O’s top tips for your summer grill

Befriend the barbeque

One of the many reasons we cherish summer is that we can’t resist the urge to get outside and fire up the barbecue. We savor smoky flavor and gush over gorgeous grill marks. Fruits and vegetables, flatbreads and pizzas, a variety of proteins — you name it — the options are endless. The barbecue is an amazingly versatile tool that offers an efficient way to cook all kinds of cuisine. Bonus: barbecuing outside often spares some of the misery of messy clean up and helps keep the kitchen cool. O the glory of grilling!

Here are a few of our top tips for barbecuing veggies, fruits, and meats as well as a few of our favorite recipes to fix over the flame. Cheers to barbeque bliss!

Barbecuing veggies:

  • Cut your vegetable(s) of choice into workable pieces, making sure they’re large enough to keep them from slipping through the grate to a fiery fate below. Consider using a skewer or grilling basket for bite-sized items like cherry tomatoes or mushrooms.
  • Season veggies with a light coating of olive oil to prevent them from drying out and losing their juicy goodness. Add herbs, spices, or simply a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper and sea salt as desired. Alternatively, marinate them with your favorite vinaigrette.
  • To avoid burning your veggies, first sear them over high heat and then relocate them to a cooler part of the barbecue to finish cooking.
  • Keep an eye on cook time, which varies by veggie. Most cook quickly. Dense items, such as carrots, beets, and potatoes, take a bit longer. Pro tip: precook these first, then toss them over the fire for a hint of that smoky zest.

Barbecuing fruits:

  • Make sure your barbecue is clean and clear of grime. While the remnants of past cookouts may pair well with meaty mains, fruits do not fare as well with a less-than-great grate.
  • Using a paper towel doused in a bit of vegetable oil or a neutral oil of choice, slick the grate instead of coating the fruit directly to avoid greasy tasting fruit. Save the good stuff (olive oil) for tasty recipes. Select fruit that is just barely ripe and slightly firm, so that it will hold up in the heat and won’t turn into messy mush. See the first tip on barbecuing veggies for slicing suggestions.
  • Keep it simple. Grilling caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugars and enhances their vibrant flavors, so it’s usually not necessary to add extra sweetness.

Barbecuing proteins:

  • Let meat sit at room temperature while you preheat the barbecue, which will help it to cook evenly.
  • Season with salt and pepper, herbs and spices, or gently apply a rub in advance. Alternatively, marinate with your favorite vinaigrette for 30 minutes up to two hours.
  • If you’re barbecuing fish, consider making a foil packet, using a plank, grilling or fish basket to keep it from flaking or falling apart. If you’re lusting for grill lines, be sure to clean and oil the grate before laying your filet over the flames.
  • Once on the barbecue, let it be. Allow the meat to develop a seared crust before you flip it. If meat is sticking to the grate, it’s not yet ready to be flipped. A general rule of thumb: flip as infrequently as possible.
  • For thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs or legs, first sear over high heat and then move to a lower-temp locale on the barbecue to allow the meat to cook thoroughly on the inside without burning the outside.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ditch the guesswork in determining when meat is done. It’s an affordable and worthwhile investment that will boost your barbecue confidence.
  • Let cooked meat rest uncovered and undisturbed for five to ten minutes afterwards to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for ultimate flavor. Settle, slice, serve, and savor!

Hungry yet? We sure are!

Our go-to grilling recipes:

Grilled Salmon & Vegetables with O Fresh Basil Olive Oil Aioli

Grilled Dijon Chicken Breasts with O Citrus Champagne Vinegar

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Blood Orange-Ginger Sauce

Grilled Flank Steak with O Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled Pork Chops with O Fig Balsamic, Thyme & Dandelion Greens

And while these aren’t grilled, we think they go great alongside the above recipes:

O’s Cool Honey Apple Slaw

Watermelon & Feta Salad with O White Balsamic

Summer Cucumber Salad