If you invest good money in a grill or smoker, it only makes sense to try and maximize the value that you get out of it. Of course, the first thing that many people think of when it comes to outdoor cooking is meat. But, your grill can offer far more opportunity than just that.
If you have open space on the grill, why not take advantage of that good heat as much as possible? In this article, we’ve covered 6 ways you can do just that. All of these things below (and yes, some may surprise you!) will help you not only maximize the use of your grill but also keep you from heating up the house when you don’t really need to.
Many people are hesitant to try and grill or smoke multiple large pieces of meat at the same time, especially if they are different types or cuts of meat. But, to make the most out of your grill when you have a lot to cook, don’t be intimated by doing this. It’s really not as hard as it may seem. It’s just a matter of timing and having a couple of digital meat thermometers on hand.
For more info on doing this properly and timing everything to finish together, check out our in-depth article on cooking multiple pieces of meat at the same time.
From this tip down, you’ll see that your grill or smoker is not reserved for only cooking meat. For example, vegetables take on an even more delicious level of flavor when cooked on the grill as well. Whether you grill them on a skewer or in a grill basket (for smaller pieces), you can impart that great char flavor you can only get from cooking on the grill.
Almost any vegetables will do well when cooked on the grill and can go right next to your main course on the grill grate. Make sure to read through our in-depth article for some specific things to keep in mind when grilling vegetables to ensure you end up with a good result.
There is also a wide variety of other side items that you can cook in your grill or smoker. Check out our articles on cheesy sides and grilled Thanksgiving sides for some great ideas.
If you are cooking a cut of meat slowly at lower temperatures in your grill or smoker, this is also a great opportunity to bake fresh bread alongside it. A grill is a perfect, closed environment to cook delicious bread. Plus, the grill smoke will add that mouth-watering extra touch of flavor to the crust.
Typically, depending on the heat level, a loaf of bread will take roughly 40 minutes on the grill to cook to a perfect golden brown with a crispy exterior. Keep in mind that because of the relatively long cooking time for bread, you won't want to do this next to fast-cooking items such as steaks or burgers.
Check out our in-depth article on baking bread on the grill for some tips to help ensure you end up with a perfectly cooked result.
Cooking fruit on your grill alongside your other items can provide a delicious treat to start your meal with or even add to it. For example, you can grill round pineapple slices or slices of watermelon for a minute or two on each side. Peaches or pears sliced in half lengthwise and grilled face down are two other great options. For an exotic option, you could even grill rambutan.
There are a ton of different fruits that will hold up well and cook nicely on the grill. Cooking fruit this way will bring out an extra level of rich sweetness.
A long-time popular side item for BBQ is beans. The good thing is, you don’t have to worry about cooking those separately on the stove. Just cook them on the grill alongside your slow-cooked meat.
All you have to do is fill a pan with some water, add your dry beans, and put that pan directly on the grill grate. The heat will get the water boiling and cook the beans right on the grill. This technique will usually do most if not all of the cooking for you. When cooking meat low and slow, you’ll find that the beans will probably be done and ready to use for a side dish when the main course is done. In some cases, the beans may need a bit more cooking than the meat but it shouldn’t be long.
Craving a grilled chicken pasta dish or grilled seafood with pasta? Just cook the pasta on the grill too! Similarly to cooking beans on the grill, just fill a pan up with water and set it directly on the grill grate, bring the water to a boil, add the pasta to the pan, and boil it for roughly 10 minutes (depending on the type of pasta).
Boiling pasta on the grill is also advantageous for the meat or fish that you may be grilling next to it. The boiling water adds more moisture to the cooking environment inside the grill, making the meat even more juicy and tender.
As you can see, a big part of getting the most value out of your grill is to utilize all of the space available to you. There are a ton of things that can actually be cooked on the grill alongside your main item that you may not have thought about before. Why have to keep going back and forth between your outdoor cooker and the kitchen when everything can be done in one place?
Try out some of the ways we mentioned above and/or get creative with other things you can cook in your grill or smoker to maximize what you get out of your outdoor cooking.
Have you tried any of the things we mentioned in this article? Do you know of some other ways that the value of your grill can be maximized? If so, leave a comment below. We want to hear from you!
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Very easy to follow and well-organized info.
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