For all but the hardiest of cooks, the grilling season is a finite experience, with 99 days to sizzle from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
And, yes, the predictable burger or tube steak may satisfy the home team, at least initially.
But does that please the inner grillmeister?
This may be the season to step up your cooking repertoire. If you’re in the habit of grilling chicken simply, move on to marinating it first with buttermilk and rosemary before giving it a dose of the flames. Better yet, sprinkle rosemary and citrus peels on the grill rack itself for an aromatic finish.
Then consider the potato salad. Instead of boiling the potatoes, toss them in bacon fat and grill the potatoes, along with onions, before tossing the crispy concoction in a vinaigrette flavored with a dab of chipotle chile.
Or think skewers. Shishito peppers have popped up on menus all over. Now, no surprise, you can find them in many supermarkets. The small, wrinkled peppers suit the skewer. But don’t stop there. Pair them with slices of chorizo for the perfect appetizer.
Still on the fence about predictable? (Should I note that it’s vastly overrated?) Maybe you need to branch out from the traditional burger. Think baby steps, in the form of large portobello mushrooms, which — trust me — serve as satisfying replacements for meat on a bun (or skip the bun). Top them with goat cheese and arugula, and you’ve got a mouthful of flavor beyond cheeseburger.
But don’t stop there. Make the grill your kitchen for a sour cream dip that starts with onion slices tossed over the heat, for a smoky, charred flavor that shakes up the packaged option.
The clock is ticking. Start your grilling.