enough to hold them in an even layer. Drizzle them heavily with tequila and a little olive oil. Zest a lime and add to the dish, then juice the lime over the skewers. Season with a little black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix it around and let it marinate, refrigerated, for about 20 minutes.

In a bowl combine, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and iceberg lettuce. Refrigerate until needed. Don't make this too far ahead, as you want it to be crisp and green.

Fire up your grill to 450-550°F (230-290°C).

Remove the shrimp from the tequila lime marinade, reserving marinade for basting. Grill shrimp skewers for about 6-8 minutes, turning frequently and basting with marinade. Watch for flare-ups when basting as there is tequila in that marinade. Grill until the shrimp are just cooked through and opaque. On a hot grill, this will not take too long.

Warm the tortillas on the hot grill. Remove shrimp from grill and remove the skewers. Put hot shrimp into a large bowl. Add a dash or two of hot sauce (if using) and then sprinkle the queso fresco over the hot shrimp. Toss.

Cut a warm tortilla in your hand. Sprinkle in the lettuce and cucumber salad. Add a few grilled shrimp and a spoonful of Mango Salsa. Squeeze in some lime juice. Wrap and enjoy with a shot of tequila


Grilled Mojo Chicken

I love grilling Cuban style with spiced rum, citrus, garlic and oregano. The key to full flavor is the marinating, firing it over hot coals and basting it with Mojo. It's like living in the islands. Simple and tasty! Serves 2 to 4

What You Need: Kitchen shears

Mojo Marinade

  • 6 juicy oranges, approx. 2 cups (500 mL) juice
  • 1 juicy lemon, approx. ½ cup (125 mL) juice
  • 4 juicy limes, approx. ½ cup (125 mL) juice
  • 24 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) spiced rum
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) freshly ground
  • black pepper
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) honey
  • 1 whole chicken (approx. 4 lb/18 g)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Zest and juice the oranges, lemon and limes into a large bowl. Throw in the juiced fruit rinds too. It's all flavor! Add the garlic, spiced rum, oregano, salt, cumin and black pepper. Add a pinch of cinnamon and mix. Divide the mixture into two equal parts. Set aside.

Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the chicken in half and remove the backbone. Place the two halves into a large self-sealing bag. Pour in half of the marinade and seal bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally to marinate evenly.

Fire up your grill to 350-450°F (180-230°C). Set grill for both direct and indirect grilling.

Take the other half of the marinade and add the honey, whisk and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding leftover marinade. Pat chicken halves dry with paper towels. Season chickens with a little salt and black pepper. Place the chicken halves onto the grill, cavity side down, and grill for 15-18 minutes, lid open; watch it grill nice and easy. Not too hot. No basting yet. Flip chicken halves over onto the
skin side and continue grilling for 10-15 minutes longer, basting liberally with the Mojo Marinade. Baste away and watch the sizzle. Enjoy the smell of sweetness from the grill. This is the fun part of cooking. When the chicken is fully cooked, internal temperature of 160°F (70°C) and the skin is sticky and crisp, remove from grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Portion and serve immedia


Bananas on Toast

Serves 2 to 4

What You Need: Injection syringe

  • 2 cups (500 mL) Devil's Cut by Jim Beam
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) honey
  • 2 slices double-smoked thick-cut bacon
  • ½ cup (125 mL) condensed milk
  • 4 ripe bananas, unpeeled
  • 4 to 8 slices raisin bread
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh sage

Pour the bourbon into a canning jar. Split vanilla bean in two and scrape out the seeds, cut the pod into 1-inch (2.5 cm) sections and add both the seeds and the pod into the bourbon. Add in the honey and seal jar. Give it a shake to dissolve the honey in the bourbon. Set aside to infuse for 24 hours.

Cut the bacon into ½-inch (1 cm) thick lardons, or strips, across the width of the bacon. In a pan, fry the bacon lardons over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and drain. Pat with paper towels to remove excess bacon grease. Place bacon in small bowl. Spoon over the condensed milk and drizzle with a little vanilla-infused bourbon. Stir to combine and keep warm.

Fire up your grill to 450-550°F (230-290°C).

Suck up the bourbon mixture into an injection syringe. Set aside.

Grill the bananas for 5-8 minutes per side, until the banana skin is darkened and begins to split. The flesh of the banana should be warm and soft . Inject each banana with a little squirt of infused bourbon. Be careful, as the bourbon will more than likely ignite as it drips out of the banana.

At the same time as you are grilling the bananas, grill the raisin bread until golden brown and crisp.

Remove bananas from grill and carefully open the peel to expose the hot tender banana. Spread the warm grill-roasted banana over the raisin toast. Drizzle with crispy bacon condensed milk. Garnish with a little fresh chopped sage. Serve immediately.


About Ted Reader

An award-winning chef and food entertainer, who's parlayed his passion for food into a culinary tour de force that includes more than a dozen cookbooks, shelves of food products, live culinary performances, TV and radio cooking shows and appearances as well as culinary demonstrations, a catering company and teaching.
Ted was awarded two prestigious awards for his cookbook, Napoleon's Everyday Gourmet Grilling - Best Barbecue Book by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and it also won the Cordon d' Or - Gold Ribbon BBQ Cookbook Culinary Academy Award in the 2008 Awards Program. Then in 2009, Ted took home Best Barbecue Book at the Gourmand Cookbook Awards for Napoleon's Everyday Gourmet Plank Grilling.
Last year he launched two books, Beerlicious and the Complete Idiots Guide to Smoking Foods.  Ted's newest cookbook for 2013 is Gastro Grilling, 135 delicious full colour recipes.

  • The one kitchen tool he can't live without: My OXO 9" Stainless Chef Tongs, without them things just don't flip, turn and move as smoothly  
  • The one thing that's always in his fridge: Tabasco Chipotle Sauce  
  • His favourite meal:  Charcoal Grilled Kansas City Strip Steak (that's bone in) cut 2 inches thick & seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper, grilled over hard wood charcoal and basted with a mixture of bourbon & butter.  Grilled rare. That be my favorite meal any day of the week!

For additional information on Ted's World Famous BBQ, visit:

Photographer for all the food images: Mike McColl