It's summertime and the living is easy. The sun is blazing and so is your barbecue. But you don't have to limit yourself to hot dogs and hamburgers. Whether you're a charcoal chick or a gas guy, here are 10 foods you'll definitely want to try on the grill.
Asparagus falls into the realm of vegetables that lose their nutrients the longer they're cooked. Grilling is a great way to add flavor to asparagus while retaining its nutritional value. And it's super easy! Just toss the stems in olive oil, wrap them in foil, and put them on the grill for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with a little cheese and some fresh black pepper, and voila -- a tasty and healthy side dish. And you thought asparagus was best in the steamer.
That smoky grill flavor is a great complement to the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes. You can wrap your sweet potato in tin foil and poke holes in it before placing it on the grill, or cut it into slices and set them directly on the grates. Sweet potato strips are also a perfect substitute for traditional fries with your burger.
Eggs on the grill, you ask? You betcha! It's best to use a griddle that fits on your grill, but you can also use a cast iron skillet for some smoky grill flavor in your eggs. Sausage links can be placed right on the grates. And no morning feast would be complete without breakfast potatoes. Slice them into hashbrowns or cut into chunks and toss them in a grill pan.
Grilled fruit is a culinary exercise in smoky sweetness. Firm fruits like apples and pears work best for grilling. Pineapple and banana are also good choices. Cut your fruit into large slices, and soak them in water for about 30 minutes so they don't dry out on the grill. You'll want to coat the fruit in butter or oil and be sure to clean off the grates. Serve as an appetizer or a delicious dessert paired with a dry white wine.
The smoke of a grill can add a certain je ne sais quois to everything from grilled biscuits to French toast. Did you know that you can also bake bread right on the grill? Gas grills are best because they provide a constant temperature. Also, you'll need a covered grill with a second shelf to do it right. Simply put your loaves on a pan and wait 30 minutes for yummy bread straight from the grill.
Nothing beats the flavor of a tomato plucked right off the vine, you say? Perhaps you haven't tried a grilled tomato. A tomato cooked over high heat on the grill is sweet and smoky. They're also excellent to use in pasta sauces, salsas or simply topped with cheese and popped right in your mouth. Tomatoes with thick skin, like the plum variety, work best for grilling.
Beer Can Chicken
This easy peasy recipe is one part meal, one part party trick. It calls for a whole bird, a few spices and a half can of beer. You simply mix the spices in with the beer, seat the chicken on the beer can, and pop it on the grill, simultaneously amusing and nourishing your guests.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 ½ tsp of paprika
- 1 tsp of ground black pepper
- ½ tsp of onion powder
- ½ tsp of garlic powder
- ½ tsp of cayenne pepper
- beer can stand/beer can
- Heat the grill to medium high heat.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt, paprika, ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
- Rub the outside and inside cavity of the chicken with the spices.
- Tuck the wing tips under.
- Fill a beer can stand with 1/2 a can of beer, or use a 1/2 filled beer can.
- Holding the chicken upright, slide it over the stand/can so it fits inside the cavity.
- Cook with the grill closed for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
All you need to bake a cake on your grill is a cast iron baking pan and a heat tolerant thermometer. You can't control the temperature on your grill quite like you can in your oven, so you may have to do some manual venting if the temps get too hot. Once it's off the grill, let it cool, then let them eat cake.
Nuts on the grill are an unexpectedly delicious treat, and you can easily make your own for guests to munch on while the entrees are cooking. Just toss them in a foil baking pan or a grill pan and place them on the grill. Add a little honey and brown sugar for a sweet snack, or get out the chili oil and Worcestershire for a spicy batch. For best results, buy raw nuts that haven't already been smoked or salted.
Pizza is a party favorite, so why not serve it at a summer barbecue? You'll want to cook your crust first, then add toppings. You can use either a pizza stone or just set it directly on the grill grates. Close the grill top for thorough cooking. Thinner crusts tend to crisp up better, so try your hand at flatbread pizzas. One of the trickiest things can be getting the raw pizza off the cookie sheet and onto the grates. A little cornmeal sprinkled on the dough will loosen it up, or you can run a piece of dental floss under the crust.
Barbecue season is upon us in all its mouth-watering glory. What's your BBQ IQ? Find out with this quiz.
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