Cookout season has arrived.
Our food opportunities open up when it’s again time to enjoy the grilled, smoky flavors of summer parties. There’s typical fare like hamburgers and hot dogs, but you also can enjoy grilled chicken and sausage or even vegetables.
And let’s not forget the creamy, dreamy side dishes like potato or macaroni salad.
For your next cookout hit, look no further than Brian Fulton’s BBQ Salmon and Macaroni Salad.
Fulton, a Larksville resident, is librarian at The Sunday Times as well as a local history columnist and co-host of Access NEPA’s “Historically Hip” podcast. He’s also a phenomenal cook, and his recipe earned a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore, for St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Scranton, through Local Flavor Gives Back’s Times-Shamrock employee series.
The macaroni salad recipe has been passed down through Fulton’s family, from his grandmother, Mary, and then to his mom, Mary Ellen, and her twin sister, Mary Ann. It was always served during holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Fulton wanted to try his hand at it. As for the meal’s main dish, Fulton noticed salmon recently became more affordable, and he wanted to create a summery dinner that featured it.
Fulton advised those making the dish that they should cook the salmon for about two to three minutes on each side and watch it so it doesn’t stick to the grill. Flipping it can sometimes cause it to break apart, so Fulton suggested cooks use skewers to keep the fish together. He uses Dinosaur Sensuous Slathering Bar-B-Que Sauce, of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurants, but cooks can use their favorite barbecue sauce.
“It’s really up to your taste and whatever you like,” he said. “You can be pretty versatile with it.”
Family, friends and coworkers know Fulton for his delicious creations. He dabbled in cooking throughout high school but started to get more into it when he went to college at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, where he cooked meals for himself and friends. Then, when he furthered his studies at Penn State’s main campus, his kitchen prowess began to flourish.
“I didn’t have the cafeteria to fall back on, and I was on my own during that time,” Fulton said. “It forced me in a way to have to learn and experiment with different ingredients. And I really enjoyed cooking.”
Fulton’s dishes include Beef Stew, Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak, Chicken Pot Pie, Oven-Roasted Sausage and Peppers, Grilled Haddock, Macaroni and Cheese, Pretzel-Coated Chicken Strips and more that he shows off for his social media followers. Sometimes, it’s something simple like an egg sandwich with different kinds of bread, meat or cheese. That’s the most enjoyable for him.
“You just use whatever you have around,” he said. “Whatever cheese, whatever bread, rolls or bagels. It’s fun to mix and match and see what you can make.”
He’s also big into baking, including Buttermilk Pound Cake, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread, S’mores Bars and more. Fulton loves to experiment with different favors and techniques, like making Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake, which uses cereal milk in the recipe, or trying his hand at viral food trends he comes across on social media.
Whether it’s a dinner and all the fixings for family or homemade birthday cakes for co-workers and friends, Fulton is glad his creativity brightens spirits.
“I like making people happy,” he said.
Brian Fulton’s BBQ Salmon and Macaroni Salad
For the salmon:
- Salmon fillets (fresh or frozen)
- Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s Sensuous (Slathering Sauce (or your favorite barbecue sauce)
- If using frozen salmon fillets, defrost according to directions on package.
- Clean grill grate. Preheat grill on high for 10 minutes.
- Coat salmon with barbecue sauce. Place salmon on the grill for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill for another 2 to 3 minutes (Fulton uses wooden skewers to aid in the flipping). Salmon should reach an internal temperature of 145 F.
- Remove skewers before serving.
For the macaroni salad:
- 1 pound box of pasta (such as elbow macaroni, small shells or penne)
- 2/3 cup chopped white onions
- 1 1/2 cups chopped bell peppers or celery
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups chopped, cooked shrimp (optional)
- Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (or for about 10 minutes). Drain and cool pasta.
- Transfer pasta to a large mixing bowl and add onions, bell peppers (or celery), mayonnaise, lemon juice and spices. Stir ingredients until well mixed. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
Gia Mazur is an award-winning staff writer and beauty obsessive who joined The Times-Tribune’s Lifestyles department in 2015. She’s a product enthusiast who can’t live without an eyelash curler. A proud Virgo, Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk is her go-to. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT