Befriend the barbeque
One of the many reasons we cherish summer is that we can’t resist the urge to get outside and fire up the grill. Fruits and vegetables, flatbreads and pizzas, proteins — you name it — the options are endless! The grill is an amazingly versatile tool that offers an efficient way to cook all kinds of cuisine. We savor smoky flavor and gush over gorgeous grill marks. Bonus: barbecuing outside often spares some of the misery of messy kitchen clean up. O the glory of grilling!
Below are a few of our top tips for grilling veggies, fruits and proteins as well as a few of our favorite recipes to fix over the flame. Cheers to barbeque bliss!
- Cut your vegetable(s) of choice into workable pieces, making sure they’re large enough not to slip through the grate to a fiery fate below. Consider using a skewer or grill basket for bite-sized items like cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
- Season veggies with a light coating of olive oil to prevent them from drying out and losing their juicy goodness. Add herbs, spices, or simply a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and sea salt as desired. Alternatively, marinate them with your favorite vinaigrette.
- To avoid burning your veggies, first sear them over high heat and then relocate them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.
- Keep an eye on cook time, which varies by veggie. Most cook quickly. Dense items, such as carrots, beets and potatoes, do take longer. You might precook these first, then toss them on the grill for a hint of that smoky zest.
- Make sure your grill is clean and clear of grime, char buildup, etc. While the remnants of past cookouts may pair well with meaty mains, fruits do not fare as well with a less-than-great grate.
- Using a paper towel doused in a bit of vegetable oil or a neutral oil of choice, slick the grate instead of coating the fruit directly to avoid greasy tasting fruit. Save the good stuff (olive oil) for tasty recipes.
- Select fruit that is just barely ripe and slightly firm, so that it will hold up in the heat and won’t turn into messy mush. See the first tip on grilling veggies for slicing suggestions.
- Keep it simple. Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit and enhances their vibrant flavors, so it’s usually not necessary to add extra sweetness.
- Let meat sit at room temperature while you preheat the grill, which will help it to cook evenly.
- Season with salt and pepper, herbs and/or spices, or gently apply a rub in advance. Alternatively, marinade with your favorite vinaigrette for 30 minutes up to two hours.
- If grilling fish, you might consider making a foil packet, using a plank, grilling or fish basket to keep it from flaking or falling apart. If you’re lusting for grill lines, be sure to clean and oil the grate before laying your fillet over the flames.
- Once on the grill, let it be. Allow the meat to develop a seared crust before you flip it. If meat is sticking to the grate, it’s not ready to be flipped yet. A general rule of thumb: flip as infrequently as possible.
- For thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, first sear over high heat and then move to a lower-temp locale on the grill to allow the meat to cook thoroughly on the inside without burning the outside.
- For perfection, use a meat thermometer to ditch the guesswork in determining when meat is done. It’s an affordable and worthwhile investment that will boost your BBQ confidence.
- Let cooked meat rest uncovered and undisturbed for five to ten minutes afterwards to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for ultimate moisture and flavor. Settle, slice, serve and savor!
Hungry yet? We sure are!
Our go-to grilling recipes:
And while these aren’t grilled, we think they go great alongside the above recipes: