Sunday, July 17, 2011

Unique Grilling Methods

Make no mistake about's the heart of grilling season.  When the fresh local veggies start showing up on the tables at the farmer's market and the temperature hits the 80's and 90's, I start to look for ways to not have to cook indoors.  I try to find ways to cook on the grill.

Foil Packets - One of my stand-by grilling methods is steaming in foil packets (see my post from last year for a great how-to).  If you're looking to steam something or cook it quickly without getting any charring, this is the way to go.  I've even been known to cook frozen veggies this way.  Just toss some veggies or fish (or both) into a packet with some seasonings and maybe a flavorful liquid (or a veggie that will exude liquid) and you're off and running.  I learned the trick itself from my Mom and the fancy packet folding method from an Jamie Oliver episode.

Skillet-on-the-Grill - A second method I love is to put a cast iron skillet directly onto the grill and use it as you would on your stove inside.  Most people don't consider the fact that the grill is nothing more than an over sized gas stove burner.  The only difference is that it's a little harder to regulate the heat, so choose fast-cooking methods like stir-frying.

Grilled Pizza and Flatbread - I LOVE the grill for pizza, naan, and making cheesy toast or garlic bread.  If you're looking for that brick-oven flavor without actually having a brick oven, the grill is the way to go.

The Grill as an Oven - If you happen to have a cast iron dutch oven, you can actually bake or roast on your grill.  Just be sure to turn the flame down low.  A covered pot creates a perfect steaming environment that will cook a large hunk of meat (like a chicken) in less time and keep it juicy and tender.  An open pot will let the dry air circulate onto the food and brown it.

I hope this post shows that your grill is way more flexible than steaks, burgers, and dogs.  You can cook just about any meal on the grill.  It'll keep the kitchen cool and you can enjoy the outdoors even more in the summer.

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