There are few things more synonymous with summer than barbecues. Some of my best memories of the season include outdoor parties with teammates after swim practice or on the first game day of the season. I remember working in the kitchen at the grill during sleepaway camp while my friends worked as counselors. At this time, my barbecue know-how revolved around the standard bratwurst, burger, and sausage dishes. When I began working in professional kitchens, I learned that there are plenty of additions that go beyond the standard grilling fare. From stone fruit to whole fish, there’s so much to play with. Get ready to go from barbecue beginner to grill master with these 10 super-simple ideas.
Did you know you can grill herbs? I like to use rosemary as a kabob stick for baby potatoes. It adds an incredible depth of flavor and keeps them from rolling around the grill. Boil the potatoes first until they're nice and tender. Poke through the rosemary sticks, and brush the potatoes with olive oil. Place them on the grill for 12 minutes on each side to cook.
Brush fresh plums and apricots with olive oil, then place them face down on the grill. After about three minutes, pull them off and drizzle with honey and sprigs of fresh thyme. This gives a heartiness to the sweets, making them perfect desserts for the savory types.
I love grilled watermelon with halloumi cheese and fresh mint. Brush the watermelon with olive oil and grill for about five minutes. You’ll find that the salty flavor of the halloumi cheese contrasts beautifully with the sweet watermelon. Add some fresh mint, and drizzle some olive oil on top. This is one of my favorite summer salads.
Fresh, soft garlic is a delightful addition to your bread. Cut the top off of a head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and wrap it in tin foil. Let the garlic slow-roast for about an hour. Right before you're ready to serve it, slice rustic baguettes in half, brush with olive oil, and let them cook on the grill before spreading warm garlic on top.
Grilled romaine is one recipe I didn’t learn about until later in life, and it’s a game-changer. Keep the hearts intact, and grill until brown. I like to make an easy lemon vinaigrette with preserved lemon. Delish!
While you may not want to ruin a good thing, grilling avocados can gives them a whole other texture. This can accompany either a rustic loaf or a grilled romaine salad from above. Brush them lightly with either lemon juice or olive oil. Place them face down for two to three minutes and serve.
Pineapple is the essence of summer to me, and once you pop it onto the grill, the heat brings out all of the natural juices and flavors. Cut them into spears or rings, and throw them on the grill for two to three minutes on each side. Serve plain, put them on top of ice cream, or add flavor to that rum punch!
So you may have had grilled artichokes before, but I couldn't keep them off the list. People typically boil them and then serve, but I like to take it to the next level. Boil them for about 15 minutes, slice them in half, and grill for about five to 10 minutes. Serve with aioli. They look beautiful and taste even better.
While grilling whole fish may be something that some home cooks might find intimidating, it’s actually the easiest way to prepare fish. The best additions are grilled lemons. Fill your sliced, whole fish with salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs, and sliced lemons. Cook until the skin crisps, or about four minutes on each side. Go for a snapper, sea bass, or branzino—make sure it’s scaled and fresh from the sea!
Like we suggested above, throw some lemons on the grill for two minutes until the juices start to pour out and the edges are slightly charred. Squeeze them onto your fish, artichokes and avocados, or use them to add a pop of color on your plate.
Now get out there and grill with the help of a few tools for all your summer BBQs:
What ingredients are you bringing to the grill this summer?