How to Grill Veggies on the Grill

You probably already know it’s a good idea to add some more vegetables to your diet. Maybe you love veggies but aren’t sure how you can fix them in a way that is different and appetizing.

If you haven’t thought about grilling your vegetables, or have tried and failed miserably, we can help. Here are some simple tips to help you grill all types of vegetables for delicious meals and snacks.

Preparing Vegetables for the Grill – Direct Grilling

You can grill just about any type of vegetable provided you take a few minutes to prepare it. If you think about it, just tossing a full onion or eggplant on the grill isn’t going to produce the results you desire.

You’ll get more flavor from your vegetables the more surface area you give them for grill marks. This also makes it easier for you to move the items around on the grill. Here is how you can prepare some common veggies for grilling:

  • Onions– Peel and quarter through the root.
  • Tomatoes– Choose perfectly ripe tomatoes and cut them half crosswise.
  • Asparagus– Remove the woody ends.
  • Bell peppers– Quarter and seed.
  • Mushrooms – Remove stems and halve or slice if large.
  • Eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash– Cut into lengthwise strips.

To prevent your veggies from sticking, make sure your grill is clean. You’ll also want to brush your vegetables with oil (olive oil works best) after you slice and prepare them. But you don’t want to use too much oil. This can make your veggies have a greasy flavor, cause flare-ups on your grill, and defeat the purpose of trying to add something healthy to your meal.

Grilling Your Veggies – Some Indirect Methods

Some vegetables are a bit unwieldy and messy to place directly on the grill, no matter how well you prepare them. Smaller mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini rounds are a few examples.

You can keep these smaller items from falling through the grate or rolling around on your grill by using a grill basket or placing them on a skewer. If you don’t have either of these items, you can create your own “basket.” Take a roughly 24” piece of heavy-duty foil and fold it in half. Crimp the edges to create a “basket” that will keep your food inside while grilling.

Whether you use a skewer, grate, or makeshift basket, you’ll still want to prepare your vegetables for grilling the same way you would as if you were directly grilling them. By slicing them and brushing them with oil, you can ensure the veggies won’t stick and will come out tasting delicious.

How Long to Grill Your Vegetables?

Some vegetables only need a minute or two on the grill and others need longer to cook. To prevent burning, sear your veggies on medium to high heat and then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Use a thin metal spatula or a good set of tongs to carefully move and flip your vegetables around the grill.

Depending on the size of your veggies and your grill, your experience will vary, so watch your vegetables carefully. But here is a general rule of thumb for some popular veggies:

  • Grilled corn– 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally
  • Grilled asparagus– 4 minutes
  • Grilled zucchini– 4-5 minutes on each side
  • Grilled tomatoes – 5 minutes per side
  • Grilled mushrooms– 2-3 minutes per side

If you’re grilling a mix of vegetables, you’ll want to grill the heartier ones first. For example, grill your onions and peppers before your mushrooms, squash, and zucchini. The last items to go on the grill should be things like tomatoes and asparagus.

A Few Additional Notes About Grilling Vegetables

Some vegetables don’t do well on the grill. Leafy greens, celery, and cucumbers are examples because of their high-water content.

But you can serve your vegetables with a green salad, sandwich, wrap, or omelet and get delicious results. Finally, consider adding a drizzle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar to your vegetables if you are going to serve them as a standalone side dish with your meal.

Get the Freshest Vegetables at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you know how to grill veggies to perfection, the next step is to hit your local grocer for your supplies. Nick’s of Calvert offers only the freshest produce and makes service to its customers one of its priorities. Come into our Prince Frederick store today for all your grocery, spirits, and catering needs, or give us a call at (410) 414-7105 with any questions.

Choosing the Right Meat for the Grill and How to Grill It

Do you get bored with the same meats on your grill week after week? You shouldn’t have to because there are so many different options. A perfect backyard BBQ meal is the result of a combination of the right cut and type of meat and cooking technique.

If you are ready to take your grilling game to the next level, here is what you need to know.

Beef

When most people think of firing up the grill, they choose some type of beef as the main course. Whether you are grilling burgers, flank steak, or a NY strip, the quality of the beef you purchase and your technique matters.

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef

If you are making burgers, regular ground beef will have the most flavor only because it has the highest fat content (roughly 25%). If you want a burger with less fat content, choose something like ground chuck or ground sirloin.

When choosing steaks to grill, you will want to think about how you plan to grill it as well as your budget. For example, flank and skirt steaks and beef tri-tips are budget-friendly and do well with a dry rub or marinade. A NY strip or filet mignon is more costly, but also incredibly flavorful.

When picking out your meat, here are some of the ways you can judge it:

  • Marbling– Pay attention to the fat (white lines) on the meat. This gives the meat flavor and moisture during the cooking process.
  • Grade– Higher grades of meat will generally have more marbling. For beef, look for USDA grades that are Prime, Choice, or Select (Prime is the highest).
  • Color– Beef should dark red or cherry in color, not brown.
  • Cut – Different cuts of beef work better with different styles of cooking. Smaller cuts are better for grilling and larger ones are ideal for smoking.

How to Grill It

Hamburger patties are quick and easy to cook on the grill. Maintain a medium-low heat to make sure your burger cooks evenly and achieves the proper internal temperature before the outside of the burger burns. Your target internal temperature is 160° F. For best results flip your burger once and do not press your burger with you grill tool (i.e. spatula) as it will allow juices to escape and dry your burger out. You will also want to use high to medium heat to cook steaks on the grill, again flipping them just once to lock in the juices and avoid drying them out. And remember, temperature matters.

Pork

If you want to grill pork, most people go for the ribs, but other popular options are pork chops as well as a pork butt or shoulder roast.

How to Choose Pork for Your BBQ

Pork doesn’t come in grades like beef, but certain breeds will have higher levels of marbling, such as Berkshire and Duroc. Pork should be red to pink in color, never green or brown.

How to Grill It

If you are cooking ribs, they need low heat for a long time. When cooking pork chops you should consider two levels of heat. First, sear your chops over a high heat for about 3 minutes per side to create the grill marks on the outside of the chop. Then, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 7 minutes to finish cooking the chops. When grilling pork of any type, make sure you do not overcook it so that it becomes dry.

Chicken

Chicken is excellent on the grill! You can grill chicken wings, drumsticks, or boneless breasts. Or, you could just cut up a whole chicken and put it on the BBQ.

How to Choose Chicken for Your BBQ

Poultry comes in grades A, B, and C, but you are likely to only see Grade A chicken at your local grocery store. Poultry should also be pink, not white, or brown.

How to Grill It

Chicken is one of the easiest meats to grill, and it’s so versatile. You can marinate it with lime juice or teriyaki or coat it with your favorite BBQ sauce for additional flavor and moisture. Grill your chicken on medium heat. Chicken breasts and thighs will tend to cook the most evenly. For white meat, your chicken is done at about 170-degrees and you should aim for 180-degrees with dark meat.

Turkey

Turkey on the BBQ? You bet! Similar to chicken, you can purchase turkey breast cutlets that are low fat and delicious when grilled.

How to Choose Turkey for Your BBQ

When choosing turkey for your next BBQ, simply use the same criteria that you would for chicken.

How to Grill It

Since turkey can dry easily, it’s a good idea to marinate it before grilling to lock in some of its moisture. Grill your turkey similar to chicken and aim for the same internal temperatures.

Get Help Choosing the Right Meat for Your Next Cookout

The good and bad news is that you have a ton of options when it comes to choosing the best meat for your next cookout. If you are still not sure where to start, we can help. Nick’s of Calvert offers a full-service meat counter and our store takes pride in delivering superior customer service. We are also known for providing some of the freshest meats in the area at the most affordable prices. Visit us today in Prince Frederick or call us at (410) 414-7105.