Paella, the classic grilled rice dish from Spain, is perfect for a barbecue because everything cooks together in one pan and absorbs the smoky flavor from the fire. The key to this dish is the crusty caramelized layer of rice, called socarrat, that forms on the bottom of the pan. While the combination of ingredients ranges from the traditional rabbit and snails to vegetables and seafood, this version, known as paella mixta, contains seafood, Spanish chorizo, and chicken. For more Spanish flair, sip on glasses of sangría while the paella’s on the grill.
Special equipment: This dish is named after the two-handled pan it’s cooked in. You’ll need a 15-inch paella pan because its wide surface area ensures that the rice cooks in a thin, even layer.
What to buy: Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with its Mexican counterpart) is a dried, smoked, ready-to-eat pork sausage. It can be mild or spicy, and is found at gourmet markets or online. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, you can sub in some andouille sausage.
Paella rice, sometimes labeled bomba or Valencia, is a white short-grain rice prized for its ability to stay firm when cooked. It can be found in gourmet grocery stores. If you can’t find paella rice, Arborio rice can be substituted, although the texture will be slightly softer when cooked.
Game plan: If making paella on the grill is not an option, try this recipe for a stovetop, oven-finished paella.
This dish was featured as part of our Father’s Day Grilled Paella Feast.