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When it comes to grilling, of course, the first food option that many people think of is a delicious slab of meat. Even if you’re not always just grilling meat, it’s easy to fall into the habit of always cooking the same couple of things over and over again.
But, there is actually a whole world of things you can throw on the grill that you may not have explored very deeply yet. From healthy options to mouth-watering desserts and even a low-country boil, there are a ton of different things you could run with.
So, if you are wanting to venture out of the norm and are looking for ideas of unusual or unique foods to grill, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of some fun and easy options you can try out today and throw some variety in your grilling game:
Many people are familiar with shrimp on the grill. But two more great and even more unusual seafood options that do really well on the grill are oysters and clams.
They’re really easy to cook on the grill. All you have to do for prep is clean them. This is just letting them sit in a mixture of cold water and cornmeal to extract any sand. Then dry the shells and place them on the grill for several minutes. (For oysters, place them flat side up.) Close the grill and cook them until the shells pop open on their own and the inner meat is opaque.
Cooking pizza on the grill is super easy and a fun way to get creative with your own toppings. Plus, the grill smoke adds another layer to the flavor of the crust and the toppings. You can either use your own homemade dough or go with premade pizza crusts, naan bread, or even cauliflower crust.
Make sure to brush a little bit of olive oil on whatever dough or crust you decide to use to prevent it from overly charring. Another trick is to slightly grill your crust on each side before adding toppings to prevent it from getting soggy. Then, add pizza sauce and toppings to create your own favorite combo. If you’re tight on time, you can even grill a pre-made frozen pizza.
If you’ve got an outdoor gathering planned (especially a tailgate party), grilled nachos make a great option. Yes, you can grill nachos! And it’s super easy to do. Just poke several holes in the bottom of an aluminum baking pan or use a perforated metal grill pan, fill it with your nacho chips, and top them with your favorite toppings. One delicious combo of toppings is ground beef or turkey, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño, diced tomato, and black beans. (Save the cold toppings, like guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, for after the nachos come off the grill.)
If you’re looking for a hearty vegetarian option, try grilled tofu. This is a great way to get a good amount of protein without meat. Tofu is naturally bland, but when you add a good marinade and grill smoke, you’ll end up with a delicious final result. Just cut extra firm tofu into 1-inch cubes and let them soak in your marinade. Also, make sure to pre-soak wood skewers before using them to prevent them from burning on the grill. Then drain the tofu, skewer the cubes, and grill over medium heat.
Check out this recipe for delicious savory-spicy grilled tofu skewers with peanut sauce.
Grilled brussels sprouts make a great option for a grilled vegetable. Cooking them on the grill will get the outer leaves crispy and slightly charred, with that delicious grill flavor, while the center will still be soft. You can either cook them on skewers or keep them on the large stalk and cook them directly on the grill that way. Another option is to use a vegetable grilling basket, which works great for smaller vegetables.
Everyone loves bacon. And once you try it grilled, you may never go back to “regularly”-cooked bacon. You’ll end up with a healthier and less greasy result since it won’t be sitting and cooking in its own fat. Just cook each slice of bacon for 4 - 6 minutes (depending on how crispy you want it) on medium-high heat.
You can then enjoy the bacon on its own along with the rest of your breakfast, put it on your grilled burger, or break it up into a salad or on top of nachos (see above).
Granola is a great, healthy option for breakfast or a midday snack. Grilling it can kick the deliciousness up a whole other level that you didn’t know you were missing. Just wrap up the granola and some freeze-dried berries in a sheet of aluminum foil, poke a couple of holes in the pouch to allow the smoke in, and grill it over medium heat.
When it’s done, you can enjoy it by itself, mixed into greek yogurt, or even as a topping for ice cream.
Check out this recipe for delicious grilled granola.
Grapes are deliciously sweet and juicy both fresh and frozen. What you may not know is that they are absolutely delectable hot off the grill and super easy to do. Simply take a bunch of them (literally), lightly coat them with olive oil, and place them directly on the hot grill grate. Cook them for about 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally. They can be served alongside a thick-cut steak, pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, or even on top of a summer salad.
For a great combo of tangy and sweet flavors, check out this recipe for balsamic grilled grapes.
Source: Savory Experiments
Chances are, you may not have heard of this golf-ball-sized red and green spiky/furry and delicious fruit. Grown in tropical Southeast Asia and some parts of Latin America, Rambutan is similar to a lychee, with a translucent white grape-like “meat” inside. This fruit is great when eaten fresh or even slightly chilled. But like many of the things we’ve covered in this article, their natural flavor is amplified even more when grilled.
Simply place them on the grill whole and cook over high heat until the outer “hairs” have singed black, usually only a couple of minutes. The shell actually steams the sweet inner fruit while it’s cooking. Sometimes they will pop open and leak some juice while cooking but this is ok. Just make sure to not overcook them.
After they come off the grill, carefully halve the outer shell to open them and enjoy! (Keep in mind there is a seed in the middle of the fruit.)
Many different vegetables cook really well on the grill, but one that you may not think of is cucumbers. The grill adds a delicious smokiness to the crunchy “cucs” and you can serve these as a side or a healthy appetizer option. Just cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then in half again. Grill them on medium heat for roughly 10 minutes.
If you love the vinegar flavor of pickles you can even use vinegar and salt in your prep before putting them on the grill. Then, pair them with a delicious pickled feta dip. Check out this recipe for all the details on that combo.
With the options of unique foods to grill that we’ve covered above, you are ready to throw some variety into your grilling routine. You have plenty of ideas to choose from for appetizers, sides, the main course, and dessert. Feel free to adjust the above options to your tastes and make them your own. Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to your backyard cooking!
Have you tried any of the items above on the grill? Do you have a favorite, more unusual food to grill? Leave a comment below. We want to hear all about it!
If you want to really elevate your backyard cooking skills and learn from the pros how to cook a variety of delicious recipes step-by-step, check out the Championship Backyard Cooking Classes here at BBQ Champs Academy!
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**Feature image from Little Ferraro Kitchen
3 dishes you will learn how to cook: