Nothing marks the start of summer better than achieving that perfectly cooked steak with those appealing cross hatch grill marks.

Whether you’re the household grill master or trying to impress the family, everyone can appreciate the atmosphere and aroma coming from a backyard barbecue. The secret sauce and marinade might not be something you share with the neighbors, so I’ve decided to share a couple of my favorite recipes.

When purchasing your ingredients, look for the steaks with the right thickness with some fat marbled throughout. Avoiding gristle is one thing but some fat marbling can render down to make a truly succulent steak.

Always show your steaks some love by marinating them before starting the grill. Marinating for 30 minutes to an hour is ideal.

I’ve included a simple steak marinade to steer you in the right direction. A1 sauce is a staple for most households but let’s try something new. The bold flavors of these steak sauces made from scratch will have your guests singing your praises.

Those classic grilled items such as simple burgers or hot dogs are loved by most but my next recipe will liven up any cookout.

My Jerk Marinade can be applied to chicken or brushed on shrimp skewers. For jerk chicken, I prefer a boneless chicken thigh — it can be served as a sandwich or served over a bed of rice.

Grab your favorite tongs and give them a few test clicks. Whether its propane or charcoal, a hot grill is a happy grill.

Now you’re ready to brush those grill grates with some oil and mark those steaks to perfection.

Happy Grilling, folks. Have a great summer.

Steak Marinade

4 NY Strip Steaks

¼ cup Olive Oil

Juice from one whole lemon

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons Worces­tershire sauce

1/3 cup Soy Sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Add your steak and completely submerge it. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

Use tongs to remove the steaks and apply them directly to the grill. Turn the steaks to the opposite direction for the perfect cross hatch marks before flipping. Cook to desired doneness.

Let the steak rest briefly and enjoy.

Chimichurri Sauce

¾ cup Olive Oil

3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

5 cloves of garlic, minced fine

1½ teaspoons of sea salt

1 teaspoon dry oregano

¾ teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

¾ fresh chopped parsley

3 fresh chiles

Combine all the ingredient into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes minimum but the flavors will be best after sitting for two hours.

Holds for up to three days refrigerated.

Spoon over cooked steak for the full chimichurri experience.

Bourbon Sauce

2 shallots minced

6 cloves of garlic, smashed

2¼ cup beef stock or beef base

¾ cup favorite bourbon

1½ teaspoon lite brown sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

1½ tablespoons of flour

½ cup heavy cream

1¾ tablespoon of pink peppercorns, coarse ground

Start with the butter in a skillet on medium heat.

Add shallots and garlic, cook for four minutes. Up the heat and brown shallots. Remove from heat.

On medium heat, add the flour and combine for a roux. Then add the bourbon and continue to stir.

Add the beef stock and brown sugar. Continue to stir. Add the cream and whisk together. Let it simmer for 15 minutes. Add in peppercorns.

Enjoy over your steak.

Brown Ale Mustard Sauce

3 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons of grainy mustard

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

¼ cup Worcester­shire

¾ cup horseradish cream

¾ brown ale beer

2½ tablespoons ancho Chile powder

1/3 cup ketchup

Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, combine the beer, syrup, mustard, Worcestershire, honey, and ketchup. Bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat and add horseradish cream and seasoning. Whisk thoroughly and then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Jerk Marinade

5 garlic cloves whole

1 medium ginger root, peeled

2½ tablespoons vegetable oil

2½ tablespoons of white vinegar

5 tablespoons of dark rum

3 tablespoons of orange juice

3 fresh lime, juiced

4 tablespoons of brown sugar

5 habaneros, seeded and stemmed

1 tablespoon of ground allspice

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

½ teaspoon of nutmeg

½ teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

5 fresh green onions, chopped

Combine all the wet ingredient fresh in the blender. Lightly blend.

Add the ginger, habaneros, green onion, garlic and thyme. Blend.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined.

Portion out half of the marinade for chicken or shrimp. Marinade for one to two hours.

Use the other half of the jerk sauce to baste the chicken or shrimp while grilling.

Enjoy over a bed of rice or on a bun as a sandwich.

Sofrito with Mango

1 whole, green bell pepper, seeded and stemmed

2 Anaheim Chile, seeded and stemmed

3 Habanero Chile, seeded and stemmed

1 white onion, small diced

6 whole cloves of garlic, minced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

2/3 cup olive oil

1 bunch of cilantro, about a cup

½ a fresh mango, small dice

Salt and pepper to Taste

Combine all the ingredients in the blender except the mango. Blend to your desired consistency, I prefer mine chunky.

Mix in the Mango and season to taste. Store in the fridge or freezer.

Delicious on everything it drips on.

Southern Street Corn Salad

½ red onion, small dice

2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and small diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 fresh ears of sweet corn

½ cup of Cojita cheese

2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt

¼ cup sour cream

1 fresh lime, Juiced

2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ cup of fresh cilantro, minced

½ teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Diced Bacon Bits (Optional)

Clean and grill the whole fresh corn after brushing with oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side.

Cool the corn until you’re able to handle it. Cut the corn kernels off the cob with a knife into a bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the kernels with the Cojita cheese, onion, garlic and jalapeno.

In another bowl whisk together the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, yogurt, cilantro and seasonings.

Pour the whisked ingredients with the corn mixture and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with more cilantro and Cojita. Keeps refrigerated for up to four days. Enjoy.

Chef T.C. Jackson, a Sullivan University graduate, is a member of the American Culinary Federation and former executive chef of the Louisville Palace and Mercury Ballroom. He is catering chef at Baptist Health Hardin for Morrison’s Foodservice. He can be reached at

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Terms of Use. The complete terms of use policy can be found at the bottom of this page.