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Could Butter Get Any Better?

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Just when you thought steaks couldn’t get any better, fish couldn’t melt in your mouth any faster or pork chops couldn’t be any juicier, hello, compound butters! They’re something that is so easy to make and add more flavor to already great food. 

I started using compound butters about five years ago; the first time I used it was on barbecued salmon. The flavor was so amazing that I couldn’t understand why I didn’t know about it before then. The salmon just melted in my mouth. The meat was moist and flaky with the great flavor of garlic, lemon and, of course, butter. 

Once I had my first taste of compound butter, I went crazy trying out new flavors. It’s not just great on meat but on so many other things you will be serving. Side dishes for your meal will turn into a new experience of fun flavors. It was fantastic on corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, potatoes, bread and mushrooms; I could go on and on but I think you get what I’m saying. You can even make sweet compound butter for pancakes, French toast and even oatmeal. Just think how great sweet compound butters would be when having a pancake bar for family or friends. I’m getting hungry just thinking about all the options. Basically, anything you could imagine putting butter on you can add compound butter to make your favorite food even better. It’s like marinating after the cooking process instead of before.  

Today I’m going to share recipes for savory butters because in our family we barbecue 12 months out of the year. These butters take an already great meal and make it just a bit better for great occasions or to make the usual meal unusual on a whole different level. We don’t use them all the time but for a change there is not much better than these butters. Hope you try some of these and enjoy the outcome of amazing food.

(These apply to all of the compound butter ideas below)
• Use unsalted butter to control the salt.
• Soften the butter first; it makes it easy to combine in the flavors.
• Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to incorporate all the flavors.
• Chill each log for a least 1 hour or freeze for 20 to 30 minutes before using.
• Create your own seasoning blends using fresh herbs and spices.

Lemon Dill Garlic Compound Butter
(I use this on fish)
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ lemon zest plus juice of ½ lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Pinch of kosher salt

Spicy Buffalo Compound Butter
(Pork chops come alive with this one)
½ cup butter, room temperature
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot sauce
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Parmesan and Smoked Paprika Compound Butter
(Yummy on corn on the cob)
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of kosher salt

Herb Garden Compound Butter
(My chicken favorite)
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon rosemary finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sage, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced

Steak House Compound Butter
(Love this on steak)
1 cup butter, room temperature
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

I just can’t help myself. I’m going to share one of my favorite sweet compound butters. It’s so good on pancakes, waffles or French toast.

Maple Pecan Compound Butter
(Waffles with this and fresh peaches)
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar

In this compound butter you will need to place the syrup and brown sugar in a microwavable bowl. Heat for about 30 seconds to about 1 minute to dissolve the brown sugar. Let cool before adding it to your softened butter and pecans. Then combined all ingredients and form a log.

Here is a little tip to help keep those nice flavorful logs of butter in shape. I like to take a paper towel tube and cut it long ways. Roll your log to about the same size as the inside of the tube. Place your butter inside the tube and tape it closed. Using a marking pen, label the tube as to what flavor is inside; I also date it. These will last in the freezer up to 30 days. They are great make-ahead favorites for your next barbecue. Again, I have pulled out one of those great cards from my recipe box to share with some of my favorite people: you. ■