Summer time is grilling time. Your charcoal or gas grill is just begging for meats, vegetables and even fruit to cook on its grates. Make a salad, or pick up something from the deli, then let it sit in the fridge while you and your dinner guests or family take to the backyard, deck or patio as the main course sizzles and smokes. Omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy dinner prepared on the grill.
Burgers, bratwurst and hot dogs may be obvious grilling choices, but being more creative takes a little extra effort and the payoff is worth it. Consider grilling a whole chicken, for example. Just use indirect heat and keep turning the chicken until the skin is browned on all sides and a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees Fahrenheit. What about pork kabobs? Cut boneless pork chops into 3/4-inch cubes, place in large plastic bag, add a seasoning (like jerk, for example) and shake the sealed bag to coat the meat. Skewer the pieces and grill them over medium heat, turning occasionally until browned on all sides. Don't forget lamb. Ask your butcher to trim, split, and debone a whole leg of lamb, which will leave you with about 5 pounds of meat. Marinate the meat overnight. Try a sweet Asian marinade with hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic and soy sauce. Grill the meat the next night.
Kabobs aren't the only vegetable-friendly grilling option. Whole ears of shucked corn can be set directly on the grill. Slice onions and red, orange, yellow and green peppers, toss them with olive oil and a little salt and pepper before wrapping them in a foil pouch. Place the pouch on the grill and cook until the slices are tender. You can use them to make fajitas. Cut a whole eggplant into 1/2-inch thick rounds, brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill using indirect heat until cooked through, turning once. Bean salads are always a nice, protein-rich accompaniment to grilled vegetables.
You can also prepare a fruity dessert on the grill to eat alone or to spoon over ice cream. Bananas and pineapple are good choices. Peel ripe bananas and cut them in half lengthwise; cut a peeled pineapple into four long wedges. Mix two parts lime juice, one part honey, ground cinnamon and ground cloves. Prepare the grill grate with cooking spray before placing the bananas and pineapple cut side down. Brush them with the lime mixture while they cook. The bananas will cook much faster (about two minutes per side) than the pineapple (about four minutes per side).
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