For some, the smell of summer lives in freshly cut grass, salty sea air, the metallic tang of the garden hose, or even the particular tomato stem fragrance of a vegetable garden. For me, those are all lovely and evocative, but for my nose summer has only set in once it senses the aromatic sting of grill smoke. Summertime means grilling time; full stop.
Gas grills revolutionized summer grilling with a higher degree of ease and convenience, but “firing up the grill” isn’t exactly a casual process for those working with charcoal. All the more reason to let your grill do more than just an evening’s work for you. If you spent the time getting your briquettes to that ambient ash state, why only utilize them for a handful of minutes for your hot dogs, burgers, or steaks? Even if you are, as they say, cooking with gas (on the grill), why not employ the same food prep mentality as you would in your indoor kitchen?
Once the grill is fired up, it’s ready to work for you. If you’ve got a little extra space, or even just a little extra time, utilizing proteins and vegetables alike, there are plenty of approaches and recipes to let your weekend grilling session provide you with weeklong grill flavor.
Utilize Large Cuts
Reheated, grilled burgers and dogs can never compete with their fresh-off-the-grill counterparts. But that’s not necessarily true for large cuts of meat. A whole pork tenderloin or skirt steak may be more than you need for today’s meal, but they can easily become tomorrow’s porchetta sandwiches or steak fajitas. Or all the more reason to double up on these economical cuts for cooking now and repurposing later on. Get our Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe.
Skewer Some Shrimp
There’s doubtlessly enough real estate, no matter what you are grilling, for a few skewers on the side. Think surf and turf, but hold the surf for later in the week. Shrimp, especially, cook lightning fast on the grill, and you can keep them in the fridge for a quick protein boost to salads, a healthy snack, or something with a delicious char to fold into a quesadilla. Get our Smoky Grilled Shrimp recipe.
Stainless Steel Sliding Skewers, 4 for $29.99 from Williams Sonoma (normally $44.95)
Because you never remember to soak the wooden ones ahead of time.
Add Another Chicken Breast (Or Two)
The grilling treatment is the highest expression chicken breasts can hope for. While they may or may not be your centerpiece for outdoor dining, a grilled chicken breast with a zingy marinade can make for a knockout Caesar salad, or a healthy alternative to chicken parm later in the week. Get our Grilled Chicken Breasts recipe.
Dish Up Dough
If you’re already hip to grilled pizza, then you know how surprisingly well pizza dough comes together on a grill. This is the closest we mortals without pizza ovens can come to that blistery, Neapolitan outcome. But even if pizza isn’t on the menu this evening, you can still seize the opportunity to grill up some rounds of dough for myriad uses later on: quick toaster oven pizzas, bruschetta, or even croutons. Get our Grilled Pizza Dough recipe.
Roast Red Peppers
The grill is hot, so what else can you put on there while it’s fired up? Getting a nice blister going on a few red peppers can provide returns that go well beyond just the coming week. Once the skins are peeled and the peppers are marinated, you’ve got little bursts of smoky flavor to add to dips, sauces, sandwiches, pastas, salads, pizzas…basically everything.
Related Video: How to Roast and Skin a Red Pepper
Transform Eggplant into a Silky Snack
Detractors of eggplant will often claim texture as the reason they’re not into it. But when it becomes a smoky, grilled eggplant dip or spread, who can argue that the texture isn’t precisely what it’s supposed to be? Here, whole eggplants go directly on the grill for a case of minimum effort, maximum reward. (Grill some pita for dipping triangles while you’re at it.) Get the Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush recipe.
Invest in Extra Ears of Corn
Since you’re already shucking ears for grilled corn, why not go ahead and plan for twice the bounty? Tonight’s elote can transform tomorrow’s salads, with lettuce, pasta, potato, beans, or even the corn itself as the base.
Related Reading: Corn Salad Recipes for Summer
Everything Else You Need to Know
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