If you grill it, it is no dream

Every good Jewish home has a place reserved to
commemorate the destruction of the Temple in
Jerusalem. Mine is on the balcony, where the scent of
sizzling flesh wafts up from the barbecue. That’s
where you’ll find me on Independence Day, offering
thanks the way God intended: with marinated meats and
a nice, steady gas flame.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll hold a few veggies over the
burners, too. But the way I figure it, independence
means nothing if it means I can’t enjoy food that had
parents. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that
I ‘suck the marrow out of life’ quite as Thoreau did,
I do make a habit of savoring the taste of once-living
creatures.

That is exactly what millions of other Israelis will
be doing this Independence Day. Grills across the
country will be loaded down with beef steaks, hot
dogs, lamb kebabs, chicken livers and – I kid you not
– in some instances, the crown jewels of turkeys and
bulls. I’m all for the kebabs, but you can forget the
other stuff. It’s a strict rule at my house that no
testicles touch the barbeque.

No, call me a breast man. Chicken breasts, that is.
Oh, sure, a whole bird cut into pieces goes great on
the grill – especially after soaking overnight in a
Jamaican jerk sauce and roasting slowly over indirect
heat – and drumsticks are a popular choice, too. But
you really can’t go wrong with a bunch of boneless,
skinless chicken breasts. They’re plentiful, versatile
and rapturously satisfying when prepared right. What
more could you want in a lunch?

Now, the secret here is moisture, and there are two
ways to get wet: pre-cooking marinades and on-the-fire
sauces. Marinades infuse the food with flavor and keep
the meat really moist. Sauces let the meatiness come
through, while adding a layer of flavor. It’s a subtle
difference worth exploring. I suggest trying both
methods, starting with the recipes below.

To make a sauce that best suits your taste buds,
though, requires some tinkering with the recipe. Add
another element, or take one away. Turn up the heat
with some more spice. Or tone it down and enjoy a few
simple, but distinct flavors. Remember, this is about
independence, so dare to experiment until you find the
combination you like best. You are limited only by
your imagination. And, as Herzl said, ‘If you grill
it, it is no dream!’

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