They say that scent is the strongest link to memory and BBQs are a great reminder of how true that is. Nothing says summers like the smokey smell and taste of fresh, grilled food. Cooking outdoors is a great way to reduce A/C costs on those really hot days and the flavor of food cooked on the BBQ is divine.
There is so much more one can do with outdoor cooking beyond the staple burgers and hotdogs. Cooking food on the grill’s open fire chars’ certain areas, causing the sugars in many foods to begin to caramelize. This brings out the sweet flavors and it is a great way to enhance the taste of vegetables and many other eatables that one may not have considered before.
With a few accessories for the BBQ, like a grill basket so smaller items don’t fall through the cracks, you can grill almost anything. People have even been known to use their covered BBQ for summer baking. The possibilities are endless, and you can get gourmet or keep it simple.
There are many easy-to-make marinade recipes that can bring out the flavors in your grilled meals. Most can be made with staple ingredients like vinegar, oil, mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. But if you don’t want to bother with all of that, most things taste great grilled with plain oil and salt.
Here are a few suggestions to start the brainstorm about what can be thrown on the grill for summer cookouts.
This firm, unripened, brined Middle Eastern cheese is one of a small number of cheeses that doesn’t melt when it comes in contact with heat. Especially if the BBQ has a top rack, mid-sized chunks of this cheese can withstand the heat of the grill, staying solid until they begin to char around the edges. The cheese retains its shape but gets a bit gooey on the inside when it’s done.
The taste is very salty, and it is a great addition to grilled vegetable salads. It also works as an alternative to cheddar on cheeseburgers.
This log of cornmeal originates in Italy and has many applications in the kitchen. It tastes like carbohydrate-laden comfort food and is a great alternative to filling up on grilled potatoes (although they’re great too).
Simply slice the polenta log into ½ inch slices, brush with oil, salt, and place on a medium grill. It’s ready to flip when it starts to get charred and crispy on the grill side. Don’t flip too soon or it will stick to the grill and fall through the cracks. For those who are new to grilling polenta, you can place the slices in a grill basket to reduce this issue.
The grilled polenta tastes great as the base of stacks you can make with the haloumi and other ingredients described here, or whatever other ingredients you’ve got on hand.
The untrained eye may mistake this fruit for a banana in the produce aisle. It certainly looks similar, but plantain is bigger, has darker skin that develops black streaks when ripe and it can’t be eaten raw.
Plantain can be cooked in a variety of ways. Frying and roasting are popular methods, but they can also be cooked on the grill. You can wrap it in foil whole and place it on a medium grill. For a more smokey flavor, it can be placed directly on the grill, but it needs a close eye if this method is chosen. It is high in sugar and becomes quite soft when very ripe. As such, it can quickly go from raw to burnt if not tended vigilantly over a low grill.
In the Caribbean, fried plantain is used as a breakfast side, whereas roasted plantain is used as a dinner side. Usually, riper, softer plantain is preferred for frying. Firmer, less sweet plantain is the traditional preference for a roasted dinner accompaniment.
Like red peppers, yellow zucchinis are simply a more ripened stage of the green variety more commonly seen in the grocery store. A bit of extra ripeness makes quite a difference to the taste of this garden variety vegetable.
As with all fruit, as it ripens, the yellow zucchini is much sweeter than green. The grill brings out that sweetness to its full advantage. Like plantain, it can be trimmed, oiled, and salted and placed on the grill whole. It’s much denser though so the cooking time is much longer. If you are making both as part of the same meal, start the zucchini much sooner.
Grilled yellow zucchini is a great ingredient in summer pasta salads. It’s also fantastic as a burger or pizza topping.
Portobellos are usually the go-to mushroom for grilling. They’re delicious so that’s easy to understand, but oyster mushrooms provide a nice change of pace that can rival the portobello for flavor when cooked on the grill.
These dense, mid-sized mushrooms have an almost meaty texture and some great sweet and salty notes that come out when they are grilled.
Like all mushrooms, they absorb marinades like a sponge and there are many great marinade ideas that enhance their flavor. The variety originates from Asia and pairs especially nicely with marinades that include Asian condiments such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and rice vinegar.
As with the zucchini, the grilled mushrooms work great in pasta salads, and as pizza and burger toppings. They’re also so tasty on their own that cooks may gobble them up before they can make them into any other dishes.
There’s nothing quite like that smoky smell wafting through the backyard as you relax on your patio in the summer. Having comfortable patio furniture in Naples, FL helps you to enjoy what matters: good food, good company, and great memories. Complete your cookout experience with great outdoor furniture in Naples, FL. The same retailers can help if you need game room furniture in Naples.