Grilling season is here! The kids are out of school, the days are long but not too hot just yet, and save for the occasional summer thunderstorm, the skies are a clear and stunning blue.
Traditional grilling fare is amazing. There's something incredibly satisfying about throwing meat or vegetables on the grill, inhaling that luscious smell as it wafts up to you. Grilling is a primal pleasure, healthier than frying, arguably more satisfying than baking. However, the grill is often limited to basic cookout fare, when it can really do so much more.
This summer is the perfect opportunity to expand your horizons. You can try something new and reach new heights of deliciousness with cutting-edge recipes. It's time to stop limiting your grill to standard fare, and hone your skills by introducing these new unconventional favorites to your grilling repertoire.
Yes, you can bake bread on the grill! The grill gives it a lovely smokey flavor, and if you can enjoy the outdoors while you're waiting for your bread to rise. The main issue is temperature and blackening: you want to make sure that the closed grill remains at a consistent temperature, and you want to make sure that one side doesn't blacken faster than the other sides. Some grills come with special baking accessories (like the Big Green Egg) and you can usually find a good pizza stone or cast iron pan that works on a grill. Browse through some additional tips and recipes, and by summer's end you might be a certified outdoor baker. Learning to make bread also opens up doors for you, letting you move on to more complicated things with confidence.
What's three steps up from flatbread? Pizza. A lot of the same tips and tricks for bread are at work here, and the grilled toppings are to die for. Even Bobby Flay seems to be a fan. You can use a pizza stone or just pop it straight onto the grill for that lovely light char on the crust. The best part of pizza is that you can endlessly customize your toppings, and the grill is kind to both sweet and savory, healthy and decadent pizzas. There are even concoctions that stretch the definition of pizza like this watermelon pizza. Pizza is a great way to get to know your grill and to sharpen your grilling skills. It teaches you to experiment with your grill, to tinker with recipes and think outside the pizza box.
If you thought pizza was a game-changer, wait until you try baking desserts on a grill. We're not just talking your standard roasted fruit or even smores either: everything's on the table. There are recipes for brownies, cookies, crumbles, cake, pie, galette, even cheesecake on the grill. It works specifically well for chocolate, where that smokey flavor compliments the dark sweetness of the chocolate. Most major grilling companies - e.g. Traeger, Weber, Big Green Egg - have some pretty excellent recommendations for dessert. After learning the intricacies of bread and pizza, taking on something as ambitious as a cheesecake will be a breeze. Once you've figured out the little things about maintaining temperature and cooking things evenly, you can enjoy time outdoors while you bake on the grill.
Savory and Sweet Breakfast
Finally, as a culmination of all these skills, the best test of a grillmaster's skill is a savory and sweet breakfast. You can combine traditional favorites like bacon, ham, and hash browns with next-level treats like french toast, pancakes, and cinnamon rolls. You could try a breakfast pizza, maybe crack some eggs and cook them on the grill too. Imagine getting up on a summer morning when the sky is still dark, watching the stars fade and the horizon brighten as you heat up the grill. You can finish up the cinnamon rolls and start on the bacon as the sun rises, and by the time everyone else is starting the day you've just finished up a labor of love, a sublime breakfast spread for the people you care about.
Grilling, like any other skill or hobby, reflects the work you put into it. The more you try new things, the more you learn. You can take a pastime you enjoy and, with a little passion and time, make it your own.
If you want extra advice on grills or grilling accessories, visit our stores! We do grilling demonstrations on holiday weekends and during other parts of the year too; check our Facebook events for more information. We have a Big Green Egg factory sale running now through the end of June, so stop on by for grilling advice and excellent grilling deals!