Who doesn’t love an old-fashioned barbecue? Outdoor cooking is as American as apple pie. Whether you live in the country or are grilling on your apartment patio, cooking outside connects us all with the great American outdoors. And the taste of grilled food is out of this world.
Although nothing beats a grilled hot dog or burger, grilling has advanced far beyond those outdoor staples. With the right product, you can cook anything you would in your kitchen on your grill. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – you and your grill can do it all. Beyond meats, you can ‘cue up an assortment of tasty veggies and delicious desserts.
Our own Amanda Burt shares one of her favorite summer meals, along with some helpful hints.
Recipes for Summer Dinner on the Grill
Skirt Steak: (or any steak cut of your choosing)
When you light or start your grill, pull the skirt steak out of the fridge. Liberally salt and pepper each side and let the steak come up to room temperature prior to grilling it. This will allow the steak to cook evenly and stay tender. Once your grill is at 500 degrees, place the steak on the grill, cook for 3 minutes on each side. Pull the steak off the grill and allow it to rest lightly covered before cutting it.
Grilled Corn on the Cob:
An hour prior to grilling your meal, place the unhusked corn in a stock pot and cover with water. Soaking the corn ahead will help the corn steam inside the husk as you grill it and keep the husks from burning. Grill the corn 15-20 mins. Right before serving, carefully remove the husks. Be careful, these husks are hot! I like to do this step outside, as it can be a little messy.
Grilled Watermelon & Feta Salad:
Cut ¼ of a large watermelon into one-inch slices. Brush each piece with olive oil. Place watermelon on the grill and grill each side 1 to 2 minutes. Remove watermelon, slice into bite size chunks. In a bowl combine watermelon with ½ cup crumbled feta cheese, ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, 2 Tbs chopped fresh mint. In a separate bowl combine 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, ½ tsp each salt and pepper; mix well. Gently toss dressing onto watermelon, feta, onion, and mint.
Did you know you can grill any stone fruit including peaches, mangos, apricots, plums, nectarines, avocados… You can also grill almost any other fruit some of my favorites are pineapples, melons, and apples. Small fruit like blueberries, cherries can be skewered and grilled. Choose fruit that is firm and not bruised or soft.
Grilled Pound Cake with Peaches:
Cut thick one-inch pieces of pound cake (angel food cake is also a good option). Cut peaches in halves. Brush each side of the pound cake with melted butter.
Grill the peaches cut side down for 2-3 minutes until char marks are developed, remove from heat. Grill cake slice 1 minute on each side until light char marks and toasting can be seen. I like to serve this with caramel sauce or vanilla ice cream.
Tips to Keep the Grill Clean
I use my grills two to three times a week almost year ‘round. Once a month, I give them a good cleaning, here are some tricks I’ve learned.
Charcoal grill: Wipe down exterior of grill with a damp cloth. Remove grill grates and leftover charcoal. Dump ashes that have accumulated in the ash drawer. Use a shop vac to sweep any ash around the base or behind the ash dump. Use a grill brush to remove anything stuck on the grates and wash them with warm water or a grill cleaner, wipe down heat deflector and interior. Re-assemble the grill.
Wood Pellet grill: Remove grates and drip tray, use a shop vac to sweep any ash or dust out of the grill. Wash the drip tray, grates and interior with a grill spray or warm soapy water. Re-assemble.
Editor’s Note: This article was first posted in August 2020.