I grill each of these often, except the hot dogs. Hot dogs I reserve for the ballpark and must be enjoyed with a bag of peanuts and Cracker Jacks, of course.
Last weekend I tried a different way to grill chicken that still tasted like the same old grilled chicken. No matter how many ways I grill chicken it always tastes the same. That’s why I’ve been thinking about some not so familiar things to throw on the grill.
Sorry chicken, but I am getting a little bored.
Clams & Oysters: This is not exactly a Southern way of doing things but sometimes New Englanders get it right. A clam bake on the grill is easy to do. Simply throw all your shellfish – clams, crab claws, mussels, shrimp, scallops or oysters into an aluminum roasting pan along with some herbs, lemon slices, butter and fresh corn. Cover with foil and put directly on the grill grate. After 20 to 30 minutes, all of your shellfish will be steamed and ready. Be sure to discard mussels, clams and oysters that do not open completely because they may not be fresh.
Fruit: I’ve been grilling pineapple and peaches to serve with chicken for years, but have you ever considered grilling watermelon, bananas, cantaloupe or strawberries? All of these grill nicely because the heat hits the flesh of the fruit and makes the natural sugars rich and syrupy.
Cheese: Some of the cheeses that can withstand the heat of the grill are thick sliced mozzarella, sliced parmesan and halloumi. Halloumi is a Greek cheese that is semi-soft and has a very high melting point. Watch your cheeses closely. Low heat will achieve grill marks and keep them from melting through the grate.
Avocado: Grilled avocado is nice with chicken or fish and can make an interesting guacamole. Leave it, pit side down, on the grill for about 30 seconds and you will get nice grill marks and a bit of warmth, but the inside will remain creamy and cool.
Bacon: Next time you make a bacon burger, cook the bacon directly on the grill. Watch out for flare-ups but the end result will be crispy bacon with a good bit of fat and grease cooked away.
Cake: Grilled, sliced pound cake with ice cream and fruit. No additional explanation necessary.
Quesadillas: Make your quesadillas on the grill and give your tortillas a nice crispy exterior. You can even make some grilled avocado and shrimp skewers to serve on the side. Because the avocado grills quickly, it pairs well with quick-cooking skewered shrimp.
What are some unusual things that you like to grill? Join the conversation on Facebook at Christine Gardner Tyler Paper Food.
Christine Gardner can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Facebook at Christine Gardner Tyler Paper Food. You can also write to 410 W. Erwin, Tyler, TX 75702.
Grilled Clam Bake
1 dozen clams, cleaned
1 dozen mussels, debearded and cleaned
1 dozen shrimp, peeled
2 pounds crab claws and legs
8 large scallops
3 ears of corn, each cut in thirds
4 medium red potatoes, parboiled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
3 bay leaves
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
Heat gas grill to medium or charcoal grill until coals are ash white. Layer all ingredients, except butter, in a disposable aluminum roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil and place pan on the grill. Grill 20 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Stir in butter. Serve immediately with crusty French bread, if desired. Feeds 6 to 8.
Recipe by Christine Gardner
Grilled Fruit Skewers
3 cups of fresh fruit (kiwi, pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries or peaches)
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
Cut fruit into 1 inch chunks, leave strawberries whole. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and honey. Place the fruit on 6-inch wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes. Grill over low heat for one to two minutes per side. Baste with the lemon and honey while grilling. Remove from grill and serve warm with ice cream and a slice of grilled pound cake.
Recipe by Christine Gardner
Grilled Halloumi Cheese
1/2 pound chunk Halloumi
2 tablespoons picked oregano leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 grilled lemon, juiced
Pita bread, grilled
Brush the cheese with olive oil and place onto a medium hot grill for 2 minutes on each side, or until marked. Remove and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle with oregano. Drizzle the olive oil on top and squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese. Serve with grilled pita bread.
Recipe by Bobby Flay