Grilled meats are typically slathered with sauce towards the end of cooking, so added sweeteners (sugar, honey, molasses, etc.) don’t blacken and burn over the fire. This time-honored thinking is solid, but what if you want your chicken to sing with more sauce? Marinating chicken thighs (or drumsticks) in Major Mustard infuses the meat with a bright, tangy flavor and results in a richer texture. To avoid the scorched skin scenario, “grill-roast” the chicken over indirect heat in a closed grill.

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Steak nights are an occasion at our house, a meal that typically happens on Saturday night. Firing up the grill for steaks is a celebratory event engrained from childhood, when my grandfather would splurge on massive T-bones, fry potatoes and onions, haul out the horseshoes and douse a pile of coals with lighter fluid (a tradition I have not adopted). Serving your people, “a nice, big steak,” is a reward for a productive week of work, and a way to savor the slower pace of weekends.

On Saturdays, I don’t give much thought to rounding out the meal (a salad and grilled toasts suffice as supporting players). The meat is the main event, so I seek out the best cuts from my local market. For me, that means a well-marbled cut, dry-aged steak sourced from a particular farm or ranch. Dry-aging, or cooling the meat for an extended period of time concentrates moisture and results in a rich, beefy flavor.

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Chicken satay, the beloved Southeast Asian appetizer of grilled meat skewers served with peanut sauce, served as my kids’ gateway to Thai takeout. When they were younger, I described the dish as “chicken on a stick.” As in, “who wants chicken on a stick?!??" The phrase stuck, and became so familiar I accidentally ordered “chicken on a stick” at a local Thai restaurant. It took me a few beats (while my kids laughed) to figure out why the server appeared perplexed.

“Chicken on a stick” remains one of our favorites, though these days I prefer to fire it up at home. For a quick weeknight dinner, I season boneless chicken thighs with Rib Ninja while I whisk together a creamy, spicy peanut sauce (adjust the heat to your preference). To brown the chicken evenly without drying it out, you’ll want to grill the skewers over a moderate heat. If you want to turn this appetizer into a meal, serve the skewers and a drizzle of the peanut sauce over coconut rice.

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Paula: Hey, what are you firing up for New Year’s Eve? I’m still hammering out the details, but two things are certain: we’ll gather around a crackling campfire and this hot, cheesy, artichoke and greens dip. Wait, the dip demands a third attendee: Triscuits. A sturdy cracker is the essential, underrated ingredient to any festive occasion.

Scott: Thanks for asking. To ring in the New Year, I am making preparations to capture the Guinness Book’s World Record for longest sigh of relief. I’ve been practicing my inhaling and exhaling all morning. While I can’t find a record on file for the longest sigh, in 2015, Suresh Gaur shouted the word “Goal!” in one continuous breath for 54.97 seconds, so I think that’s the time to beat. Plunging into this hot, cheesy dip will be an excellent recovery meal after my big win.

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