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Summertime Grilling Ideas

October 4, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

Whether you live in an area where you can easily grill all year long or where grilling in winter requires a pair of mukluks and a snow shovel, summertime is definitely grilling time. There’s just something about those long summer days that make grilling an integral part of summertime activities. Taking the heat out the kitchen on a sweltering summer day doesn’t hurt either.

Getting Started

Before we talk about some great grilling ideas, let’s talk about a few principles that will ensure the best grilling experiences.

You are going to be cooking with an open flame, and in the case of a gas grill, a tank of flammable fuel so you can’t be too careful. Take the necessary precautions and make sure your grill is in proper working condition. Check all valves, tubes, and other parts for blockages, ruptures, and general maintenance. Replace any parts that are broken.

Be sure to remove any flammable material from nearby your grill. Sparks can fly and create fires. Finally, and most important of all, have a fire extinguisher on hand in case of flare ups or unintended fires.

Cleanliness and Sanitation
Just because the grill is outside doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be clean. Be sure to clean the grill thoroughly before that first summer cookout. In between meal cleanings can be limited to a good scrape with a wire grill brush and a wipe down with a sponge or rag.

And just like inside, be sure to keep your working and cooking area contaminate free. That means you’ll need two sets of plates and tongs. One for raw meats and the other for cooked. Never use the same dishes or tools to handle both raw and cooked meats. If you don’t have two of each, then wash them thoroughly between usages.

The Grill Is Your Kingdom

Once you’ve got a handle on safety and cleanliness there is nothing left but the cooking. And when it comes to grilling there is very little that doesn’t taste better when cooked over an open flame. Most grilling cookbooks can show you how to cook an entire meal on the grill, from appetizers to dessert.

In addition to flavor, there are a host of health benefits of cooking on a grill. Grilling food often requires fewer fatty oils and butter than other cooking methods like frying, broiling, and baking. Cooking over an open flame also means that the fats in meats are cooked away and don’t soak into or congeal on the meat.

New Ideas for the Grill

Most of us are already comfortable with grilling meats like hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, and chops, but now it’s time to step out of that comfort zone and add some real variety to your summertime cookouts.

Grilled vegetables go well with any grilled meat. They can also work well as entrees for meatless dishes. Some of the best candidates for grilled veggies include peppers, zucchini, corn on the cob, tomatoes, potatoes, artichokes, and just about any other vegetable that won’t fall through the grill grates. Just a quick swipe of your favorite oil and some salt and pepper is all the preparation that you’ll need.

There is a general fear of cooking fish that seems to grip many home chefs. And if asked to grill fish many will break out in the jitters and sweaty palms. There is no need to panic, however. Grilling fish is easy and rewarding. The key to grilling fish is finding the freshest and most flavorful fish available. Meaty fish like salmon, halibut, and swordfish are the easiest to learn how to grill. More delicate fish can also be grilled but a little more practice may be desired.

As mentioned earlier, grilled desserts are not only possible, but they are delicious. Here is a simple recipe to get you started:

Grilled Peach Sundaes


2 peaches, halved and pitted
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 scoops ice cream, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet
1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened coconut or your favorite chopped nuts

Preheat grill to high. Brush peach halves with oil. Grill until tender. Place 2 peach halves in each bowl and top with a scoop of frozen yogurt (or sorbet) and coconut or nuts.


2 Servings


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