Grilled watermelon, who knew? These easy grilling ideas will be unexpected hits at your next barbecue.
Heat, smoke, and a hint of salt make this sweet fruit unexpectedly savoury, even meaty. Grilling “sobers it up and makes it lose its sloppy sweetness,” writes Mark Bittman in The New York Times; he brushes 1-inch-thick slices with olive oil, minced onion, salt, and pepper, then grills them for about 5 minutes per side until caramelized and beginning to dry out. Serve as a side, or top Bittman-style: with melted cheese and a bun for a “watermelon burger.”
The greens take the heat surprisingly well, and grilling them creates a smoky flavour that’s perfect for a substantial salad, like this one from Food Network’s Alton Brown. Slice two heads of romaine lengthwise, then brush cut sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the lettuce halves cut-side down on a grill; cook over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and red vinegar. Place each half on a plate.
No bread required! Placing cheese directly on the grill boosts richness and creates chewy texture. For perfect char marks, without melting and creating a mess, use thick slices like halloumi or aged provolone. Drizzle the cheese with olive oil, then grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until grill marks form (4 minutes per side for halloumi, 1 minute per side for provolone). Serve with bread, grapes, and preserves.
Grilling gives cake a warm interior and caramelized crust, and the inherent sweetness balances out the smoky flavours. Cut an angel food or a pound cake into 1-inch-thick slices. Butter both sides, then grill over moderate heat until golden, turning once, about 2 minutes per side, says Food. Top with fruit, ice cream, or chocolate sauce.
Barbecue evangelist Steven Raichlen, author of Best Ribs Ever, gives the orange tubers a treatment he calls smoke-roast-combining the two cooking techniques for a creamy, honeyed potato that’s not overly sugary. He recommends coating whole sweet potatoes with butter and placing over medium-high heat until the skins are browned and the flesh tender, about 40 minutes to 1 hour. Remove, slice lengthwise, and top with butter and brown sugar.
Skewer chunks of thick-cut bacon on wooden or metal sticks, and grill over indirect heat, says Fine Cooking. Toss into salads, serve atop burgers, or add grilled pineapple and eat straight-up as an appetizer.