Summer is here and that means it’s time to fire up the grill!! There’s just something about that smoky, charred flavor you get from a grill. Turns out, it’s got a name! It’s called the Maillard Reaction, and it’s a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that give grilled food its distinctive flavor. That caramelization yields complex aroma and flavor compounds that range from savory and meaty to floral and earthy.
Whether you’re preparing a meal for your family or for a gathering of friends, nothing tastes better than food straight off the grill. Cheeseburgers and hot dogs are the old stand-by (you don’t need a recipe for those), but you can put a twist on the ‘meat and a bun’ formula with something your guests might not know: Baltimore Pit Beef!
Baltimore pit beef involves marinating a top sirloin roast with a mixture of spices. The spice rub is salty, spicy, and creates a nearly blackened crust. Delicious! Fire up the charcoal grill to roast the beef for about an hour until it’s tender on the inside. Once it’s done, slice it thin and pile it high. Then, slather a toasted bun with the signature “Tiger Sauce” – mayo, horseradish, lemon juice, and garlic – and you’ve got a new favorite! The recipe is available here.
While the grill is hot, fire up some grilled corn! Bobby Flay, Food Network’s resident Grill Master, has a great recipe for “BBQ Butter.” Use the leftover spice mix from the Pit Beef and a squirt of lime to kick the corn up a notch!
If beef or pork isn’t for you, how about grilled fish? There are actually many fish that work great on the grill, such as swordfish, tuna, or mahi-mahi. One big advantage to swapping fish for beef is the (much) faster cooking time. Where a brisket can take hours to finish, swordfish finishes cooking in minutes. For example, the typical swordfish steak is done within six to eight minutes.
Pair fresh peaches or nectarines and some red bell peppers with grilled swordfish for a summery spin. Swordfish has more protein and less fat than a steak, so you’re doing your body good, too! Top with some cilantro and lime to brighten the flavors and pair the entrée with a chewy long-grain rice like basmati or couscous - - you now have a simple, fresh, and healthy summer meal.
Or, go extra-healthy with an all-vegetable grilled meal! The caramelization that occurs from grilling vegetables can produce flavors of butterscotch, sherry, rum, or other toasty profiles. You just need to find vegetables that include high levels of sugars and protein. Corn, sweet potatoes, onions, and eggplant all fit the bill! These easy-to-find staples create tasty flavors on the grill, which you can further develop using marinades.
This grilled eggplant recipe calls for a hot fire and a simple brush of good olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper on eggplant halves. After about six to seven minutes a side, you’ve got a beautiful golden eggplant covered with the lovely char marks from the grill.
Treat the eggplant like a steak! Don’t get fussy with the sides: a simple garden salad with a lemon vinaigrette should do the trick. Springy feta or creamy goat cheese with some crumbled walnuts could help bring a bit of texture to the salad.
Amp up your summer even more with the delicious flavors of grilling. Enjoy!
Summer BBQ Recipes
June 27, 2022