Oh sure, there are those of us who will always shovel a path through drifting snow to grill on the deck in the middle of a blizzard, but the big friends-and-family gathering at the start of summer really kicks off grilling season. What’s better than a long weekend, playing ball with the kids, the first cannonball into the pool and the annual cracking open of the Weber or Big Green Egg?
But what to serve other than burgers and dogs, thick steaks and massive amounts of chicken? You can’t just throw it on the grill and call it good. Rubs and marinades are key to amping up the flavor.
Think outside the box this summer
There’s more than teriyaki sauce or Italian dressing for your marinades. Gochujang is a staple in Korean cooking. It’s savory, salty, spicy and sweet, all at the same time. Use a spoonful to top burgers, or use it in a marinade for chicken or pork.
Indian-inspired Tandoori Chicken will have everyone wondering how the chicken didn’t dry out on the grill. (hint: it’s the yogurt)
Cedar-plank that slab of wild salmon with a tangy maple glaze. Blend 1/3 cup of real maple syrup (none of that pancake syrup stuff!) with a Tablespoon each of orange juice, lemon juice, and hoisin sauce. Brush on the salmon just before it’s done.
Don’t forget the sides
Bell peppers can be roasted on the grill. The smoky flavor is a great addition to the summertime grill plate, and they can be done ahead and eaten at room temperature. Perfect when thinly sliced on top of burgers with some grilled onions and cheddar cheese.
Think about grilling halves of romaine lettuce for a smoky Caesar salad. And you’ll have everyone asking for more when you plate up some Mexican street corn––lime juice, chili powder, and sprinkled with cotija cheese.
Last, but not least––the desserts
Try briefly grilling thick slices of pound cake along with some pineapple slices (they’ll take a little longer than the pound cake). Drizzle a cooked rum-orange juice glaze on them, topping it with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.
So, all you’ve got to do this summer is Think Grill. Well, that and mow the lawn…and trim the hedges…and clean out the garage. But fortified with some inventive grilled food, you can accomplish all of that, and more!