Looking for some quick and easy grilling ideas ? These will fit right into any dinner party, and you can even mix them up with some better known main dishes.
Some of these idea may seem strange, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it ! Your guests might just be impressed with these.
Grilled cucumbers might not sound like an everyday item, and it’s not. But it’s a nice combination between refreshing, watery cucumber and that nice smoky flavor only a grill can get you.
So get yourself 2-3 large English cucumbers. Each cucumber needs to be cut into quarters, length-wise. So you’ll get 8-12 cucumber spears.
Depending on the type of grate you’ve got on your grill, you might want to place the cucumbers across the lines, or even at a nice angle, if you’re going for beautiful char marks.
Your grill needs to be at medium heat for this, as too high a heat will only scorch the surface of the cucumbers and dry them out before they’re done.
So to each cucumber spear, add salt and pepper to taste, and brush with a bit of olive oil before placing on the grill. Let sit 2-3 minutes on each side, with the lid open.
These are great as a side dish, especially if you’ve got really strong meat like beef to serve with it.
Grilled cheese ! Whodathunkit ? No, I don’t mean grilled cheese sandwich. I mean actual, real cheese, thrown on the grill.
Now, not all cheese is okay on the grill. Some will melt so fast you won’t even know what’s happening.
What you’ll need for this kind of grilled cheese is a springy cheese, usually made of goat’s milk, and usually white. The moisture content in these cheeses should be high, meaning they’ll brown on the outside and get char marks, but still mostly keep their shape.
The hard cheese we all know and love will melt too fast on the grill, like cheddar or parmesan.
Some examples of what you’re looking for are:
- Halloumi – Greek goat’s milk cheese
- Kefalotyri – Another Greek cheese
- Queso Panela – Mexican cheese, cow’s milk
Those cheeses are actually higher in water content, and they feel a bit rubbery/springy when you poke them. Meaning they’re springy enough to keep their shape, and won’t melt all over your grill.
Yellower cheese usually has a lower water content, and is aged. Those are perfect for melting, but not grilling.
Once you do find a good cheese to grill, slice it in half-inch pieces. Your grill should be on medium heat.
Place the cheese onto the hot grill, and let sit for 2 minutes, until lightly browned or you can notice some grill marks forming on the underside.
Flip on the other side for another 2-3 minutes, then take off the grill. These are great as meat replacement, if you’re feeling a bit sick of all the grilled meat in summer.
Grilled avocado is right up there with cheese. You know it could be possible, but is it, though ?
Well, it is, and it’s great. But it needs a little help with seasoning, and you need to pick you avocado just right.
While for guacamole you’d need a softer avocado, that would turn to mush really easy, here you need a harder one.
You’re going to need an avocado that’s just ripening, otherwise it’ll be hard to manage on the grill because it’ll soften too much.
So pick an avocado that feels hard, but a bit yielding. Like a cucumber in texture, I’d say.
Peel the avocado, and remove the pit. Cut into half inch slices, and slather with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. Feel free to omit the garlic if you like pure avocado.
Heat your grill to medium-high. Place the seasoned avocado slices, across the grates or they might slip through.
Let sit on the hot grill for 3 minutes on each side, with the lid open.
The first fruit on the list, and it’s going to be a great one.
Grilled mango is much like grilled avocado – kind of unexpected, but it works.
You’ll need a nice, ripe mango for this. Peeled and cut into as large a slice as the big pit in the middle will allow you.
Given the way a mango is constructed, you’ll only be left with two large slices, and will have to discard the middle.
So if you’re grilling mango for several people, remember that one mango can serve 1 person.
You’ll need a medium heat on the grill, and no seasonings on the mango itself.
Just put in on the grill, assuming you’ve peeled it beforehand. The slices will be less than an inch thick, so they should get nicely done.
There will be some caramelization from the natural sugars in the mango, and along with the smoky flavor of the grill, you’re in for a nice treat.
Grilled watermelon is a bit ‘out there’, but like mango, it’s deceptively delicious.
However you’re going to need to be more careful with this one.
Whole slices, like steaks, are not going to be alright here. You’re going to need wedges, since you’ll need the rind to hold the whole fruit together.
If you were to use steaks, the inner, softer part would just crumble into the grill.
So, I suggest you get either smaller watermelons (something under 6 pounds), or cut off the innermost part of the wedge.
Of course, try and get seedless ones so you have less hassle when grilling.
Again, your grill will have to be on medium. Do keep in mind that there’s a whole lot of water content, so very clear char marks probably won’t be a thing.
But let the watermelon sit on one side for 3-4 minuets, then flip it on the other side. The sweetness will blend nicely with the smoky flavor, and it’s great both as part of a side dish, and as a dessert.
Donuts, on a grill. If ever there was a way to make donuts even better than they already are, I think this is it.
I suggest you get plain donuts, not glazed since those can and will stick to the grill.
Powdered sugar is alright, and might just get a bit caramelized.
As for filled donuts, it’s up to you if you want to test that one. There might be some leakage or a broken donut when you flip them, but then again you might get lucky.
If you’re using plain donuts, you can grill them whole, or cut them in half lengthwise, like for a sandwich.
This way you’ll get more grill marks and flavor on all the donut.
3 minutes on each side should be enough, with a medium heat.
You can use grilled donuts either as a dessert, if you add some grilled bananas or mango. Or you an use them as a bread, like with bacon and spicy mayo.
Grilled bananas are going to be a little tough, since these things get mushy real fast.
For this, you’ll need either plantains, or unripe bananas. By unripe I mean mostly yellow, but with some definite green around the stem. They should make a very clear sound when you peel them, kind of like ripping.
Whichever you use, know that they might get a little slippery. So you can either use them whole, and be very careful when turning them.
Or you can cut them into smaller pieces and run them on a skewer. I think this one is easier to handle.
Whichever method you use, the bananas will cook fast. So 2-3 minutes on each side will give you a nice, sweet, smoky banana. Any grill marks you get are going to taste delicious.
Like cucumber, kiwi has a high water content. So you’re going to want thinner slices, that you can really grill.
I suggest you get kiwis that are just turning ripe. They should be a little tough, but allow you a good squeeze.
Peel the kiwi, which is going to be slippery, and cut it into half inch thick slices.
Let sit on the grill for 2 minutes on each side, on medium heat. You might not get severe char marks, but some will still appear on the surface.
Grilled pickles are also a thing, and these too will require about the same treatment as cucumbers.
Cut the pickles in 4, lengthwise. If you pickles are smaller, like gherkins, only cut them in half.
Make sure you pat them dry, as they have enough water content anyway.
Place them on a preheated medium grill, and let them sit for about 3 minutes on each side before serving.
These go great with some bacon and hot dog buns, even if you’re not making hot dogs.
10. Pound Cake
The spongy, moist pound cake is going to go great on the grill too.
Much like grilling a donut, you can let the sliced pound cake grill for 3 minutes on each side. Here we’re grilling for flavor, since the cake itself is edible to begin with.
You’ll need a medium heat for this one, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can put a small bit of butter or bacon fat on the grill to give the pound cake a nice twist.
If you’re using fruity pound cake, like a strawberry and cream one, it’s going to get even better.
Grilling jalapenos is a great way to give them an extra kick, since we’re going to use whole jalapenos for this.
You’ll need medium-high heat, since we want the surface to sear and blister, but not terribly.
Roll them from one side to the other, for a total of about 6-8 minutes, longer for the large ones.
If you’d like to keep the heat at a reasonable level, you can use halved jalapenos, and pick out the seeds. That’s where most of the spiciness comes from.
In this case, you can still grill the jalapenos for 6-8 minutes, but know that they might get softer.
And grilled bacon. No barbecue without bacon.
You can grill bacon as-is, arranging the bacon strips on the grill at angles and turning them on each side every few minutes, so you get beautiful crosshatch marks.
Remember that bacon can and will warp when grilling, and it will shrink too. So be careful how you place it on the grill, and especially when you flip it.
Another option is to wrap bacon around some other items, like fingerling potatoes. Or the jalapenos mentioned earlier. Or bananas. Who’s gonna stop you ?
Just remember that whatever you want to wrap the bacon around has to be able to sit on the grill for 10 minutes without breaking down. Or, use very thin slices of bacon.
You’re bound to find something delicious on this list, because grilling anything is going to amp up the flavor.
If I were to recommend something, I’d say try the grilled banana, and the avocado. Both are pretty good, and go beyond the usual, raw taste.
Happy grilling !