Everyone knows summer means lots of grilling—especially chef Michael Symon.
“In the summer, I like to set up the grill to do everything outside. I’ll put pans on it. I’ll sauté on it. I’ll do everything on it,” he tells PEOPLE. “I’ll smoke whole suckling pigs. I’ll do ribs, pork butts, brisket, chicken, burgers, hot dogs.”
To compliment a meaty menu, the cohost of The Chew shared the mustard-based barbecue sauce he developed for Mabel’s, his newest restaurant in Cleveland, opening this fall.
“It was so important to me that when we did a barbecue joint, that Bertman Ballpark Mustard was the base of our sauces,” says the chef, 45, who runs 19 restaurants with his wife Liz, 9 of them being in Cleveland. “For me, as a kid growing up, it just summed up everything about Cleveland. It’s the mustard that goes on everything there.”
And as an avid gardener, Symon likes to serve his barbecue with sides that include veggies from his backyard like this grilled corn salad with avocado, tomatoes and fresh basil.
“Gardening is a very important part of my life,” he says “We grow six different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peppers and more.”
Besides the abundance of flavor, the best part about his salad recipe is you can throw the ears of corn on the grill at the same time you’re cooking your protein of choice—or Symon’s Brick Chicken recipe, featured in the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.
Mustard Barbecue Sauce
Makes: About 3 cups
16 oz. apple cider vinegar
1 small red onion, peeled and quartered
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 chipotle in adobo
3 tbsp. bourbon
1 tsp. toasted coriander seeds
½ tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. adobo sauce
1 cup Bertman Ballpark Mustard
½ cup yellow mustard
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar
5 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1. In a saucepot combine the vinegar, onion, garlic, chipotle, bourbon, coriander and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes then strain into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a container and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Grilled Corn Salad
4 ears corn
1 anchovy, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced (seeds and ribs removed)
3 limes, juice and zest
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, white and green parts, sliced thinly
¾ cup fresh basil, torn
½ cup crumbled feta, plus more for garnish
1. Soak the corn in their husks overnight in salt water. When ready to cook, prepare the grill to medium-low heat. Place the soaked corn, still in their husks, on the grill and close the lid.
2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the anchovy, garlic, jalapeno and a large pinch of salt. Add lime juice and zest and whisk in the olive oil. Add the avocado, tomatoes, scallion and basil and gently toss.
3. After about 20 minutes, remove the corn from the grill and let it cool enough so that you can handle it. Peel off and discard the husks, cut off the kernels, and add them the salad. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning. You may need to add some additional salt. Fold in the feta then pour on to a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with some more feta.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes, plus soaking