Nothing says more about summer than the open flames, the charcoal and the smoke of a good grill.
All proven grill dishes are in full rotation, from delicious meat to crispy vegetables. But maybe you are a pitmaster who has been bitten by the creative grill mistake so much that you want to break new ground.
On the other hand, if you’re more of an indoor cook, grilling may seem like a recipe for disaster with a high probability of getting this dusty fire extinguisher out from under the sink. It can be difficult for beginners to know exactly what you can and cannot cook on this fiery animal (and how to do it).
Regardless of your grilling skills, you may be surprised at the rules of this type of cooking. Can something be grilled? And are there certain things you should never hit on the bars?
We have learned from barbecue experts which foods give you amazing results and which merge into an irretrievable mess.
“What many people don’t realize is that a grill is actually an oven,” says Chris Frost, chef at ChefGood. “Basically, anything you would put in the oven can be cooked on the grill with the lid closed. The time usually shortens because the temperature when grilling is higher than in an oven. “
This means that many foods that you would normally bake or roast are fair game as long as you can adjust your timing so as not to burn them.
When moving from oven cooking to grilling, it is also important to prevent sticking, as you are likely to put food directly on heated racks. If in doubt, grease well!
“The best results are always achieved when food that normally sticks to the grill is sprayed with a little olive or coconut oil,” says Frost.
He adds that using the right heat-resistant container for foods that can’t sit directly over a fire can be your salvation.
“Using the right ship is the key to success. For example, if you’re grilling a wheel of cheese, use a foil tray. When grilling baked beans, use a cast iron saucepan. ”
Meat is the ultimate grilling – but for the best results, it is wise to keep an eye on the fat content.
“Stay away from fatty meat as this can cause your protein to burn or overcharge,” says chef Max Hardy of the Coop Caribbean fusion restaurant in Detroit. “Meat like pork belly, chicken thighs on the skin, high-fat beef, Kobe beef or rock steak can sometimes overcharge.”
Hardy also advises not to grill extremely low-fat proteins like whitefish. “There is simply not enough fat to prevent the fish from sticking to the grill.”
If you love one of the vegetable meat alternatives, you may have doubts about its grillability. We have good news!
“Artificial meat is very good on the grill,” says Kevin Kolman, chief grill master for Weber sauces and spices. “Faux burgers are very easy to grill and should be treated like a normal burger.”
Sure, you had grilled zucchini, but did you try grilled jicama? Why not?
Nailing grilled vegetables mainly depends on their size and shape.
“You want to be strategic about how to cut vegetables for grilling,” said Morgan Bolling, assistant food editor at Cook’s Country. “It’s about maximizing the surface area to increase browning while cutting shapes that keep them from falling apart or sliding through the cooking grates.”
And don’t forget the fat!
“You should use a good amount of oil or other fat to make sure the vegetables get a good char,” adds Bolling.
Grilled peaches to melt in your mouth have you asked how many sweets from nature can still be lit? A tip: think about the sugar content.
“For grilled fruit, you ideally want a fruit with a high sugar content that keeps its shape on the grill. This will help you get some char before the fruit becomes too soft, ”says Bolling. “Peaches, pineapples, nectarines, plums and pears are great options.”
Pay attention to firmness when grilling the perfect fruit. Look for fruits that are ripe but not soft. You don’t want grilled porridge. (At least I wouldn’t.)
It is not without reason that grilled cheese is a favorite sandwich of many children – and many adults. (If it’s melty, sticky cheese on buttery, golden bread Not damn great?)
Maximize the delicacy by grilling it properly.
“Cheeses with high melting points (also known as melts at higher temperatures) are best for grilling,” says Bolling. “In my opinion, the Halloumi grill cheese is a firm Greek cheese with brine. It has a very strong protein network, which means that when it is heated it softens but does not melt. ”
Other solid and semi-solid cheeses such as ripened provolone or paneer can also withstand the high temperatures of grilling.
Bolling points out some cheeses that melt on the grill before they can melt in your mouth.
“They want to avoid everything that is considered good processed cheese, like American cheese or Monterey Jack. They melt between the grill racks before they get a lot of color and leave a cheesy mess on your grill. ”
No matter how much we want it to be true, barbecuing is not total free for all. (Spoiler: soup is a bad idea.)
For one thing, size matters. All foods with small pieces, such as baby carrots, finely diced vegetables or rice grains, fall through the grids and get lost in the flames. Avoid grilling something smaller than your pinky, for example, unless you use skewers.
Then there is the question of marinade ingredients that are known to increase grilling success.
“You often want to avoid ingredients with a lot of sugar that can burn on the grill,” says Bolling. “Marinades with a lot of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, honey, maple syrup, agave etc. often cause the food to burn before it boils.”
If you’ve decided to improve your game by trying unorthodox food on the grill, here are some surprisingly grillable options:
Herbs: Add cocktails or main courses to pizza by grilling stronger herbs with large leaves like sage or mint (on skewers).
Cake: A handy foil pan is all you need to cook cakes on the grill. Look out for a golden brown crust that tells you when it’s done.
Leftovers: Forget about the microwave. “Anything that can be warmed up in your oven can be done on a grill,” says Kolman. “And most of the time you get better flavors thanks to the grill.”
Pizza: Increase your pizza night by preparing your own pizza over an open flame (yes, even the frozen kind). Use a brick for the best results.
Salad: Try the restaurant trend at home by slicing a head of lettuce vertically and then grilling it on oiled grates over medium to high heat.
Salsa: Skewer some tomatoes and peppers and let them blacken to smoky sweetness before turning them into homemade salsa.
While the size, shape and thickness of food are important for grilling, there is none The Lots of parameters around what you can throw on the bars and what not (yay!).
Don’t be afraid to experiment! If you try new things, you will learn how your grill behaves and can make better grill decisions on the go. When we know what we know now, we look at almost everything and think: “Imma grill that.”
Sarah Garone is a nutritionist, freelance writer and food blogger. Find out how to share or follow down-to-earth nutritional information under A Love Letter to Food Twitter.