You invested a lot of time and money into putting together your outdoor kitchen area, especially the grill. You love to use your grill for big get-togethers and your own specialty entree dishes, but you may not use the grill as much as you want to or thought you would when you bought it.
Knowing the extent of the creativity you can use when selecting food for the grill can help you integrate this piece of equipment more fully into your meal plans. However, it’s also important to know which foods cannot be grilled effectively.
In this blog, we share five foods that are great for grilling and three foods that you should always prepare on your indoor cooktop or in the oven instead.
Unexpectedly Delicious Grilling Foods
You know that many meats and other hearty main dish foods taste even better with grill marks. But it may surprise you to discover that the following other foods can also be improved with the heat, fire and smoke of a grill.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a beloved hot sandwich classic. But in this case, “grilled cheese” refers just to cheese itself that can then be used as a gooey topping for crackers, bruschetta, crostini and more.
To create bite-sized morsels that have classic char on the outside and soft melty cheese on the inside, choose a cheese with a rind that can withstand a little heat. Camembert and brie work well for this purpose.
Your traditional donut is decadently fried, but adding your grill to the equation can impart a wonderful complexity of flavor to make your homemade donuts a treat for even the most discerning of palates.
Choose a sugar dusting to achieve great caramelization on the outside of the dough. For grilling purposes, avoid glazes unless you want to apply that coating over the grill marks once the dough is cooked.
Like donuts, cooked pickles usually come fried. When you grill a pickle, however, you get a similar indulgent effect without the added work or calories of fry breading.
Choose firm, large pickles that are ideal as finger foods or side dishes. These pickles can be served alone as a satisfyingly crunchy snack or paired with a sandwich or burger.
- Pound Cake
Donuts are far from the only dessert you can prepare on a grill. Grilled dessert foods can be the ideal finishing note for a barbeque meal. Grilling makes pound cake crumbly and delectable, perfect for serving with fruit, syrups or whipped cream.
For a dessert solution that’s a little less labor intensive, use your favorite store-bought pound cake instead of making your own.
Watermelon is one of the most traditional summer and backyard barbeque dishes. Put a new spin on this old favorite by putting the cut slices on the grill before serving. Grilling naturally sweet foods, like melon, emphasizes and deepens the sweetness by caramelizing the outside of each piece.
If grilled watermelon is a hit with your friends and family, you may also want to try grilling other fruits. Any fruit that stays firm and has minimal moisture when cut can be grilled. Try bananas, mangoes and citrus fruit to round out your cookout menu.
Foods That Your Grill Can’t Do Justice To
While your grill is great for a lot, the cooking process can diminish rather than complement some foods. Avoid putting these foods on your grill.
- Flaky and Oily Fish
Grilled fish can be a healthy and appealing alternative to traditional meat entrees. However, not all varieties of fish work well on the grill. Flaky fish, like cod and halibut, and oily fish, like salmon, are better left to the oven.
For delicate, flaky cuts of fish, the grill can mask the texture and the flavor inherent in the meat. These fish may also come apart when grilled, leaving you with a mess and much smaller portions.
For oily fish, the grilling process sucks up all the natural oil, whereas other cooking methods allow the fattiness to render out and create the unctuousness characteristic for these cuts. Use firmer fish, like tuna, and when you’re dying to add seafood to your grill menu.
- Lean Meat
Cuts of meat with very little fat in them tend not to caramelize when grilled, instead drying out and becoming tough to cut and chew.
For example, filet mignon is difficult to cook evenly on the grill because the outside starts to overcook almost immediately, while the inside may not cook through due to the size of each piece.
- Pizza With Toppings
Grill marks can be the perfect finish for flatbread. However, the average household grill doesn’t provide even or consistent enough heat to cook a fully loaded pizza all the way through.
Use these grill food selection guidelines to ensure that your family benefits fully from the joys of the tenderness, smokiness, and delicious flavor your grill can evoke.
In the market for a new grill? Consult with Alpine Fireplaces to find both built-in and portable grill options perfect for your home.