Grilled watermelon, who knew? These easy grilling ideas will be unexpected hits at your summer barbecues.
Heat, smoke, and a hint of salt make this sweet fruit unexpectedly savory, 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.”
Grilling gives cake a warm interior and caramelized crust—and the inherent sweetness balances out the smoky flavors. 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 and Wine. Top with fruit, ice cream, or chocolate sauce.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Barbecue evangelist Steven Raichlen, author of Best Ribs Ever (Workman, $13.95), 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.
Iron Chef Cat Cora gently grills avocado halves, then scoops the flesh into guacamole that’s extra smoky and savoury.
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, says finecooking.com. 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.