Spring has definitely sprung early this year, in fact here on the West Coast it’s felt like summer the past week, which means I have gotten to enjoy all the things I love about summer a little earlier than usual, and this has made me so happy. I’ve been out in the garden getting ready to plant, enjoying my runs outside more than usual, hiking and breaking out my favourite BBQ recipes.
Barbequing dinner is probably one of my favourite things about summer because for some reason meal times just seem so much easier. I also love that I can cook an entire meal on there with very little clean up. When I was growing up I remember my dad being in charge of the BBQ, and it was really only meats that we grilled. Now I cook everything on there from veggies, potatoes and meats, and if your grill has a side burner, you can cook some pasta or rice on there too. I love this Napoleon Lex 48,000 BTU 5-Burner Natural Gas BBQ. It has everything you could want in a grill. The grill itself has three different burners for the perfect heat distribution, as well a side burner and side ice bucket for your refreshments.
Grill your veggies
I love corn on the cob and so does my youngest son. Besides fresh berries, it’s one of the things I look forward to most about summer. Then to make it even better I was introduced to flavoured butters and seasonings. You can season your corn to fit with whatever flavours you’re adding in the rest of your meal.
As I was scrolling through some summer recipes I found one for grilled bacon wrapped corn on the cob. Yes, everything is better with bacon as the saying goes, and I know once my kids see this recipe, it will be the first corn on the cob recipe we make this year.
This recipe is thanks to about.com.
Bacon-wrapped corn on the cob
|Ingredients: 3 pounds
1 bunch basil leaves
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
8 ears corn, shucked
Lay a 13-by-18-inch piece of parchment paper on your countertop and lay 6 or 7 slices of bacon alongside each other, slightly overlapping one another, fat side against meat side, to form a rough rectangle that is as wide as an ear of corn is long. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper and pound lightly with a meat mallet or small sauté pan to flatten the bacon and press it together.
Remove the top parchment sheet and decorate the bacon with 10 to 12 small pieces of basil (you can tear up the larger leaves) and a few slices of jalapeño pepper. Lay 1 ear of corn across the bottom of the rectangle and roll the corn up in the bacon. Transfer the bacon-wrapped corn to the prepared baking sheet, laying it seam side down on the parchment paper.
Repeat the process with the remaining 7 ears of corn (you can use the same 2 pieces of parchment paper) until all are wrapped in bacon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat a grill to medium heat.
If you have a larger grill with an upper rack, use that to cook the bacon. Grill the corn, starting with the bacon seam side down. Give them a quarter turn every 5 minutes, until all of the bacon is crisp and caramelized and the corn is tender, 25 to 30 minutes total.
Perfect baked potatoes
Another summer favourite of mine is baked potatoes on the grill. I love them simply made just wrapped in tinfoil, and I love to eat the skin too, probably with more butter than is healthy but I don’t eat them too often so I indulge. The skin of a potato is actually full of vitamins b and c, iron, calcium potassium and fibre, so if you’ve never tried them, go ahead and give them a go.
Another popular potato trend lately is hasselback potaotes, and they are delicious. They can easily be made on the grill too.
Cheesy hasselback potatoes
|Ingredients: 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed
cheddar cheese slices
Slice off ends of each potato. Rest potato between two chopsticks or wooden spoons to act as a stop for the knife and carefully cut vertical slits in each potato about every 1/8-inch.
Rinse potato under running water, fanning out to rinse inside of cut slits. Place potatoes on a plate and microwave at high for 5 minutes. Flip potatoes over and microwave again for an additional 5 minutes.
Tuck slices of cheddar cheese in slits in the potatoes. Brush potatoes with butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the grill on high heat and then turn off the side that you will cook the potatoes on. Gently wrap the potatoes in tin foil and place them on the cool side of grill, cover, and cook until soft in the center and crisp around the edges, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from grill, let cool for 5 minutes, then serve immediately while still warm.
If you’ve never tried hasselback potaotes then be prepared to cook them often afterwards. They are one of our favourites and so easy to make with little prep time, and the only clean up is to throw out the tin foil wrapper afterwards.
Perfect summer kebabs
Last but not least you need a protein to go with your corn and potaotes, and in my house we love kebabs. I love them for family barbecues and entertaining because they are easy to eat, and kids can eat them when they’re too busy to sit at the dinner table.
Check out this recipe for BBQ chicken kebabs from fabulesslyfrugal.com.
BBQ chicken kebabs
|Ingredients: 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2-3 slices raw bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
Trim chicken of excess fat, then cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the salt. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Turn all grill burners to high, close lid, and heat for about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on, but turn off other burners.
Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the paprikas and sugar. Place the raw bacon in a food processor and pulse for about 30-45 seconds, until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice throughout. Add the bacon paste and spice mixture to the chicken. Mix with hands or spatula until the ingredients are blended and chicken is coated. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, rolling or folding as needed to maintain 1-inch cubes.
Grill the chicken over the primary burner with lid closed, turning one-quarter of a turn every 2 minutes or so, until browned and slightly charred (about 8 minutes total for chicken breast and 10 minutes for thighs). Brush the top of kebabs with BBQ sauce; flip and cook until sauce is browned in spots, about 1 minute. Brush second side with sauce; flip and cook for another minute or so, until cooked through.
Remove kebabs from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining BBQ sauce separately, if desired.
Having a great BBQ can make all the difference during the summer months. I can’t even imagine having to turn on my stove when the house is already as hot as can be. When choosing the right BBQ for your family, make a checklist of what you’re looking for such as, a side burner, a rotisserie, an ice bucket or lots of storage space. BBQ’ing meals will make your summer days so much easier and you get to spend more time outside.
Check out bestbuy.ca for a wide selection of BBQ’s for this grill season.
Title image @ gardenstyledirect.co.uk
Potato image @landolakes.com.