St. Louis’ Jewish grilling mavens


Heat may be radiating from the sidewalks and garden flowers may be wilting as temperatuzres head toward triple figures, but that doesn’t stop the Jewish barbecue mavens of St. Louis from firing up their grills and doing their thing.

I asked a few of these grill-meisters to share some of their barbecue tips, techniques and recipes, and they gladly obliged.


We’ll start with Larry Malashock, former vice-president and owner of Software Plus. His passion for cooking came from his father, Henry, who died when Larry was just 8 -years- old. In high school, Larry found many of his father’s handwritten recipes and started cooking from them.

One was for homemade barbecue sauce. Larry tried it, made some adjustments and came up with a great sauce that he uses on beef ribs and chicken.

To prepare his ribs for the grill, Larry trims the fat and sprinkles them with garlic salt and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. He then sears the ribs on both sides. He bastes the ribs frequently with his special sauce, but only after they are cooked through.

Larry uses the same procedure with chicken, although he marinates it in Wishbone Italian dressing before putting it on the grill.

Henry Malashock’s Barbecue Sauce:

2 cups of catsup

2 cups water

3/8 cup vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

3 dashes Liquid Smoke

3 teaspoons celery seed

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (to taste)

6 -8 dashes Tabasco Sauce (the fresher the bottle the hotter the sauce)

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir frequently. Cool or refrigerate to thicken further.

Larry’s tips:

* Buy the long ribs from Simon Kohn’s. The short ribs have so much fat on them that by the time you get it all off, there’s no meat left.

* Marinate chicken to keep it from drying out from the direct heat of the grill.

* Once the sauce has been applied, turn the meat frequently to keep it from burning. This also ensures that most of the sauce will stick.


Elie Harir opened his “Mediterranean Grill” catering business in 2007. Prior to that, he had spent nearly 20 years in the food world. During those years he ran a food business in Israel, and cooked for and managed restaurants. Elie specializes in preparing foods from North Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Greece, and Israel.

“I enjoy barbecuing the Israeli way,” Elie said. “I always use the dark meat of the chicken because it stays moist despite the heat. And, I think that grilled liver, chicken or beef tastes great. I just put it on the grill, rubbed with a little oil to prevent it from sticking, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper just before I serve it.”

Elie Harir’s Rib-eye Steaks in Beer Marinade

Marinade Ingredients:

1 bottle of beer (doesn’t matter which kind)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons sugar

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of black pepper

2-4 rib-eye steaks, for marinating

Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture through a colander to remove the onion pieces.

Place steaks in a zip-lock freezer bag and pour the marinade over the steaks. Refrigerate overnight. Remove the steak from the marinade 5 minutes prior to grilling. Grill on a very hot grill until the meat is cooked to your taste.

Elie’s tips:

* Never salt meat in advance of cooking (because it will drain the liquids). If using salt, add while cooking meats on the grill or after taking the meat off the grill.

* Meat should always be at room temperature prior to grilling.

* Cut an onion horizontally, dip it in olive oil, and wipe the hot grill with it prior to grilling. (This will clean the grill, prevent the meat from sticking, and enhance the meat’s flavor.)


Dr. Howard Schlansky, a pediatrician in private practice in St. Charles, claims that his barbecuing is nothing special. But try telling that to those who have tasted the fruit -or meats- of his labor. After some cajoling, Howard told me his most important rule of barbecue: “You’ve got to use charcoal. Gas grills just don’t give the food that great smoky flavor.”

Howard enjoys grilling sirloin steaks and fresh sliced pineapple.

Howard’s Grilled Pineapple

1 pineapple, peeled and cored

Olive oil, for brushing

Cut pineapple into thin slices. Spray a hot grill with Pam. Place pineapple on grill and brush with olive oil. When pineapple begins to brown, turn over and brush again. Serve as a side dish.

Howard’s tip

* Have your steaks sliced thick so they won’t dry out on the grill.


And last, but surely not least, are Dr. Sheldon Cohen and his wife Judy, my honorary female maven. When Sheldon is done filling cavities for the day and Judy has said goodbye to the last of the students she tutors, they both enjoy grilling.

Sheldon prefers grilling fish. “Salmon fillets for Judy,” he said, “and halibut fillets for me.”

Sheldon preheats his gas grill to high, puts the fillets on the grill, and begins basting them immediately with KC Masterpiece Honey Teriyaki Sauce. He continues to baste until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes.

Judy grills year-round. She prefers to use indirect heat for a whole turkey breast, regardless of whether the temperatures outside are bitterly cold or painfully hot.

“Once the turkey breast goes on the grill,” she said, “it can cook unattended for as long as three hours. It’s the perfect way to get great barbecue without braving the elements.”

Judy’s Slow-Grilled Turkey Breast

1 whole turkey breast

Mrs. Dash Seasoning, to taste

Olive oil for rubbing

3 carrots, peeled, washed, and cut into 2-inch slices

3 zucchinis, washed and cut into large chunks

3 sweet red peppers, stems removed, seeded and quartered

Rinse and pat turkey breast dry. Rub all over with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Mrs. Dash Seasoning. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.

Place turkey breast in large foil pan and surround it with the cut-up vegetables.

Preheat one side of the barbecue grill to medium-high heat. Place the pan, uncovered, on the side of the grill without heat. Close the grill top and cook for about one hour, or until turkey is crisp and brown (the turkey is not fully cooked at this point.)

Leave the turkey and vegetables in the pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season them with your favorite spices. Tent the pan with foil and place it back over indirect heat on the grill. Close grill cover and cook, checking at 30-minute intervals to make sure that there is some liquid in the bottom of the pan. If the pan is dry, add a small amount of water or broth. Continue barbecuing turkey until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees, approximately 3 hours.

The Cohens’ tips

* Put your fish fillets on the grill, skin-side-down, and never turn them over. This keeps the fish moist and succulent.

* Always marinate your meats before direct-heat grilling. The marinade acts as a barrier against carcinogens. (Carcinogens, associated with certain risks for cancer, are formed when the muscle of the meat breaks down under intense heat and reacts with amino acids. Some doctors and scientists believe that marinades, made up of an acid, a flavoring such as sugar or spices, and oil, keep those carcinogens from forming.


Margie Kahn’s favorite barbecue tips and techniques:

*Buy good quality meats. Inferior meat will still taste inferior after it’s grilled.

Consider grilling a variety of vegetables such as summer squash, bulb onions and mushrooms, which have been briefly marinated in a combination of olive oil, white wine, minced garlic, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano, and thyme, coarse kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Serving these vegetables alongside good crusty bread and a few slices of aged Parmesan cheese makes for a delectable summer meal.

Consider a rub for meats as a quick alternative to marinades. A rub consists of an assortment of spices ground together in a spice grinder or mortar with pestle. (For additional flavor, toast spices before being grinding them.) Rub your chicken, beef, or lamb with the spice mixture just before putting it on the grill. As the meat cooks it will absorb the flavor of the rub.

Cooking pizzas on the grill is easy and delicious, and is the next best thing to having pizzas made in a wood-burning oven. Roll your pizza dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Brush it lightly with olive oil. Turn it over onto a medium-high preheated grill and gently brush the exposed side of dough with olive oil. After 2-3 minutes (check to make sure that the underside of the dough is not burning by lifting it up on one side with tongs), flip the dough over and cook for an additional minute. Turn the temperature of your grill to low. Transfer the pizza crust to a cooling rack, add your toppings (toppings go onto the side of the crust that has cooked the longest), and slide the pizza back onto the grill. (Or just add your toppings to the crust right on the grill.) Close the grill cover, and cook pizzas for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the toppings are heated through and the cheese has melted.

Fruit, like Howard’s pineapple, is perfect for grilling. Consider grilling halved and pitted peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. Brush fruit with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar before placing it on the grill. The natural sugars in the fruit, along with the sugar you have added, will caramelize as the fruit cooks. Transfer the fruit to a deep bowl and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Serve the fruit drizzled with some of the juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl. Or place a scoop of ice cream on top of the fruit and drizzle the ice cream with the juices. Nirvana.

Beef, lamb, and sometimes chicken, benefit from being refrigerated overnight in a marinade because it makes the meat much more flavorful.

Margi Lenga Kahn is the mother of five and grandmother of one. A cooking instructor at the Kitchen Conservatory, she is currently working on a project to preserve the stories and recipes of heritage cooks. She welcomes your comments and suggestions at [email protected].