You know that the best place to cook that high quality steak is in the great outdoors, surrounded by nature, beer in hand. It’s not just “a guy thing,” the grill adds a touch of caveman umami like nothing else. And staring into the flames soothes the suburban soul.
But what if you’re not that into meat? Or maybe you just want to change things up and impress your friends. Here are some tips on five things you probably didn’t know you could cook on the grill. You can easily “Google up” more detailed recipes for all of these items—just look for the ones with the most stars (and the least number of horror story comments).
Take a hearty variety like Romaine, slice it lengthwise along its spine, grill it lightly and dress it with vinaigrette. Sprinkle on some Parmesan and serve it alongside just about any main course.
2. Chocolate Cake
Yes, the ooey-gooey, flourless kind. This is for gas grills—not charcoal, because you’ll want to avail yourself of indirect heat. Melt 10 oz. of bittersweet chocolate with 7 oz. of butter over very low heat. Stir in 1 cup of sugar. Whisk in 5 eggs plus one egg yolk. Chocolate is so tricky, you have to temper it slowly by adding the eggs one at a time. Pour into a buttered iron skillet. Place over unheated area of your grill, with a small pot of water on each side of it. Close hood. Temperature should read 325°. Bake for about an hour. Allow to cool before slicing—if you can wait.
This is what heavy duty foil is for—wrap up five sliced potatoes and 1 sliced onion, 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, about 1/3 cup of chicken broth, half a stick of butter, a tablespoon of Worcestershire and salt and pepper to taste for “Campfire Potatoes.” Cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes.
No joke, just pointing out that almost anything you can put in an expendable pot can be heated up on your grill top—like your morning oatmeal or a batch of mulled wine to take the chill off of an East End summer evening. Here’s a great recipe for that: dump 1 bottle cheap, dry red wine, 1 orange (juice and peel), 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon verjus or lemon juice, 4 whole cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cinnamon sticks and one 1 bay leaf into a pot over very low heat. Stir once. Ignore for an hour. Strain and pour into four small glasses or mugs. Prost!
C’mon, it’s a thing. How cool is it to roast your veggies and sausage and then put them directly onto your pie? I like to make my own crusts for pizzas that I make in my oven, but for the grill I buy a firm, premade crust like a BoBoli®. You’ll want indirect heat, so turn off an area of your gas grill and cook over that or rake all the charcoal away from an area of your charcoal grill and cook over that area. Lightly rub both sides of the crust with olive oil, place on grill, add shredded cheese, cook until golden (about 10 minutes) and then add those toppings (how about including some grilled shrimp or clams in the mix?).