Grilling is great for summer time. Not only do grills offer different flavor and texture to meat recipes, but it also helps to keep the house cooler by not having to use the oven. Whole meals can be accomplished even on a simple grill, from the side dishes to the main meal to the desserts.
The history of using a backyard grill is a very recent ritual. Grilling became very popular in the 1950’s. Before the backyard grill was so widely used, grilling was usually done at picnic or camping sites. Cooking meat over an open hole, however, has been around since man first discovered fire. With the invention of the Weber kettle grill in 1952, the way food was cooked out of doors was changed forever.
Barbeque vs Grilling
Barbequing foods is not the same thing as grilling them, though they are often referred to as being one and the same. Barbequed foods are literally cooked low and slow for hours on a large open barbeque pit. It requires some know how to do in order not to cook the meat to fast or too hot making it inedible or too tough.
Grilling cooks food quickly and at high temperatures. There are also different types of grills available such as gas, coal, smokers, electrics and more. Each different type of grill will cook food either faster or slower, but not nearly as slow as a barbecue. Grilling is not better than barbeque or barbeque better than grilling, it’s just a preference thing. Some people like both, while others prefer one over the other.
Easy Grilled Side Dish Ideas
It’s actually very easy to grill side dishes like fresh vegetables or fruits. Most vegetables can just be placed directly on the grill platform with a light brushing of oil to keep them from sticking. Another way to cook vegetables and fruits are to wrap them in aluminum foil with a little water, butter or a marinade and steam them on the grill. Here are some vegetables and fruits that taste great cooked directly over the flame:
- Potatoes (best if wrapped in foil)
- Apples (best if wrapped in foil)
- Corn On The Cobb
- Pablano Peppers
- Bell Peppers
Grilled Meat Ideas and Recipes
Grilling meat is a little more technical than vegetables. Most meats need to be cooked all of the way through in order to prevent food borne illness. The great thing about cooking meat over a flame is the versatility of it. Here are a few grilled meat ideas and easy recipes.
Beef Tri Tip
- One beef tri tip marinated for at least two hours in favorite sauce
- 3 Shallots sliced thick
- Salt and pepper to taste (put on beef before the marinade)
- Grill tri tip on all sides for about three minutes each
- Wrap tri tip and shallots in aluminum foil and place on grill
- Cook over medium to low heat for one and a half hours
- Take tri tip out of foil and place on grill, take shallots out of the foil and place to the side
- Use the sauce in the foil to baste the tri tip until it has a good crust on all sides
- Serve sliced tri tip topped with shallots
- 4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated in a favorite sauce for at least two hours.
- Mushrooms, zucchini, onions, red bell pepper marinated in in sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste (put on chicken before the marinade)
- Soak kabob sticks for at least twenty minutes in water
- Cut the chicken and vegetables (except mushrooms) into bite size cubes
- Alternate chicken and veggies on the skewers until everything is used
- Cook on medium to low heat on the grill for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Foil Wrapped Salmon
- 4 salmon filets
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 lemon sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of butter per filet
- Place each salmon in a large piece of foil and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place vegetables around the side of salmon and the butter and lemon on top.
- Roll the foil upwards and seal over the salmon leaving a gap between the top of the fish and the foil.
- Grill on medium heat for twenty minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
- Place salmon and veggies on a platter and enjoy.
Grilled foods are often a healthier alternative to frying or baking foods in sauces, because most of the sauce and fats cook off. Because most grills heat unevenly throughout it is also important to make sure that when cooking multiple things at the same time, they are moved around the grill giving each piece even cooking time in the hotter and cooler spots.