Grill skills

Summer means it’s time to put that grill to work. But it doesn’t have to be all hamburgers and hot dogs. Take a look at some tasty, out-of-the-box ideas that will let your grill get a little more action.

One of the things I love the most about non-winter weather is cooking half of my meal (or more) outdoors. No, I do not camp, and I do not eat hamburgers every day. But we do take advantage of our shiny blue Weber Grill very often. For one thing, I feel like cooking some of my meal outside is somehow cheating the system. Somehow it seems like less work, less dishes, and usually tastier.

Does your grill only come face to face with burgers and dogs? Sure, they’re good, but that’s not all you can grill. Try these on for size, and let your grill get a little more action.

Grilling veggies

Most vegetables do well on the grill, but some stand out for my taste buds as being best: asparagus, corn, eggplant, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and even lettuce (yes, lettuce).

Plain Janes would just chop a few, toss them in olive oil, maybe add an herb or two, and grill them in a basket. There’s nothing wrong with that way of doing things, of course, but what about these ideas?

Corn: Soak your corn in water to keep it from being too flammable — 30 minutes should do it. Prepare a garlic butter (melt some butter, salt, pepper, and garlic salt in the microwave, stir in some grated Parmesan cheese). Peel back the husks, but do not remove them. Take the silk out, spread on the butter, and put the husks back in place, tying them at the top (I just use a piece of the husk to do this). Grill for 15 minutes.

Mushrooms: Prepare a “rub” with the following ingredients: sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Put all of the ingredients in to your food processor and pulse until you get a paste. Spread the rub on the mushrooms and grill for five to seven minutes or until tender.

Greens: You can make a show-stopping Romaine salad on the grill — YES YOU CAN! Check out these great step-by-step instructions, courtesy of Food & Wine.

Grilling fruits

Surprisingly, there is much you can do with fruit over an open flame. In fact, when you grill fruit, you eliminate most of the water, and the flavors are more concentrated because the natural sugars are caramelized. Forget the fruit salad or bowl of applesauce and light some charcoal for your fruit!

Some tips:

1. Harder fruits are easier to grill (apples, pineapples, pears), and the softer ones (peaches, plums, mangoes) will need a bit more attention.

2. Pick fruits that are almost ripe.

3. Cut fruits in half, removing seeds and cores.

4. Grill fruit over medium heat on a very clean grill rack.

Most fruits are just perfect as-is, but you can also consider some add-ons like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar (be careful with this, it burns easily), or even alcohol.

Want an idea? “Marinate” some pineapple and peaches in a mixture of rum, cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Grill then serve over vanilla ice cream. Or grill up some plums, puree them, add them to tomato sauce and jalapenos for a delicious, fruit-based BBQ sauce. Serve this over some meat that you, YES, grill!

Grilling meats and fish

I know I just lost all of you vegans and vegetarians, but I can’t very well write about grilling and exclude the category that the grill was invented for, now can I?

Here are a few of my favorite meat-on-the-grill recipes that should get you using your grill in a little different way…

Beer Butt Chicken: Yes, you can cook a whole chicken on the grill! Guys especially think this one is really cool (and tasty). Try this recipe from

Ribs: We love ribs in our house, but I don’t JUST grill them. In fact, when I have, I find they are not as tender. Prep your ribs by cutting them down a bit (about three ribs per section). Wash, pat dry, coat  the ribs with kosher salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place them on a rack on top of a cookie sheet, cover them with foil (but vent one corner) and bake at 300 degrees for three to five hours. When you’re ready to eat, light the grill, and “finish” the ribs there. Top with your favorite BBQ sauce. These ribs will fall off of the bone — a perfect crowd pleaser!

Fish: I love fish on the grill. A friend was recently visiting and taught me a great new (and impressive, I might add) way to grill your favorite fish. Slice three oranges and two lemons in to rings. Line them on the grill, almost making a dish for the fish. Sprinkle with lemon thyme or another herb of choice, add your fillet of fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and close the grill lid to cook. The fruit creates this heavenly smelling citrus steam that infuses the fish and comes out fantastic every time.

Tell me your favorite (and original) grilling ideas. I’m always looking for new ones!

  • error

    Report an error

Kelly Blanchard

Kelly Blanchard loves thinking about, preparing, consuming, and serving good food. Believing that life is to short to eat the same stuff over and over, she loves to test new eats on her friends and family. Kelly loves her coffee-addicted hubbie, her two little blonde-haired babes, all things sweet, black tshirts, and the color pink.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Annie S. on said:

    Kelly – you amaze me as always. Can’t wait to try the citrus gilled fish – fantastic idea!!

  2. Lucas on said:

    Definitely a fan of the beer-butt chicken. I did this back in may, check the picture in the Photo of the Day section. Very delicious and juicy!

  3. kelly on said:

    ps. last night we grilled the following ingredients for our toppings on a bed of fresh arugula. peaches, onion, avacado (slice it in half, keep the skin on, but take the core out). We then dressed it, and put some shavings of parm cheese. Delish – try it.

  4. Karen on said:

    My favorites: clams on the grill (either straight on the grill or in a foil pocket with butter, white wine, garlic, shallots, and parsley), wings, corn completely in its silk and husk with salt and cayenne pepper in a bowl (take a half lime, dip it in the salt and cayenne pepper, and rub it all over the corn and eat), asparagus with garlic salt and lemon pepper, potatoes in a foil packet (with garlic, evoo, rosemary, and sea salt), bacon-wrapped scallops…no plain-jane burgers and hotdogs on my grill!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Or report an error instead