Although Memorial Day is behind us, chances are pretty great that you’ve already thrown some hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken on the grill at least once or twice this summer.
If not, you’ll surely be marking July Fourth, Americans’ top day to grill, by hosting or attending a barbecue where you’ll most likely eat more of the same. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a little wild with some shish kebabs or shiitakes.
But if you’re already hot-dogged out and are ready to truly liven up your grilling game, here are some foods that you might not have thought of, answering the question of “Will it grill?” with a delicious and resounding, “Yes!”
The USDA’s MyPlate recommends that the average adult consume six to seven servings of grains—half of them whole—per day (take that, Keto, Atkins and fad diets). Furthermore, one of the most recently published studies on carb consumption, published in the May issue of Advances in Nutrition, reports that eating the recommended amount of refined grain doesn’t increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or early death, so you should feel free to use white or wheat when going above and beyond bun-toasting with the following:
Soft Pretzels—According to one YouTuber, these “taste just like those from a New York City street corner, with just the slightest smoky flavor,” after 5 minutes on a greased, medium-heat grill. Just make sure you let them cool a bit before enjoying!
Summer Bruschetta—This quick and easy appetizer can be made with virtually any bread, from super-grainy Dave’s Killer to a traditional French baguette. Just throw sliced bread on a greased, preheated medium-heat grill for 1–2 minutes; top with a mixture of chopped tomatoes and one tablespoon each balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil; and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese, removing after a minute.
Grilled Bagels—These may not taste any different than when they’re toasted, but bagels on the grill cook evenly, won’t ever be too thick to fit, and you can make a good dozen or so at once. Just slice, whether in halves or thinner, and place on a greased, preheated medium-heat grill for 2–3 minutes, rotating 90 degrees once if you’re looking for some nice checkerboard grill marks.
The USDA concluded that the average American consumed a record amount of red meat and poultry, a whopping 222.2 pounds, in 2018. So it’s safe to assume that American meat eaters are going to enjoy a lot of grilled meat this summer.
If you’re ready to try some different proteins than your regular steaks, chicken and burgers try making one of these main dishes to liven up your game:
Blue Crabs—While they’re never better than when picked after a traditional steaming with beer, vinegar and Old Bay, crabs can in fact be grilled. And with DNR’s 2019 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey estimating the highest count since 2012, this summer is a great time to expand your methods of crab consumption. To do so, prepare live crabs that have been on ice for 10 minutes by ripping off the upper shell and cleaning out all guts, gills, and organs; rinsing off any remaining “mustard;” splitting them in half; and tossing the halves in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil and a quarter cup of Old Bay (or crabhouse staple, J.O. Seasoning). Put the halves on a greased, preheated medium-heat grill, douse them with a plain butter or any-kind-of-butter glaze and turn them every few minutes, and after 10–15 minutes you’re done.
Pizza—With its oh-so-simple and oh-so-delicious ingredients, pizza is great when grilled. The easy way to make it involves flattening and poking holes in room temperature store-bought pizza dough; placing the dough on a greased, preheated medium-heat grill for two minutes; removing and layering with whatever sauce and toppings you desire; and returning the pizza to the grill for 3–4 minutes. An even easier way, which turned out great for me, involves simply throwing a thawed frozen pizza directly on the grill for 5–6 minutes, rotating 90 degrees once to prevent burning.
Eggs—Much to my surprise, eggs are completely grillable. I won’t lie by saying that hard-grilled eggs taste any different than hard-boiled, but they’re quick and easy to make, ready after just ten minutes on a medium-heat grill.
Ham—While eggs don’t taste terribly different when grilled, it is my humble opinion that ham is at its absolute best when grilled, developing a smoky flavor and slightly crispy crust after 15 minutes on a greased, medium-heat grill.
VEGETABLES & FRUITS
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins that boost memory and lower blood-pressure, and fiber to cut cholesterol. They’re also a food group that the vast majority of us could probably stand to eat more of. The CDC reported in November 2017 that just nine percent of American adults eat the daily recommended two to three cups of vegetables, and only 12 percent get their daily two cups of fruit.
The following, however, can help you consume more colors in a new way:
Avocados—whether used for spreading on toast making a killer guacamole, avocados are great on the grill. Just halve, take out the pit, brush with olive oil, and grill for 2–3 minutes.
Romaine Lettuce—While it may lose its signature crunch on a grill, romaine develops a nice char and turns into something that you’d expect to see at a top-tier steakhouse. To prepare, simply halve romaine hearts lengthwise, brush cut sides with olive oil, and place on preheated, medium-heat grill for 1–3 minutes. After removing, cover with your favorite salad dressing and cheese.
Grapes—This summer staple provides a ton of health benefits. To grill a bunch, toss onto a low-heat grill for two minutes, turning over halfway through, introducing a rich, slightly wine-like flavor.
These are just a few of the many surprising grillables out there. Don’t be afraid to do some Googling and test-grilling of your own.
Want more fun cooking ideas for your family? Head to our food archives here.