Boost your barbecue

With barbecue season in full swing, celebrity chef Melissa Cookston offers some smokin’ appetizers to share with your friends and family. Our two favorites, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Thai Chili Glaze and Grilled Pineapple Bacon Salsa. Both are from Cookston’s new cookbooks, Smokin’ in the Boys’ Roomand Smokin’ Hot in the South. And best of all, both of these award-winning recipes are relatively easy to prepare. Here’s how:

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp With Thai Chili Glaze


  • 2–3 Thai chilis (or your preference for heat levels)
  • 2 Tbs. garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • ¾ Tbs. corn starch
  • 1 lb. Gulf shrimp, approximately 21 to 25 pieces
  • 12 slices of bacon

Directions for the Thai chili glaze:

  1. Whisk corn starch into 2 Tbs. water to make a slurry. Set aside
  2. Add chilis, garlic, sugar, ¾ cup water and salt to a blender. Puree.
  3. Pour into small sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often as sauces with high sugar content can boil over quickly. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until reduced by a third.
  4. Pour in the corn starch slurry then bring back to a boil while whisking. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into non-reactive container. Will keep in fridge for up to a week.

Directions for the shrimp:

  1. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.
  2. Cut bacon slices in half, then wrap around shrimp and secure with a toothpick.
  3. Heat grill to medium high. Place shrimp on grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until bacon begins to crisp.
  4. Glaze shrimp with Thai chili sauce, allow to “tighten” for 1 minute, then flip over and glaze other side. Allow glaze to tighten another minute and remove from grill. Enjoy!

Grilled Pineapple Bacon Salsa


  • ½ pineapple cored and cut into spears
  • 4 slices bacon cooked crispy
  • ½ tsp. ancho chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. Jalapeno, diced
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. cilantro, diced
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper


  1. Cut peel from pineapple, then core and cut into spears.
  2. Using a paper towel, pat dry the pineapple spears. Place on a hot grill and sear on all sides, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  3. Remove from grill and let cool. Assemble all other ingredients except bacon in a mixing bowl. Chop pineapple and add to bowl. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Immediately before serving, add bacon and stir into salsa. Enjoy with grilled skirt steak, pork chops, burgers or just about anything!
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