Summer inTexas, ugh- what to cook on the grill
It gets so hot in my house in Texas in the summer that I rarely cook anything that can't be nuked or cooked on the grill outside. After the first month(in week 3 now) I always get bored with what I cook.
So, are there things that you cook on the grill(called a bbq in some places) that are unusual- things that most folks would have not thought to cook on a grill? For example, pizza is something that I have not yet tried but intend to try soon.
Thanks for any tips,
Oysters and/or clams. Place whole directly on grill grate. Cook on medium/high flame, flipping occasionally so the shell doesn't burn, until they just crack open. Remove and open the rest of the way with a knife. Serve with a squeeze of lemon or just plain. I could eat 2 dozen by myself.
We also do a lot of corn and other veggies on the grill.
Grill avocados for guacamole. Halve them and place them cut side down for a few minutes.
Grill peaches, plums and pineapple for dessert. Halve and place cut side down. Sprinkle with brown sugar and serve with ice cream.
Grill whole chickens (can be done multiple ways...spatchcocked, beer can, whole in an aluminum pan). Use the cooked chicken for things like burritos, tacos, barbecue sandwiches, or eat plain.
You can actually buy those disposable aluminum pans at the grocery and cook lots of things on the grill, like you would in an oven. We've done beans, potatoes au gratin, mixed vegetables, lasagna and lots of other things that are usually baked. The trick is controlling the heat.
This is my first summer in Texas and well...it should be interesting!
Steven Raichlin's "How to Grill" is a great primer on grilling-great illustrations and detailed instructions for both gas and charcoal grills. Also, the recipes include much more than standard BBQ fare-in essence, it is first-rate cookbook that just happens to use the grill has the cooking medium
I am totally with you on this one Spencer. I'm not even down in Texas, but my house tends to be pretty stuffy (it's a townhouse..there's only so many windows) so we try to cook outside as much as possible.
I'm not sure what you consider unusual...our most recent grilling adventure was a beer can chicken. Which was great, but I'd imagine is pretty ho-hum for most people. The only unusual thing that we've done recently is started using our grill as if it's a stove and just plonking our cast iron skillet right on it. Potatos au gratin on the grill was a fascinating experience.
But I'm looking forward to hearing other people's suggestions ...we're running out of interesting ideas for outside dinners. Steak, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, sausage, steak-ey fish...what else can we do?
I took an electric skillet to the garage this past weekend and fried some chicken. Worked out pretty well.
Too bad about our houses- I was just starting to get the hang of bread baking, and BAM- June was upon me. If I turn on the oven the house willl heat up to +8f and will stay there for a good 4-5 hours.
I know! I was just saying to my boyfriend the other day that it's a giant PITA not to be able to make bread when I was just starting to get good at it. We're on a pretty tight food budget and it was great to be able to make the kind of artisan-type breads at home that we'd otherwise be buying for $3 a loaf.
I've actually been thinking about trying to do bread in our camping dutch oven. (the real deal with the flat lipped lid and the legs to get burning coals on the top and bottom)
We also took the drastic step of buying this:
It was at Costco for about half that price, so we decided to go for it. We do a fair amount of camping, it's suprisingly light and it seems pretty indestructable (mostly cast aluminum). I can see myself using it as a spare stove for big holidays and other events where 4 burners just won't cut it.
We haven't actually used the stove since except on rainy days. Between the charcoal grill and this monster it's been outside only...but the lack of oven is grating on me.
I feel your pain, Spencer, esp in re bread baking. I either get up really early to bake the bread, or do it late at night. Or do it on the grilll....grilled pizza rocks, and cooking it outside on the grill allows you to play with dough without heating up the house. It is dead easy, esp if you have a gas grill. Make your favorite pizz dough, press it out onto a peel or rimless pan with lots of flour or cornmeal underneath, and top as you wish. Preheat your gas grill on high for at least 20 minutes, then turn off the center burner(s) and slide the pizza right in the middle. Close the cover, wait 5-7 minutes, then peek inside and rotate the pizza if it is browning unevenly. A 12-15" pizza cooks in just 10-12 minutes on my grill, which does delicious things to the crust. Other breads suitable for the grill include pita, naan, chapatis, and lavash. You could even do the Bittman/Lahy no-knead bread if you preheated the cast-iron pot for a good while.
I routinely grill softshell crabs, shrimp, speckled trout filets, redfish on the halfshell, oysters, corn on the cob, beer-can chickens, zucchini sliced lengthwise, stuffed tomatoes, whole bell peppers, country ribs, every sausage known to man, potato & sweet potato wedges, whole & half bone-in turkey breasts (Raichlen's turkey pastrami rub is good), turkey burgers...in short, anything that lies still in the kitchen long enough to get tossed on a platter and toted outside.
Think of your gas grill as an outside oven! I love charcoal, I have one of those, too, but nothing beats the ease of a gas grill for weeknight cooking. Get one with a high-output side burner, and you can fry chicken or make side dishes outside too.
I try to cook outside as much as possible because of the heat as well. Sometimes I put fish like salmon inside heavy duty tin foil with some olive oil, dill, wine and seasoning. Wrap up tightly and put on the grill, low heat. This steams the fish, and it's so tender.
Also wrap up some squash and onions and prepare them the same way. Best part is that you just throw away the foil, so cleanup is easy.
I discovered a great spice for Salmon from Tom Douglas:http://tomdouglas.com/products/spice-... I love the way the salmon seasoning tastes and use this regularly.
I will also just put a piece of foil on top of the grill grate and put the fish directly on the foil to cook.
Love to do kabobs with shrimp and vegetables on the grill.
Someone suggested peaches on the grill; they are really tasty and so is pineapple on the grill.
You can grill almost any fish with a light seasoning/marinade in a foil pack (it doesn't need to simply be a "meaty fish"). I made tilapia last week with a store bought ginger lemon marinade that was fabulous. Make sure though to lightly oil the foil (pam works great) to keep the fish from sticking. You can do this with shrimp too.
I find that Giada often has interesting grill recipes. You might try her cookbooks or simply steal some recipes online.
Also, there was a recent thread about what to do with boneless skinless chic. breasts that had some great suggestions for marinades, brines, etc. These might be a new way to jazz up old standbys like chicken.
Don't forget you can use your grill--coals or gas--as a heat source. That means you can use a skillet for stir-frying, sauteing, etc. Just don't forget the potholders! Pots (covered) will boil water for cooking eggs, etc. for potato salad. Just think of it as camping.
I've been tweaking my faux Mediterranean grilled meat dishes lately - think stir fry.
- Cut up some inexpensive round steak into 1/4 inch by 2 inch strips and store in a zip top bag.
- For 'souvlaki', add garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine for marination. Serve with tzatziki sauce and greek bread.
- For 'shawarma', add garlic, olive oil, and allspice for marination. Serve with tahini sauce and pita bread.
- After a few hours of marination, grill quickly on a very hot, flat surface. Just browning the edges should be enough, carry over cooking off heat will do the rest.
Search this site for more details of souvlaki and shawarma spicing and preparation; I've just listed the highlights. If you have time, by all means use a more traditional approach.
do some desserts.... whack some chopped up fruit on skewers, dust with brown sugar and grill..
I love me some whole strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar and then grilled.