Impress your dinner party guests with your new grill
Cookouts and dinner parties are a great way to spend time with those you love while relaxing and cooking in the comfort of your own home. Hang out, pour yourself a drink, and light up the grill, because summer is here and that means we’re cooking outside.
While burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and chicken breasts are quick and easy to cook, nobody leaves surprised or impressed. Spend a little more time this year planning out, prepping, and cooking something fun and adventurous that your guests will remember. Here are a few easy ways to impress your guests by using your grill in unexpected ways: And keep in mind you can use your gas, charcoal, or pellet grill for any of these with some slight tweaks.
Everybody loves a good pizza and with variances in dough, sauces, and toppings, everybody can get what they like. Prep the dough ahead of time and roll it out into smaller sizes (smaller is better so it fits on your pizza stone and you can try more flavors) when ready to start cooking. You’ll need a pizza or baking stone for this – glazed stones are easier to clean, but both will work. If you have a gas or pellet grill, place the pizza stone directly on the grids while you preheat. This will give you time to roll out the dough and start prepping the first couple pizzas. On a charcoal grill, arrange the coals evenly across the bottom and light it up nice and hot. Place the stone on the grate once the coals get hot and let the stone preheat. If the grill gets too hot, put the lid on and dial down the air to keep the temp around 500 degrees F. Same goes with your gas or pellet grills, try to keep a temp around 500 if possible.
Once your pizzas are ready to grill, toss some flour onto a pizza peel, pizza paddle, or even a flat baking sheet, and give the paddle a shake. We want the pizza to easily slide off the peel, so if it sticks, add more flour to the bottom. Once ready, open up the lid of your grill and slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone. Close the lid and keep the temp around 500. Check in on the pizza a couple times during your first run, otherwise after 10-15 minutes your pizza should be ready. Don’t be afraid to get a little char on the outside. Use the peel to pull the pizza off the grill and use a scraper to make the pizza stone clean for the next one.
BAKE WITH A STONE: COOKIES, BREAD, & MORE
Once you master the pizzas, baking should be an easy transition. Start with something like cookies – all pre-made on a baking sheet awaiting your guests to arrive – and pull them out of the fridge before you start digging into dinner. Fire up the grill and get to a nice baking temperature, then either place the baking sheet directly on the grids, or place them one by one onto your pizza or baking stone. Check in periodically as they cook and pull them off once done. Grilling with any fuel type will impart a different flavor than the oven, which gives your cookies a smoky spin. Another easy way to bake is to pre-make a tin of macaroni and cheese and bake it in the grill instead of the oven – while it keeps the house cool it also creates conversation about how nobody has ever had grilled mac and cheese before. Keep the top covered with foil for the first part of cooking, then pull the lid off and let the smoky flavor do its magic toward the back half.
GRILL FRUITS & VEGGIES
One easy way to make something fun again is to do it differently. Tired of carrots and broccoli? Toss them in olive oil, your favorite spice blend, and then roast them on your grill at high heat for a totally new flavor. Fruit works especially well for this – the natural sugars in fruit will caramelize the outside giving it the perfectly golden-brown crust you see in pictures. With fruit you want to tone down the heat a bit, and the variety you choose can complement so many different foods. Try soaking fresh pineapple chunks in Rum and grilling them over medium heat, or slicing peaches into discs and tossing them on the grill until soft. Most people have never grilled anything more than meat – so bringing a familiar food a new twist will spice things up a bit.