how to BBQ as meal prep: grill extra food to use later in the week
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Using your BBQ to meal prep is a simple way to make summer dinner even easier; here are seven strategies to grill extra food and how to use it for future meals.

More Smart StrategiesHow to Save Money When Grilling This SummerFor 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.

You’ll maximize your effort and the money you spent on fuel.

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.

For instance, you could try our Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe and shred the leftovers with BBQ sauce for easy sliders on day two, or make our Bourbon Marinated Flank Steak recipe and add leftover slices to a steak salad.

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 on Monday night. Get our Smoky Grilled Shrimp recipe.

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Add Another Chicken Breast (Or Two)

buttermilk chicken breast recipe


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. Or you can chop them up for an easy chicken salad. 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, pizza dough panzanella, or even croutons. Get our Grilled Pizza Dough recipe.

Or try grilling this easy flatbread recipe; it’s best stashed in the fridge, but you can freeze it for longer. Reheat to have for lunch with hummus, or wrap up those leftover grilled shrimp with some salad greens and dressing for dinner.

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

grilled eggplant


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 and snack for days.

Invest in Extra Ears of Corn

grilled corn on the cob


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. Or add the grilled kernels to everything from quesadillas to quiche.

Related Reading: Corn Salad Recipes for Summer

Everything Else You Need to Know

Our Top Grilling Tips, Techniques, Tricks, and Tools for the Best BBQ Ever

Header image by Chowhound

Pamela Vachon is a freelance writer based in Astoria, NY whose work has also appeared on CNET, Cheese Professor, Alcohol Professor, and Diced. She is also a certified sommelier, voiceover artist, and an avid lover of all things pickled or fermented.
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