You Can Grill That? 7 Surprising Foods You Need to Try on the Grill

When it comes to grilling, it pays to think outside the burger box. From easy appetizers to delicious side dishes, make your grill your new BFF this summer with some unique flame-licked goodies.

Photo: Darren Kemper

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Meat might be the most commonly grilled food – but it’s far from your only option. There’s so much more potential just waiting in your fridge, your fruit bowl and your pantry. 

The next time you fire up your barbecue, forget about traditional proteins and veggies; instead, try something new. You’ll discover just how versatile your barbecue can be when you place these less common foods atop the grates. 

1. Oysters

Usually served raw, oysters on the half shell are equally delicious grilled. They even come in their own serving dish – a shell! 

Grill oysters in the shell (with the cup side up and flat side on top). Cover your grill and cook until the oysters pop open, 5 minutes. Discard top shells. For a quick mignonette, add a few whole greens and cook until wilted and charred. Finely chop them and mix with white wine vinegar to dab on top of the oysters.

2. Red grapes

The heat and smoke of the grill does great things to red grapes. Simply throw a bunch of grapes (still attached to the cluster) on a hot grill and cook until they warm up and begin to sizzle, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve on a grazing board with soft goat cheese and thin slices of serrano ham for a Spanish tapas party to remember. 

3. Radicchio

Grilled radicchio is actually a classic Italian preparation – specifically, grilled wedges of radicchio brushed with olive oil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And this is one of the most delicious ways to enjoy the bitter leaves. 

Grill wedges of this purple-red veggie over medium high, turning frequently, until wilted and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a bit of honey. Serve with meat or risotto. 

4. Avocado

Avocado halves become smoky and a little creamier when grilled. Just cut them in half lengthwise, remove the pit, and leave the skin intact. Brush the cut side with lime juice and a spritz of olive oil spray.  Grill cut side-down for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stuff with corn, or cherry tomatoes with a dash of hot sauce for a quick side dish.

5. Pizza

If you love pizzas made in an authentic wood burning oven, why not create the same experience at home? Your grill can infuse the same flavor and deliciousness as one of those ovens, and there’s no special equipment required.

Start by grilling homemade pizza dough for a few minutes per side over medium heat to set the dough. Then, top the pizzas and cook on a covered grill over indirect medium heat until the toppings are cooked, 10 minutes. 

6. Cucumbers

Cucumbers don’t always have to be cool! Try cutting cucumbers lengthwise into long wedges, mist with olive oil spray and grill over medium high heat, turning occasionally until the cucumbers are lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with chili crisp and serve with steak or chicken.  

7. Dessert dishes

You can tackle dessert with your grill, too. Whether you’re baking a cake or using in-season fruit, all kinds of sweets can develop even more flavor. 

Try briefly grilling cubes of angel food cake and halved strawberries until lightly charred. Serve with scoops of frozen Greek yogurt. When peaches are in season, halve and pit them, toss with a few teaspoons of maple syrup, a dash of vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon and grill over medium high heat and cook until you can hear the juices sizzling, 20 minutes. Serve with scoops of frozen yogurt. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you’re grilling! We’ve got plenty of recipes and ideas to try, like our Levantine Grilling Feast and grill-centric meal plans. And whether you’re new to barbecuing or a seasoned cook, it’s always helpful to brush up on your technique to avoid common mistakes.

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