Grilled Artichokes and Tangy Smoky Dipping Sauce Recipe

by Pamela

grilled artichokes, hitching post, hitching post artichoke recipe, vegetarian recipes, smoky dipping sauce

Twice a year my girlfriends and I head up to Los Olivos for Vintner’s Weekend.  It’s a girls only day…no boys allowed.  The rules are actually more strict than that: if you have a penis, you can’t come.  We’ve made the trip with as few as 2  and as many as 16 of us.   We all bring food and start with a big lunch and have snacks for the rest of the day.  Each trip gives us one person who refuses to pour or spit any of their wine, so they are the designated drunk and get relegated to the back seat (knock on wood…we’ve had no drunken accidents like broken bones or vomiting in the cars).

One of the places we sometimes end up in is The Hitching Post.  You may remember The Hitching Post from the movie Sideways.  The one thing that we all crave even more than their fine Pinot Noir, is their smoky grilled artichokes!  We’re all hopelessly addicted to that green flower (artichokes are a thistle) and that dipping sauce.

I ran across some stunningly beautiful artichokes the other day and I had to buy them.  Seriously, they were gorgeous and so inexpensive it would have been criminal not to buy them. (That’s what I told Craig when he saw them and asked what in the world I was going to do with those things, and did I know how to cook them – oh ye of little faith.)  Let’s forget the fact that I have never cooked whole artichokes before. Peshaw!  How hard could it be?

The best part of the artichoke is, of course the heart (and the stem if you’re fortunate enough to find them still attached).  This point is made more obvious by the fact that you can buy marinated and frozen artichoke hearts, but not the leaves.  The leaves are still a nice little bit of foreplay though, before you get to the piece de resistance.  After all, something so good shouldn’t come without a little bit of work, right?  Each leafy layer that gets peeled off brings you one step closer to the ‘heart’ of the matter and where all of your hard work (both cooking and eating) pays off.  These don’t taste exactly like the same recipe that they use at the Hitching Post, but I think it’s pretty darn close, maybe even better (because I can have them anytime I want).

Relationship Advice

Speaking of foreplay and peeling off layers…I thought it was time for a little education.  Mostly for you singles looking to better understand your guy.  What does your guys underwear really say about him?  (And you thought I was going to go all 7th grade health class on you.)

Briefs (aka Tighty Whities) – Mr. Responsible, Mr. No-Nonsense, Mr. Boring.  Okay, this guy could be in the military or really hate having to pull his underwear out of his butt after sitting down all day, but these underwear declare him all business.  While this is the type of guy your mom has always wanted you to marry, be aware that he might be a little uptight in areas regarding food, exercise, money and sex.  Of course, if his tighty whities aren’t actually white, but some other day-glo color or pattern, then he’s not so much of the uptight persuasion but rather a hipster who’s jean size is probably smaller than your own  – have some fun with him, but don’t think the relationship is going anywhere (that’s a serious deal breaker in my book – my butt must be smaller than my significant others.)

Boxers – This is the guy you typically want to be with.  He cares about wearing underwear, but doesn’t want to be all bound up and constricted.  He’s laid back, but not so laid back that he’ll miss that important party you need him to go to with you.  And we all know that Bill Clinton is a boxers kind of guy, so take that little piece of knowledge with you.  Don’t be fooled by the guy who wears satin boxers.  That’s a guy that’s trying waaaay too hard and is on the verge of being caught wearing your silky panties (more on that later).  Just be aware that cotton boxer guy and silk boxer guy are not the same person.

Boxer Briefs – This guy is a cross between Mr. Tighty Whitey and Mr. Boxer.  It’s really the best of both worlds here.  He’s usually well endowed (that extra support is needed because hauling that thing around all day unsupported is a chore – think of boxer briefs as a man’s version of the bra) and has a nice set of abs to show off – think Christiano Ronaldo.  He’s a player, so play on…but don’t think he’s in it for the long haul.

Banana Hammock – If this is what you see when the pants come off (or maybe get a peek of) head for the hills.  These just are not sexy, unless he’s stripping on stage and we’re drunk out of our minds when we appear to like that look.  Guys who feel the need to wear the banana hammock probably also drive those types of cars that try to compensate for their short coming in the penis department.

Your Panties – unless this is some kind of consensual act between the two of you this is another situation where you need to run for the hills.  It’s especially bad if he looks better in your panties than you do.

Commando – There’s nothing wrong with the occasional commando.  Of course it depends on the situation.  Weddings, funerals and first dates are not the proper time for leaving the drawers in the drawer.  This is a deal breaker.  It’s also not sexy if he’s going commando in khakis.  I don’t care how good his prostate is, guys dribble when they’re done peeing and pee dribbles on the pants is wrong on so many levels.  However, commando in his jeans because he needs to go on a fast morning coffee run for us is more than acceptable.

Serves 2 – 4

Makes 1 Cup of Dipping Sauce


  • 4 Artichokes
  • Lemon Juice

Grilling Sauce Recipe

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt

Dipping Sauce Recipe

  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt (non-fat works just fine)
  • 6 Garlic Cloves (roasted)
  • 1/4 Medium Red Onion (roasted – can roast with garlic)
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes (not oil packed)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chipotle Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Spanish Sweet Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt (if no smoked salt, can use 1/2 tsp kosher salt)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper


On a dinner plate, pour lemon juice to cover center of plate.  This will be used to dip cut artichokes (this keeps edges from turning brown).

Rinse the artichoke under cool running water.  Gently pull away the leaves so that the water can get between them, but don’t pull the leaves off.

Pull off any small leaves that may be attached to the stem.

Lightly towel dry the artichokes.

Prep artichokes by cutting off 1/2″ of stem (if there is still a stem attached), then dip into lemon juice.

Cut off top 1 1/2″ – 2″ of artichoke.  Dip cut edges into lemon juice.

Using a scissors, cut off the sharp points of the leaves.  Dip your fingers into the lemon juice and rub over the cut edges.

Cut the artichoke in half, lengthwise.  Dip the artichoke halves into the lemon juice.

Remove the purple leaves and hairy portion cover the choke.  You can use a grapefruit spoon or sharp knife for this part.  Again, use your fingers to cover the exposed choke with lemon juice.

Insert a steamer basket into a 5 quart pot and fill with water up to the bottom of the steamer.  Bring water to a boil, then add the artichoke halves.  Cover and steam for 25 – 30 minutes (stems or leaves should be easily pierced with a knife).  Remove from heat and let cool.

While artichokes are steaming, prepare dipping sauce.

In a food processor bowl, add in sun dried tomatoes and process them into a powder.  Next add in roasted garlic and onion and process into a smooth paste.

Spoon processed paste into a bowl.  Add in remaining ingredients from dipping sauce recipe.  Stir to combine thoroughly, and chill.

In a small pot add all ingredients for grilling sauce.  Heat over medium high heat until butter is melted.  Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Heat grill to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Put artichoke halves on grill leaf side down.  Brush exposed side with grilling sauce.  Grill for 5 minutes and flip.  Brush exposed side with grilling sauce.  Grill for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and brush choke side with grilling sauce again.

Serve 1 to 2 artichoke halves with bowl of dipping sauce per plate.

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Sabrina May 24, 2013 at 5:43 am

Sounds like a lot of work, but I think I might try it sometime. I love artichokes!

Pamela May 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

Hi Sabrina,

Yep, working with fresh artichokes can be a bit of a chore but this smoky dipping sauce also works really well with steamed/roasted/grilled asparagus spears too.

TomPier May 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

great post as usual!

roxan May 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’ve never been to Los Olivos before, but I’ll have to check it out. My husband and I were just up in Paso Robles last weekend – we’re up there a few times a year. We like to stop in Solvang on the way back sometimes too… Cute little town but I couldn’t spend more than a few hours there!

pegasuslegend May 6, 2010 at 8:54 am

love the smokey taste with these artichokes great idea~

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