Hey, it’s Melissa here from The Sweet Escape to bring you some great grilling tips and recipes. I realized that I had a few girlfriends who where intimated by the grill and didn’t feel confident when it came to grilling so I thought it would be fun to host a Girls Who Grill get together to empower and educate, and of course drink wine and eat some delicious food.
So to get in as much practice as possible I put together a whole menu, from appetizer to dessert, from the grill. These are all really easy for the grilling amateurs and not to mention delicious. We enjoyed some Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay and it was the perfect compliment to our grilled summer feast.
• Grilled Shrimp and Garlic Bread with Basil Infused Dipping Sauce
• Pork Chops with Basil Garlic Rub
• Vegetable Kabobs
• Grilled Potato Salad
• Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
You can find all the recipes below but first here’s a few grilling tips that will help make your summer adventures in grilling a success.
Grilling Basics 1, 2 , 3
These may seem obvious but they’re important to get the best results. 1) Keep the grill covered and the heat in. 2) Don’t flip too often. Like number 1, the food needs the heat to grill so don’t flip more than once, half way through cooking. Here’s a great infographic showing grilling times for each food. 3) Let it rest. Resist the urge to cut into your protein to check if it’s done as all the juice will escape. Use the finger test or a digital thermometer instead. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
A Clean & Stick-Free Grill
Make sure your grill is clean before you start and add a light coat of olive oil to avoid sticking. If you’re stuck without a brush you can brush with crumpled aluminium foil in a pinch.
How to Control the Heat
Not all items are meant to cook over high heat. For larger items that need some time, cook with indirect heat and manage heat by turning off the center burners and placing food on the middle of the grill. Adjust outside burners to control the temperature.
How to get Perfect Grill Marks
Who knew grilling and driving would have something in common. Like your steering wheel, think of your grill as a clock. Point your protein of choice at 10 o’clock for a few minutes then angle to 2 o’clock. Flip and do the same thing on the other side.
How Not to Burn Wood Skewers
We all look for shortcuts when cooking and wood skewers are great because they’re easy clean up. So how to prevent wood from burning? Easy – soak them in water for at least one hour before you’re going to use them. If you use them often and want to save even more time soak a large amount, remove and put in a freezer bag and keep frozen and use as needed.
How to Cook an Even & Juicy Burger
When making your burgers create a hole in the middle with your fingers or press in with the back of a spoon. This allows the heat to cook through the meat evenly, capture the juices and will create a more level burger for stacking on all those great extras.
Of course there’s always more info to learn but take your time and start off with some of these easy recipes.
Grilled Garlic Bread
• 1 french style baguette
• 1 head of garlic, roasted
• 1/4 cup olive oil
1. Roast your garlic ahead of time in the oven by cutting the top off, generously pouring over olive oil then wrapping in tin foil and roasting for 30-40 minutes at 400°C.
2. Squeeze out roasted garlic into 1/4 cup of olive oil, add a dash of salt and mix & mash with fork until combined. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. You can make this ahead up to 2 days before and refrigerate.
3. Using a pastry brush or BBQ brush, brush a light coat of oil mixture over baguette that has been cut length-wise.
4. Grill on top rack over medium heat until toasted. Keep a close eye!
Grilled Garlic Shrimp
• 1 lb of shrimp, cleaned & diveined
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. fresh chopped garlic (or to taste)
1. Whisk together all the ingredient then toss in a bowl or ziplock bag and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.
2. Put on skewers that have been soaked in water for at least an hour.
3. Grill on medium for 2-4 minutes on each side or until they turn pink.
Basil Infused Dipping Sauce
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup of finely chopped fresh basil (or to taste)
• 1 large lemon, juice of
• chili flakes (optional)
• salt & pepper
1. Finely chop basil (you can also use cilantro or parsley) and whisk together with other ingredients. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Next up it was time to get a start on the potatoes. They can take awhile so a great tip is to pre cook them on the stove.
Grilled Potato Salad
• 15 small red potatoes
• arugula or watercress
• red onion
• black olives (optional)
• 1 small shallot
• 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 c. of sherry or rice vinegar
• salt & pepper to taste
1. Wash & scrub potatoes leaving the skin on. Cut in halves.
2. Cook in water on the stove top until they just start to get soft when poked with a fork.
3. Remove from hot water and rinse/soak with cold water to stop the cooking.
4. Toss in bowl with some olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.
5. Place on med/high grill with cut side down and grill until they are soft when poked and cut side is golden.
6. For the Vinaigrette – finely chop the shallot then mix with all other ingredients and shake well before serving. Can be made up to 4 hours before and kept refrigerated.
7. Place the potatoes on a bed of watercress or arugula with some red onion. Add some black olives if you like then pour over dressing and serve.
It doesn’t get much easier than grilled vegetable skewers. Cut up large pieces of your favorite vegetables. I used red pepper, yellow pepper, zucchini, mushrooms (tossed in soy sauce), and red onion. Toss them in a bowl with some oil and salt/pepper to taste then use pre-soaked wood or metal skewers to build your kabob. Grill on medium heat until vegetables soften and grill on edges.
Grilled Pork Chops with Basil Garlic Rub
• 5-6 Bone-In Pork Chops
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 c. fresh basil leaves packed
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• salt & pepper
1. Chop your garlic really fine or use a garlic press.
2. Chop your basil very fine. Use a really sharp knife so you don’t bruise it too much.
3. Combine all ingredients and place with pork chops in ziploc bag for 2-3 hours.
4. Grill on medium heat, flipping once, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste with some of your favorite BBQ sauce 1 minute before each side is done.
It all makes for a beautiful plate full of grilled goodness and tastes even better when paired with some Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay and good company!
But wait! If you still have room for dessert, throw some halved peached lightly brushed with olive oil on the grill. Grill on medium heat until they are soft and golden on the bottom. Serve with vanilla ice-cream and enjoy.
Well I hope that inspired you to to give grilling a go if you’ve been intimated by it in the past or if you’re already a pro then I hope it inspired you to throw your own grilled dinner party. The best part about it all? No pots or pans to wash!