Grilling season is finally upon us.

Unfortunately, so is frequent sticker stock as prices continue to rise at the grocery and gas station. For those looking to celebrate the season on a budget I present three cookout menus just in time for Memorial Day. All are as delicious as they are wholesome while making good use of inexpensive ingredients like pork shoulder steak (truly the most delicious type of steak, in my opinion), perfect for a dinner party or potluck.

Grilled Pork Steaks with Radish Top Chimichurri, Grilled Potatoes and Asparagus

Serves 4-6


1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon each pepper, garlic powder and dried thyme

3 bone-in ½-inch-thick pork shoulder steaks, about 3 pounds total

1 bunch radishes

2 cloves fresh garlic (scapes work wonderfully here)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup parsley leaves

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Zest and juice of one lemon

A pinch of sugar

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed clean

1 teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 1/2 pounds asparagus

Minced chives or green onions, to serve


Combine the salt and dried seasonings, then generously sprinkle the pork steaks on both sides. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the menu (at room temperature for up to one hour or in the fridge for up to 12 hours).

Cut the tops off the radishes and set the radishes aside. Wash and dry the greens. Add the garlic cloves and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. (You can also do this by hand.) Add the washed radish greens, parsley, lemon juice and zest and a pinch of sugar. Turn on the machine and pour in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process to a pesto-like consistency. Taste for seasoning, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

If the potatoes are large, halve or quarter them so that they are uniform 1½-inch pieces. (Don't cut them so small that they'll fall through the grill grates.) Place in a microwave-safe bowl and add ¼ cup water (or wine or beer). Cover and microwave for three minutes on high, then stir gently and return to the microwave to cook for another two to three minutes (exact time will depend on your microwave) until the potatoes are just fork tender. Drain, then immediately sprinkle with salt and toss with a dash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon. Set aside.

Trim 1 inch off the bottom of the asparagus stalks, then use a vegetable peeler to peel the bottom half of the stalk.

Preheat the grill to high heat. Brush the steaks with olive oil, then cook over high heat, turning every two minutes, until the steaks are lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 140 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest.

Reduce the grill heat to medium high. Toss the steamed potatoes and prepped asparagus with olive oil, then grill until the asparagus is crisp tender and the potatoes are nicely grill-marked.

Slice the steaks across the grain and arrange them on a platter along with the potatoes and asparagus. Thinly slice the reserved radish bottoms over the top and sprinkle with minced chives and serve with the radish top chimichurri on the side.

Grilled Sesame Orange Chicken with Ginger Soy Rice Salad

Serves 4-6

For the chicken:

8-12 chicken legs and/or bone-in thighs

1 cup orange juice

1 onion

5 cloves garlic

½ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Minced scallions and sesame seeds for garnish, optional

For the rice salad:

2 cups brown sushi rice

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup neutral vegetable oil

Juice and rind of one lemon

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-6 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup sliced veggies such as bell peppers, snap peas or cucumbers

1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts or ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds


For the chicken:

Combine the orange juice, onion, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil in a blender. Process until smooth then pour over chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight and up to three days. When ready to cook, there are two alternatives. Either cook the chicken directly on a medium grill, rotating frequently until cooked through, about 30 minutes, or you can prebake the chicken in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or pressure cook for 8 minutes. Transfer to a medium-high grill to finish browning and crisp the skin. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

For the rice salad:

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Mix in the soy sauce while still hot and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool to room temperature.

Combine the oil, lemon rind and juice and pour over the cooled rice. Mix in the dressing, then add the sliced green onions and veggies and gently toss to combine. Stir in the peanuts or sunflower seeds just before serving.

Lamb Kebabs with Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 4-6


For the lamb:

1 pound ground lamb (pork or beef work also)

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon each salt, coriander, paprika and turmeric

¼ teaspoon each cinnamon and black pepper

12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water

For the quinoa tabbouleh:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch parsley

2-3 large handfuls baby spinach

1 seedless cucumber, diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Juice of one lemon

¼ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


To make the lamb skewers, combine the lamb, minced onion parsley, garlic and dry seasonings. Mix well to combine, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. When ready to grill, divide the mixture into 12 pieces. Form each into a ball around the end of a skewer, flattening them into a flat oval shape. Brush lightly with olive oil before cooking on a preheated medium hot grill for about six to eight minutes until cooked through.

To make the salad, combine all the ingredients and toss gently to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve.

About The Author

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer has been cooking as long as she has been walking. The daughter of beloved former Illinois Times food columnist, Julianne Glatz, Ashley offers a fresh, inspired take on her mother’s culinary legacy. Ashley studied winemaking at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand and recently achieved the...

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