As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to fire up the grill and get cooking. There’s so much to love about grilling, the way it adds flavor and texture, how you get to play with fire without getting yelled at, and that you get to spend warm summer evenings outside with friends.
When you’re thinking about what to grill this summer try to stay out of the hot dog and hamburger trap. Even though they can be delicious, there’s so much more you can do when you’re cooking with fire.
Grilling is more than just another way to cook, in many ways grilling is the direct descendant of the type of cooking our ancestors did when they gathered around their campfires. Grilling transcends the boundaries of culture and cuisine opening up the entire culinary world to anyone willing to explore it.
To help expand you’re grilling repertoire we’ve gathered some of our favorite recipes and tips.
Grilling with Fresh Herbs
One of my favorite things to use when grilling is fresh herbs, I love the way they brighten up and add interesting flavors to dishes. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage work particularly well with chicken and pork dishes. The woodiness in the herbs permeates whatever is being grilled creating completely different flavor profiles than would happen with the same ingredients cooked in an oven.
A few recipes that highlight how to use herbs on the grill are Rosemary Grilled Shrimp, Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herbs, and Grilled Mushrooms. The rosemary and lemon juice give the shrimp a decided Tuscan flavor that is especially delicious with Cheesy Polenta.
The mushroom recipe is one of those summer dishes that you can never make enough of. Whenever I make the mushrooms with a nicely grilled steak or as the topping for risotto, they’re always the first thing to vanish from the table, no matter how many little fungi are bathed in fire.
A Few Amazing Veggie Side Dishes for the Grill
Too often people forget about using the grill when it comes to vegetables, especially when it comes to side dishes, which is a shame. Add a little lemon juice and olive oil, kiss everything with a bit of fire, and you can make just about any vegetable taste delicious.
There are so many different ways to grill vegetables. Grilling sweet potatoes in a foil packet helps them cook all the way through before they get crisped up on a grill pan. The best way to roast sweet corn is to leave it in the husk letting each ear steam itself.
Cauliflower is something altogether different, with cauliflower it helps to cut it into bite-sized pieces to make sure the seasoning gets in all the nooks and crannies. Cutting the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces creates more surface area increasing the amount of char on each piece, which makes the cauliflower even more delicious.
All asparagus needs is a few minutes on a hot grill right before you’re ready to serve everything else. One thing that helps when you’re grilling vegetables is to have a good grill pan to keep the little pieces from falling through the grate.
- Grilled Cauliflower
- Roasted Sweet Corn
- Grilled Asparagus
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes
- Grilled Butternut Squash with Honey Maple Glaze
Making Your Own Barbecue Sauce Makes Everything Taste Better
One of the best things you can do to improve food from the grill or smoker is to start making your own barbecue sauces. So many of the sauces available at the supermarket are cloyingly sweet and entirely miss the whole point of barbecue which is about big, bold, flavors. Two of our best barbecue sauces are Old No 44 and Ancho Chili and Honey BBQ Sauce.
To see what I mean about bold flavors make a batch of Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken topped with some Ancho Chili BBQ Sauce, and you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the saying winner, winner chicken dinner.
If the thought of grilled chicken brings to mind slightly burnt cardboard take a read through Fall in Love with Grilled Barbecue Chicken to learn how to cook plump, juicy, perfectly grilled chicken every time.
Recipes & Tips
- Ancho Chili Rubbed Chicken
- Ancho Chili and Honey BBQ Sauce
- Fall in Love with Grilled Barbecue Chicken
- Simple Grilled BBQ Chicken
- Old No.44 BBQ Sauce
Did You Know You Had a Rotisserie in Your Backyard?
One of the coolest things you can do to up your grill game is to turn your grill into a rotisserie. All it takes is a rotisserie attachment, fifteen minutes, and you’ve got on-demand caveman TV.
Spit roasting or rotisserie cooking works well for more substantial cuts, things like whole leg of lamb, whole chickens, or large cuts of pork. What makes rotisserie cooked food so delicious is how the flame continuously seals in the juices with each rotation.
To learn how and why you should turn your grill into a rotisserie check out Why You Should Spit Roast Your Next Leg of Lamb. We also have a large selection of rotisserie attachments in Umami’s market.
Recipes & More
- Spit Roasted Pork Carnitas
- Spit Roasted Leg of Lamb
- Why You Should Spit Roast Your Next Leg of Lamb
- Rotisserie Attachments
For the Love of a Good Burger
It would be hard to write a whole piece about grilling and not include anything about burgers. They’re ubiquitous on backyard grills and as at home in fast food joints as they are in high-end chef-driven restaurants. The thing is as sublime as a good burger can be, at most places you are just as likely to get an under-seasoned hockey puck as you are something to text home about.
If you want to up your burger game, take a read through Tips for Tasty, Simple Grilled Burgers and then make one of these burger recipes. Hint for burgers that are truly unique and delicious try the lamb burgers.
- Turkey Burgers
- Lamb Burger with Grilled Shallots and Goat Cheese
- Simple Grilled Burgers
- Bacon Bourbon Burgers
A Few Creative Ways to Use Your Grill
There are so many other ways to use your grill, one of my favorites is to use a cast iron pan to make grilled pizza or when I’m looking for an easy way to make dinner better grilling up some simple Grilled Garlic Bread with Cheese.
Grills are great tools for finishing dishes like Mesquite Smoked BBQ Ribs or Sous Vide Beef Brisket. Using high heat from the grill and some BBQ sauce lets you finish smoked meats or things cooked sous vide with a nice crisp outside without drowning them in sauce.
- How the Right Dough and Cast Iron Make Delicious Pizza
- Grilled Garlic Bread with Cheese
- Mesquite Smoked BBQ Ribs
- Sous Vide Beef Brisket
Whether you are new to grilling or just looking for a few ideas, the best thing you can do is light up the grill and see what happens. Even if your experiments don’t work out, you’ll have a lot more fun grilling than you would standing in front of a hot stove.