Rub in Flavor
Use dry rubs, mixtures of herbs and spices that usually contain just a hint of sugar, to instantly season beef, pork, poultry or fish without tacking on unwanted fat. Sprinkle the desired combination onto the meat, then use your fingers to gently work the seasonings into the meat surface. Or place the meat in a plastic bag, throw in the rub ingredients and shake to cover. Store-bought rubs may be high in sodium, so mix your own.
Try this Bedouin Rub recipe courtesy of Chef Andrew Schloss, co-author of Mastering the Grill. Mix together 1 ? tablespoon coarsely ground pepper, 1 tablespoon caraway seed, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, ? teaspoon saffron threads, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Grilling vegetables concentrates their natural flavors, giving them a richer taste than boiling or steaming would. And because vegetables (and fruit) contain no protein, they don't form HCAs when grilled.
Beets are one of Schloss's unexpected grill favorites. "Their natural sugar caramelizes during cooking, so they become deliciously sweet." He suggests using canned beets (simmered) because fresh ones take longer to cook.
Vegetables can be grilled two ways: in foil packets or directly over the flame.
Use the foil method for small, irregularly shaped veggies. Cut-up onions, Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, green beans, snap peas and cherry tomatoes are all good candidates. Place vegetables on a large piece of foil and season with salt and black pepper. Lift the edges and add 1 tablespoon of water.
Bring up the sides so they meet and fold them over twice, leaving a little room for steam expansion. Then fold in the ends twice to seal the packet like an envelope. Grill the packet on the hottest part of the grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking to shake up the veggies for even cooking.
Cook larger vegetables directly on the grill. "Larger" veggies include tomato halves, 1/2-inch-thick slices of zucchini, or yellow squash or eggplant slices. Brush vegetables with olive oil (or spray with olive-oil spray), salt and pepper them, then place them on the hottest part of the grill. Grill four to five minutes per side, until fork-tender.
You can cook corn directly on the grill without wrapping in foil. To prepare corn, soak ears (with the husks on) in a large bowl or bucket of water for one hour. Drain, shake ears to remove excess water and place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. Grill 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Cool slightly before removing husks.
Fire up the Fruit
Grilling isn't just for meat and vegetables—fruit works nicely too. A hot grill caramelizes fruit, bringing out its natural sweetness while softening the flesh. Since the flesh is tender, fruit needs only a few minutes per side. In fact, grilled fruit isn't really cooked, just heated.
Firm fruits like apples, pears and pineapple are traditionally grilled, but softer fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, mangos and papaya also work well. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite fruits in the recipe that follows.