Whip up a simple and delicious garlic herb butter with whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. The fresh and succulent flavours of this simple compound butter are great for slathering on meats, fish, or vegetables before grilling, for making an extra-special garlic bread, or for melting over barbecued steaks as a finishing glaze. The butter freezes well for handy use throughout the grilling season.
Our first campfire cookout this year was in early summer - a fantastic surf 'n' turf dinner of succulent venison steaks and lobster tails with a flavourful garlic herb butter, celebrating the season's green herb offerings from the garden.
I'm so happy to be cooking over the campfire again. Summer is in full swing, the garden is providing us with its bounty, and the weather has been wonderful to share outdoor meals with good friends.
Our meal this time was a tasty menu of tender venison steaks marinated in bourbon and apple cider along with small grilled lobster tails finished with our tasty garlic herb butter.
Venison-Lobster Surf 'n' Turf Campfire Grilling Menu
Grilled cubes of Tuna Belly over a salad of Grilled Shallots and Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic Herb Bread
Grilled Marinated Venison Steaks, Lobster Tails with Garlic Herb Butter, Skewers of Grilled Baby Potatoes, Tomatos, Onions & Peppers
Ebelskiver Pancake Puffs with Stewed Rhubarb and Vanilla Ice Cream
For our first course we found skewers of tuna belly at the Italian market. They were a delicious treat, simply sprinkled with salt and pepper and grilled. We served them over a bed of grilled shallots and sweet farmers market tomatoes, lightly dressed with balsamic vinegar and oil. Fire-toasted garlic bread, slathered with the herb butter made a great accompaniment. Such a delicious start to our meal. We could have eaten even more of those sweet shallots!
The main course were some beautiful lean venison rump steaks that Sabina got from a hunter friend. She marinated them overnight in a mix of apple cider, bourbon, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. After a quick sear on the fire, they were succulent and tender. A gravy made of the leftover marinade complemented the venison steaks beautifully. We grilled small lobster tails, adding generous dollops of the garlic herb butter for a memorable surf 'n' turf combo. Vegetable skewers threaded with parboiled baby potatoes, more of those sweet tomatoes, onions, and peppers added more wonderful smoky campfire flavours.
The dessert was a treat of the season's rhubarb stewed in a cast iron pan with Grande Marnier liqueur and honey. We served it over tasty little pancake puffs cooked over the fire in a Danish Ebelskiver pan. A wonderful end to the season's first campfire meal.
Along with campfire cooking, you can always expect some smoke, but that's part of the fun outdoor atmosphere.
How to Make this Easy Garlic Herb Butter
You'll need a few simple ingredients to make this versatile compound butter:
Make sure your butter is soft enough to spread so you can easily mix in all the ingredients. If the butter is fridge-cold, soften it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
Then just chop your herbs finely - use only the leaves. Zest the lemon with a microplane grater and also finely grate the garlic. A pinch of allspice adds a subtle complexity that brings out the herbs' flavours (but if you don't have it, the butter will still be great).
Stir it all together and your herb butter is made.
Which Herbs to Use?
Use whatever herbs you have in your garden or can find in the store. Soft herbs like parsley, dill, basil, cilantro, chervil, tarragon, chives, garlic chives and oregano are great. Use just the leaves and discard the stems. Try to use at least three different herbs for a mixed herb butter, but if all you've got is one type of fresh herb, you'll still have a great compound butter.
If using some of the stronger, hard-stemmed herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, or mint, use only a small amount, like 1-2 teaspoons in the total mix, as they can overpower the delicate flavour of the butter.
How to Store the Herb Butter
Pack the finished herb butter into an empty jar or plastic container, close with a lid and store in the fridge for up to a week. Or for longer storage, scrape the butter onto a sheet of plastic food wrap or parchment paper, shape it into a rough log with a spatula, then roll it up into a cylinder that's about 1½-inches (4cm) thick. Twist up the ends, and put the butter roll into a ziptop freezer bag. It will keep frozen for up to 6 months.
Then whenever you want to use some of the butter, just unroll it, cut off as many slices as you need, and refreeze the rest of the roll. Let the butter slices come to room temperature and then use them as needed.
How to Use Garlic Herb Butter
For fish and seafood - spread a thick layer of the butter on fish or seafood before grilling or on the top after turning the fish and cooking the first side.
For red meats (like steaks) grill them first, then add a pat of the herb butter on top of the meat right after grilling and let it melt over the meat to provide a rich and luscious glaze and a layer of finishing flavour.
For grilled vegetables: brush them with the garlic herb butter near the end of their grilling time.
For garlic bread, spread the garlic herb butter onto each side of the slices of a loaf of French bread, put the slices back together and wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and grill or heat it in the oven until the butter is melted and the bread is crisped up.
See our other Campfire Cooking Meals here:
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Garlic Herb Butter
- ½ cup (115gms) soft unsalted butter
- finely grated zest of half a lemon
- 1 clove garlic, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or green onions
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, leaves only
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
- If the butter is too cold to spread easily, heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it.
- Finely chop the herbs, discarding the stems. Zest the lemon and grate the garlic on a microplane grater.
- Stir together all the ingredients until well incorporated in the butter.
- Pack the butter into a jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or scrape it onto a piece of plastic food wrap or parchment paper and roll it up, shaping it into a roll that is 1½-inches (4cm) in diameter. Twist the ends, then pop the roll into a ziptop freezer bag and freeze it for up to 6 months. When needed, remove it from the freezer, unwrap and cut off as many slices as needed and return the rest to the freezer.
- Makes ⅔ cup (160ml).