Memorial Day is just around the corner, and you know what that means -- it's grilling time. You might have used your grill here and there throughout the spring season, but as the summer months approach, get ready for back-to-back weekends (and even weeknights) of grilling your food.
Of course, you could start the grilling season by sizzling a nice juicy steak or simple beef patty for a burger on the grill, but why not get a bit creative and spice things up (literally and metaphorically). Here are ten foods you should throw on the grill to kick off grilling season.
Take the skillet outside and make your favorite fruit cobbler (peach, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, plum, etc.). Cook the fruit with water, sugar and lemon juice (it adds some tang) in a skillet on the grill until the fruit softens. Drop dollops of sweet biscuit dough on top, cover with aluminum foil, then let it cook until the biscuits are done. Add a scoop of ice cream to each serving for the perfect finishing touch. Try this skillet-cooked mixed berry grunt recipe from Martha Stewart.
9. Grilled Fruit Cocktails
Wet your whistle and quench your thirst with something grilled. No, you're not going to grill liquid; that's impossible. But, you can grill the fruit you add to your cocktails. You essentially caramelize the fruit as you grill it. Take a standard sangria recipe and enhance the sweetness by grilling every item before adding to the pitcher of wine and brandy, or make a piña colada with grilled pineapple.
Who doesn't love pizza? Sit outside with friends and family as you plop flatbread dough brushed with olive oil onto the grill. Remove the crusts once cooked, decorate with sauce, cheese and toppings, then place each back on the grill to finish cooking. It's as easy as pie. Take a whack at Bobby Flay's grilled margherita pizza recipe.
7. Grilled Cheese Wheel
Spend a relaxing evening outside with cheese, wine and fruit. But, instead of making a standard cheese tray, place a cheese wheel of Brie or Camembert on the grill to soften and warm, as suggested by Martha Stewart. Toss some baguette slices brushed with olive oil on the grill as well, then dive in to this gooey cheese wheel. Pour yourself a glass of wine, kick back and relax.
6. Baby Back Ribs
To me, it's just not summertime if I don't have baby back ribs. As a kid, I always loved eating a half rack of ribs, then jumping in the pool to clean myself off -- because, who doesn't get BBQ sauce all over their cheeks when they eat ribs? Slow cook a couple racks of ribs throughout the afternoon, slather them with BBQ sauce and enjoy for dinner.
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5. Banana S'more Boats
If you have children, or just have a huge sweet tooth, then you'll want to make this campfire dessert. Take your standard roasted marshmallows to a whole new level by splitting a banana in half, then filling it with miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips and crushed graham crackers. Wrap the sucker in aluminum foil, then place on the grill. The banana will soften while the chocolate chips and marshmallows begin to melt.
You could make hot dogs on the grill, but why would you do that when you can make bratwursts? My dad is from Wisconsin, so the Dunn household grew up on grilled brats. We love these pork sausages and always pair them with sweet grilled onions and peppers. Of course, brats are great on their own, but you can't go wrong by placing them in hot dog buns.
3. Mexican Corn
Grilled corn is always nice, but grilled Mexican corn is even better. Coat your grilled corn with mayonnaise, then roll in cotija cheese or crumbled queso fresco. Season with a lime zest and juice, plus cayenne pepper or chili powder and salt. It's messy, but so scrumptious.
2. Fish Tacos
Embrace the summer by making refreshing fish tacos on the grill, like these from Food & Wine. Grill blackened tilapia, tuna or snapper, then cut into cube-size pieces. Stuff into corn tortillas with shredded Napa cabbage, diced red onions, tomatoes, avocado and sauteed sweet white onions; top with a creamy chipotle sauce and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. A couple fish tacos pair great with yellow rice and a grilled cocktail.
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1. BBQ Chicken
If there's one thing I always grill during the summer, it's BBQ chicken. I can't get enough of it. Tender chicken breasts and wings smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce may be simple, but it's still finger-licking good. Grill Mexican corn alongside it and pair the combo with a cold beer for the ultimate grilled meal.