Move over, George. It’s the season of grillin’ and chillin’. Back home, grilling season begins the day you can trudge through the snow with a bag of charcoal and light it. If the snow is too high to walk through, we wait. If we can’t find the grill under the snow, we wait. But once that portal to summer opens, the grill is ours.
The smell of a barbecue is like a Native American smoke signal for, “please come over and enjoy our fabulous grilled food that we made for ourselves but you’re going to eat anyway.” From burgers and asparagus to ‘Lil Smokies and pita bread, nothing is safe from those black grates.
Grilling does not discriminate against food. Like turkey burgers? Plop one on the grill and you’re good to go. Or, take some veggies and grill them on a kabob to perfection.
Whether you prefer casual grilling or you own a personal “grill master” apron, it’s time to get out your burger flipper, because with weather like this you just can’t stay inside any longer.
Chicken on the grill is as natural as your feelings about that upcoming accounting final. The best way to keep it juicy the whole way through is to marinade it in some sort of acidic bath. An easy way to marinade is twisting off a bottle of Italian dressing, pouring it over the chicken in a covered bowl and chilling it in the fridge for a few hours.
When you’re ready to grill, don’t place the chicken over a leaping fire. Char the outside quickly to keep the inside nice and chilly. Also, be sure to let the excess dressing or other marinade drip off before the grilling begins. If you’re not careful, you might just burn off all your arm hair.
One of the best marriages of food and flame is grilled tuna. Season up a tuna steak with salt and pepper and mix it in a little honey mustard. For deeper flavors, marinate the steak in some oil, vinegar and honey mustard. They’re quick on the grill – only a few minutes until they’re just a little pink in the center. On a general note, you might want to spray the grates with nonstick Pam before grilling begins, because scraping food off them won’t help your grill master reputation.
Vegetables like zucchini, squash, asparagus, peppers and onions work as great sides on the grill. When cut into chunks, they can hang out on a kabob stick, or maybe just do their own thing over the coals. It’s smart (and I’ve figured this out the hard way, many times) to get a small metal rack with just a little space between the lines and grill veggies on top of that set on the grates. That way, you won’t pull a Brianna and knock all the squash into the flames.
You can grill just about anything. Even fruit is tasty grilled, and especially so when served over ice cream. You can grill raw, unshelled peanuts in a foil packet to roast them. You can grill pizza dough, and then top with sauce and cheese. And, one of my favorites, you can grill Jersey corn on the cob.
Be daring. Be bold. Experiment. Make Bill Nye the Science Guy proud and set things ablaze this summer. Just remember that too much lighter fluid is a bad idea for anyone within three miles.
This is it guys, the final issue of ‘What’s Cookin’ with Bri’ for the spring. It’s been fabulous. E-mail me with recipes, ideas, funny stories, book deals and the like. Have a great summer, kids.
Brianna Barry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.