I'm known for going a little overboard with the food when I grill--actually, make that a lot overboard--leaving my guests little incentive to make their own. I need to learn to cut back, because when people do come with their own creations, they tend to be eye-opening, like a Thai basil wrapped beef that graced my grill recently.
I started recreating this dish by mixing ground chuck with spicy Thai chilies, fish sauce, sugar, mint, and green onion. Then I formed the meat into small logs, wrapped each one in a Thai basil leaf, threaded them on skewers, and put them to the heat. The finished product's beauty was on par with its taste, which had all the heavenly flavors I equate with Thai cuisine. Give them a quick dunk in simple Thai dipping sauce, and they're all the better.
- For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha
- For the filling:
- 1 pound ground chuck (80% lean)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped Thai chilis
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch of Thai basil
- 12 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
In a large bowl, gently combine the ground chuck with the rest of the filling ingredients.
Shape a tablespoon of the filling into a small log. Wrap 1 basil leaf around the beef and thread onto a skewer. Repeat until all of the filling is gone.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate.
Clean and oil the cooking grate. Grill the rolls until the filling is fully cooked and slightly firm, about 6 to 8 minutes, turning once during cooking. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.