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Twelve Top Chefs Offer Recipes for America’s Most Popular Culinary Pastime

The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, June 26, 2017… It’s the season of smoking and searing, fire and spice, grillin’ and chillin’ and feeling the burn of homemade barbecue sauce passed down through ages of summer celebrations. The backyard grill is an American icon, honored each July by National Grilling Month. This year, 12 top chefs from the kitchens at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and the Gemstone Collection, are getting their grill on with recipes that span the American culinary landscape from the East Coast all the way to the North Shore of Oahu.

These keepers of the culinary flame bring skill, imagination and a commitment to authenticity to the grill. Locally sourced meats, fish, poultry and vegetables sizzle over the coals, enhanced by each chef’s unique marinades, rubs and smoking techniques.

Local, all-American ingredients infuse these delicious grills - fresh Hawaiian pineapple, bourbon, ale, root beer, maple smoked salt, local wines and special regional seasonings that kick the flavor up a few fiery notches. The spices and sauces of Asia and the Caribbean add zest and depth.

These talented chefs’ recipes, presented here, span every region. Find Southern Comfort in Hickory Smoked Brisket from Tennessee, spark a ribeye with a Gewurztraminer from Washington’s wine country, grill a salmon steak from New York, put a new spin on barbecued chicken, and top succulent jumbo prawns with a Maui pineapple salsa.

National Grilling Month Ideas from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels properties:

Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, HI
Asparagus Skewered Jumbo Prawns with Pineapple Avocado Salsa
By Chef Patrick Murakami

6pcs U–10 Jumbo Prawns
6pcs Large Asparagus
4oz Kula Spring Mix or any greens available
6-8 pcs Red and Yellow Grape Tomatoes
2oz Thin Sliced Hearts of Palm

Seasoning for shrimp
1 tsp Rock Salt
½ tsp Fresh Garlic
¼ tsp Smoked Paprika
¼ tsp Black Pepper
¼ tsp Granulated Garlic

1 oz Seared Maui Gold Pineapple
1 oz Avocado
½ oz Red Onion
½ oz Green Bell Peppers
½ oz Red Bell Peppers
Cilantro, lime, salt and pepper to taste

½ cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and pepper and honey to Taste
½ cup peeled Papaya seeds
1 ½ - 2 cups Olive Oil

Instructions for Dressing
In a blender add vinegar, mustard and papaya puree and slowly add olive oil until mixture thickens.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Prawn Instructions
Clean and devein Prawns.
Make a hole near the back end and top of the Prawn and thread the Asparagus through both holes.
Season Prawns with seasoning mixture and grill until they turn light pink.  Mix the salsa together and adjust seasoning to taste.
Add all ingredients together on a large platter, place skewered prawns and top prawns with the Pineapple Avocado Salsa.
Drizzle with Papaya Dijon Vinaigrette.

Grilling Instructions
On low to medium heat, place prawns/asparagus directly on the grill for approximately 5-minutes on each side making sure not to burn the prawns.

Doral Arrowwood Resort, Rye Brook, NY
Sugar Maple Smoked Salt Grilled King Salmon Steak, Mango & House Grown Tomato Salsa
By Executive Chef Michael Schmutzer

Salmon Steak
4 ea. – salmon steaks, skin on
½ tsp. - kosher salt
½ tsp. – cracked black pepper
1 tsp. – sugar maple smoked salt
1 ea. – lemon zest
Olive oil for grilling

In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, lemon zest and smoked salt, generously season salmon steaks, and set aside.
Pre-heat the grill to high, brush salmon with olive oil and grill for about 3 min. on each side until desired temperature is reached. Remove from heat and serve with the salsa and watercress oil.

Mango – Tomato Salsa
2 ea. – ripe mangoes, cut in large cubes
2 ea. – heirloom tomatoes, cut in wedges
2 cp. – garden fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in ¼
1 ea. -  juice of fresh lemon
1 ea. -  juice of fresh lime
1 cp. – garden fresh watercress 
¼ cp. – fresh cilantro
Kosher Salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and season with lemon & lime juice, salt & pepper.
Set aside and serve at room temperature.

Watercress Oil
4 oz. – extra virgin olive oil
1 cp. – fresh watercress
Kosher Salt to taste

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, season to taste and set aside at room temperature.

Recipe Notes
Using a variety of heirloom tomatoes, fresh picked cilantro and fresh watercress will result in a colorful summer salsa. Serve with olive oil and rosemary tossed roasted new potatoes.

The Nautical Beachfront Resort, Lake Havasu City, AZ
Backyard BBQ Chicken
By Chef John Andreola

6 ea. Bone in Chicken Breasts
6 ea. Bone in Chicken Thighs
6 ea. Chicken Legs

Marinade Ingredients
12 oz. Teriyaki Sauce
12 oz. Pineapple Juice
6 oz. Olive Oil
2 oz. Brown Sugar
1 oz. Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

Combine teriyaki sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar and Jerk seasoning in blender, slowly adding olive oil in at the end. Pour marinade over chicken and let stand for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Honey Bourbon Mango BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
¼ c. minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ c. ketchup
¼ c. Brown Sugar
1/4 c. molasses
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ tbsp. sherry vinegar
½ tbsp. chili powder
1/16 – pinch of cayenne pepper
4 oz. Fresh Mango, pureed
3 oz. Pineapple Juice
3 oz. Jim Beam® Honey Bourbon

Heat the olive oil in the saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Reduce heat to low. Mix in ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, honey bourbon, tomato paste, vinegar, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Blend mango and pineapple juice and add to mixture. Cook and stir 5 minutes until well blended and heated through.

Cooking Method
Preheat grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate. Remove chicken from pan and discard marinade. Cook chicken on the preheated grill about 30 minutes, turning every 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off one of the grill burners or, if cooking with coals, move chicken to indirect heat. Baste the chicken with the sauce and cook another 10 minutes: turn again and baste chicken with sauce. Continue to grill and baste until internal temperature reaches 165° Fahrenheit.

Chef John’s Tips
Cook low & slow and baste as much as possible for tender, succulent chicken.

If using a charcoal grill, soak mesquite chips for 30 minutes and add to coals.

The Inn at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Pimento BBQ Chicken Sandwich with Avocado Aioli, Buttermilk Fried Shallots
By Sous Chef Trevor Henderson
For grilling recipe visit:

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, Pigeon Forge, TN
Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket
By Chef Anthony Ploof
For grilling recipe visit:

Chaminade Resort & Spa, Santa Cruz, CA
Chef’s Grilled Ribeye
Chef Nicholas Church
For grilling recipe visit:

Cheyenne Mountain Resort and Country Club, Colorado Springs, CO
Grilled Marinated Babette of Beef
Chef Carlos L. Addarich, C.E.C.
For grilling recipe visit:

Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Itasca, IL        
Prairie Supper Club Grilled Steak & Shrimp
By Chef John Billings CEC
For grilling recipe visit:

Lightburns at Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV
Burns Burger with Truffle Fries, Ground steak trio, with burger shallots,
Nevil’s special sauce, smoked white cheddar, green leaf lettuce, pepperoncini, and house pickle
By Nevil Barr, Chef de Cuisine
For grilling recipe visit:

National Grilling Month Ideas from Gemstone Collection properties.

Willows Lodge, Woodinville, WA
Grilled Rib Eye with Pickled Peaches and Gewurztraminer Vinaigrette
By Chef Bobby Moore

Ribeye Rub
¼ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. paprika
¼ c. kosher salt
¼ c. chili powder
1 tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. old bay
½ tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. granulated garlic

Start with five 14-16 oz. bone-in rib eyes.  Season the meat with the spice blend rub.  Rub the blended spices into the meat.  Place the rib eyes directly over the grill on medium high heat and cook for 2 minutes, then mark the meat by rotating 30 degrees and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn the rib eyes over and repeat by marking the side for a total of 4 minutes.  Let the meat rest for 3-4 minutes and serve medium rare.  Serve with Pickled Peaches and baby arugula tossed with a Gewurztraminer Vinaigrette.

Pickled Peaches
3 c. rice wine vinegar
3 c. Mirin
½ ea. Jalapeno (halved)
2 tsp. green cardamom
1 tbsp. pickling spice
4 peaches (medium size)

Combine the first five ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Prep peaches by washing, halving and seeding.  Cut each half into three even slices and place in a container large enough to hold the peaches and the liquid.  Strain liquid to remove the spices.  If peaches are firm, pour over them while it is still hot.  If the peaches are soft, cool liquid down before introducing to the peaches.  Let the peaches “pickle” overnight.

Gewurztraminer Vinaigrette
¼ c. Gewurztraminer vinegar
1 ½ bsp.. sugar
salt – to taste
White pepper – to taste
2 ½ c. grape seed oil (or canola oil)

Combine all ingredients in a mixer (except the oil) – pulse to blend.  With blender on, slowly drizzle the oil in to create an emulsification.

The Essex Resort & Spa, Burlington, VT
Rookie’s Root Beer BBQ Chicken Breast, Rookie’s Root Beer BBQ sauce, grilled chicken breast
Roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs, sautéed broccolini
By Chef Brandy J Allan

Chicken Breast Preparation
Use a local eight-ounce chicken breast, seasoned liberally with salt and black pepper. On an extremely hot grill, sear for five minutes on each side, and finish in oven for a moist center (400 degrees for 10 minutes should do the trick).

Broccolini can be prepared in many ways including steaming, sautéing, and grilling.
For this chicken dish, toss the raw broccolini in salt, pepper & olive oil. Roast in a convection oven at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the florets are caramelized and crispy, and the stalks are tender.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Halve fingerling potatoes (suggest using tri-colored).
Toss in minced garlic, salt, pepper & our favorite Herb Blend.
Roast at 400 degrees in a convection oven for 20 minutes & they are ready to serve!

Herb Blend is a minced combination of garden grown chives, parsley and rosemary.
In the summer, The Essex gardeners bring in about five pounds of chives each week.  The chefs love using chive blossoms for garnish all summer long!

Rookie's Root Beer BBQ sauce                  
½ Cup Blended oil                           
2 Yellow onions.  small dice                         
¼ Cup Garlic, minced                     
¼ Cup Rookie's Root   Beer                         
1bs, Cumin, ground                        
1 Tbls Chili powder                         
½ Cup Molasses                               
2 Cups Ketchup                
½ Cup Cider vinegar                       
 2 Tbls Cocoa                     
½ Cup Whiskey/Bourbon                             
1 Tbls Espresso powder

Sweat onion and garlic in blended oil.  Add root beer, reduce by half.  Add remaining ingredients, whisk to combine.  Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with stick blender.

Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa~The Wave Kitchen & Bar
Guava BBQ'ed Skirt Steak and Sweet Potatoes
By Chef Armando Galeas
For grilling recipe visit:

About Gemstone Collection

The Gemstone Collection includes distinctive hand-picked properties in spectacular and popular U.S. destinations coast to coast. Each upscale resort and hotel destination provides highly-personalized service and luxury reflective of the charm and unique character of the destination, while in keeping with the collection’s shared mission and passion for excellence.  A distinguished portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years, the Gemstone Collection is the preferred choice of guests who yearn for inspiring and transformative experiences, customization over conformity, stimulation over predictability, and adventure over routine. To become a fan on Facebook, visit, or follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and on Pinterest at

About Benchmark Resorts & Hotels®

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® features the finest in lodging, dining, recreational and meeting accommodations.  Featuring unique and distinctive properties renown for exceptional service and for creating unforgettable memory-making experiences, it is the signature portfolio of BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, which has been a leading US-based hospitality management company for nearly 40 years.  Many Benchmark Resort & Hotels' properties are certified by IACC, the association that represents the finest meeting venues and services globally, and many have also been recognized with the coveted Benchmark Conference Centers® certification of meeting excellence.  To become a fan on Facebook, visit  Follow us on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and on Pinterest at

Contact: Ken Ellens  / 201-758-2864

Contact: Jessica Milton / Jessica Milton

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