Monday, June 14, 2010

Grilling Season, Part Two: Starters, Sides, and Dessert

Welcome back! I hope you all have been enjoying your Big Ass Burgers (and resulting food coma.)

Now I'd like to talk about some starters, sides, and even desserts for grilling. As I said in my last post, grilling is really nothing to be scared of. Anyone can do it!

Starter: Chips and Guacamole

Okay, so you don't actually grill guacamole. But it is a great recipe for enjoying outdoors that everyone should know how to make.

As most people would attest to, guacamole is @%$&ing delicious. Creamy and refreshing, it makes for the perfect summer starter. I adapted my recipe from Robin Miller's.

Feel free to make the guacamole ahead of time before you get to the grill, but not too far in advance, as it tends to get brown and icky. If you know it will be a while before you get outside, add some more lime juice. The acidity will help stop the browning process! SCIENCE!!

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Juice of 2 small limes. You can also use bottled lime juice.
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. minced onion. The kind in the container, not actual onion.
This guacamole takes about five minutes to make, and then you can pack it up and take it outside with a big bowl of chips. Ole!


Slice your avocados in half, working your knife around the pit. Then pop out the pit and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a small bowl.

Dice up your tomato and add it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Using a large spoon or potato masher, mash everything together. Ta da! How easy is that?

Side Dishes: Fries and Corn on the Cob

You can't really enjoy a burger without fries. That's like peanut butter without jelly, or Angelina without Brad. Grilling potatoes can be tricky, so I compromised. I made them ahead of time in the oven, brought them out to the grill, and reheated them to give em that nice grill flavor in a fraction of the time.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cut a large baking potato into 8 wedges. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic pepper, and pop into the oven for 35 minutes until they are nice and toasty brown.

When you get out to the grill, put the fries on a piece of foil on the upper level of the grill so they don't burn. Let them reheat and soak up some grill goodness while your burger cooks. Yum!

Another grilling classic is corn on the cob. There are many schools of thought on how to go about grilling corn, but I'll give you my easy way.

Find a nice cob of corn and peel away the husk until only a single layer covers the corn. Also, make sure to remove all the corn silk (the stuff that looks like hair.) That shit will burn up on the grill!

Peel back the final husk, spray the corn with butter spray or rub with butter, and put the layer of husk back up. It's fine if some of the corn is exposed.

Put the cob down and grill, baby, grill! The husk will protect it from burning and will keep the kernels moist. Turn it every few minutes so all the sides can brown up evenly. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes, and the corn is done when it is a bit charred on the outside and the kernels are tender and juicy. Slather on some more butter and enjoy!

Dessert: Grilled Peaches and Pineapple

I bet you didn't know you could grill dessert, huh? Fruit on the grill is delicious and healthy! Give it a try. Just cut up a pineapple into rings, sprinkle with cinnamon, and toss on the grill for a minute on each side.

Or, put some canned peach slices on a piece of foil, sprinkle with cinnamon, and let them warm through on the grill for a couple minutes. The grill helps caramelize the sugars in the fruit, and the cinnamon brings out the grill's smoky flavor. You can then serve the fruit over ice cream if you'd like. Deeeelicious!

I hope this gave you some good ideas and a couple of helpful tips. Do YOU have any grilling advice, recipes, or questions? Let's hear em!

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