Nothing beats the ease, quickness and deliciousness of the grill. When summertime hits and the weather is hot, the last thing you want to do is heat your kitchen with your oven or slave over burners on the stove. And don’t even get me started on dishes. Not only does cooking with fire satisfy your innermost caveman, it imparts a unique smoky flavor to your food (especially if you’re using a charcoal or wood pellet grill). So, like any sensible guy, you’re going to want to grill just about anything you can get away with grilling. Lucky for you, it turns out that list may be a lot longer than you thought. Without further ado, here’s a collection of things you should stop baking and frying and start cooking over an open flame like God intended.
Believe it or not, it’s becoming increasingly common to grill desserts. This is especially true if you have one of those fancy smokers where you can set and forget the temperature as reliably as an oven. In fact, grilling your dessert can give it an incredibly unique smoky flavor, and there are so many options. One is to individually wrap baseball-sized chunks of apple pie filling and dough in tin foil and then grill on medium heat for delicious, single-service apple pie. Another great option is grilled s’mores. Set half of the grill to medium-high heat and leave the other half off. Place two graham cracker halves directly on the grill, with one covered in chocolate and the other with a marshmallow.
Wait until everything is properly melted and sandwich the pieces. You can also make s’mores nachos by placing chocolate and marshmallow over a bed of graham crackers in a metal pan and grilling on medium high. Chocolate chip cookies also take surprisingly well to smoke. Place a metal tray of your favorite cookie doughblend over indirect heat in your smoker and watch how pleasantly surprised everyone is when they bite into them. If you have a propane grill, you can achieve the same smoky flavor by filling a packet of tin foil with wood chips, poking holes in it, and placing it over direct heat next to your food. Grilling is also a great option to add a twist to traditional baked goods. Put pound cake or muffins over high heat for just a couple of minutes to give the outside a delicious crisp and grill marks.
Grilling fruits properly caramelizes the natural sugars, which makes them even sweeter. What’s more, fruit soaks up the smoky flavor of your grill really well, and cross-hatched grill marks on the fruit in your fruit platter are sure to attract some positive attention . Most fruits will taste great coming off of the grill. Favorites include pineapple (duh), watermelon, strawberry, citrus, peaches and plums. There are, however, a few things you need to watch out for. For one, as fruits cook, they’re going to lose some of their structure. To keep them from falling through the grate, cut them into large pieces.
If you’re cooking smaller fruits, like berries, make kabobs. Second, use high heat and make sure your grill is cleaned to avoid sticking. Finally, and this goes for anything you want to put nice grill marks on, make sure you leave the fruit in place for at least a few (3-4) minutes before flipping them or checking for grill marks since you won’t be able to put them back down in the exact same position. You can enjoy grilled fruits on their own or as part of a recipe. Some great recipes with grilled fruit include grilled apple and brie flatbread, grilled watermelon mint salad, and grilled pear or apple and sweet potato salad.
Get creative with it. If it won’t melt ,there’s a good chance it’ll be even better with a little smoke flavor from the grill. Smoky flavor does wonders in guacamole. Oil, salt and pepper the peppers and onions in your guac and throw them on the grill before you chop and add them. You can even halve and char the avocados if you really want a smoky guacamole. But be careful, avocados are delicate. Grilled cheese sandwiches are another excellent choice (seems obvious,I know). Just place your sandwiches directly on the grill on medium/high heat and flip once the bread reaches your desired crispiness.
You can also try heating your frozen hash browns on the grill. Just place in a tinfoil pouch with oil, salt, pepper and bouillon and wait until they’re tender enough to eat. Finally, if you must eat salad, there are a number of great grilled salad recipes floating around. Delicious options include grilled romaine heart salad, chili-lime and sweet corn salad (which doesn’t have lettuce but still counts as a salad), and grilled polenta and romaine salad.
The key to grilling lettuce is to set the grill to high heat, lightly oil the leaves, and place them directly on the grill for a short time (approximately 1 minute). While your steak, ribs and burgers will always be the stars of the show, these recipes will hopefully give you the option to make entire meals—including sides, entrees and desserts—using nothing other than your grill. Thank me later when you’re not scrubbing grease out of pans after dinner.