Weeknight Grilling Recipes
May 7, 2013 8:21 AM   Subscribe

What are your "weeknight" go-to grillers? The patio is open for the season! However, I am stuck in a rut grilling burgers, chicken thighs and the occasional brat or steak. Setting up a morning marinade is fine, but I'm not looking for tend-the-fire-all-afternoon sorts of things.
posted by sarajane to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 101 users marked this as a favorite
We love grilled pizzas. You can buy or make a bunch of dough and just keep it frozen until you need it. Ditto for tomato sauce. We usually make up a big batch and freeze it in smaller quantities. Grill one side of the pizza dough rolled out but before you put anything on it. Then you flip it over and can just throw on whatever toppings look good to you that day. Super quick and super easy.
posted by goggie at 8:25 AM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Kebabs, grilled pineapple for dessert.
posted by HMSSM at 8:27 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

- Salmon marinated in maple, soy, and peppercorns on a cedar plank.
- Small pizzas with the toppings of your choice are fun, easy, and grill almost instantly. We like prosciutto and caramelized onions with some gruyere on top, or fresh tomatoes, basil, crushed garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. (I've had good results with Trader Joe's frozen doughs.)
- Kebabs of all kinds--try chicken marinated with teriyaki, pineapple, bell peppers and onions, or the Mediterranean vegetables of your choice brushed with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper-ed. This is great with slabs of lightly-grilled halloumi cheese with plenty of lemon squeezed ontop.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:29 AM on May 7, 2013

Portobello mushrooms. Thin-sliced zucchini (cut the long way, not in coins).
posted by kate blank at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2013

Grilled pizza is amazing. Also don't forget the veggies. I'm grilling up asparagus with olive oil and garlic tonight.
posted by sanka at 8:31 AM on May 7, 2013

Ohhhhhh yes, seconding grilled pineapple. Also, try grilled peaches with fresh ginger and a little brown sugar. Fantastic with good vanilla ice cream or just a dollop of creme fraiche.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:31 AM on May 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

We "marinate" giant shrimp and veggies (yellow squash, zucchini, mushrooms) in pesto and then stick 'em on skewers. OMG, so good. The mushrooms especially.

Grilled corn is fantastic. Either soak for half an hour and grill in the husk, rub with lime and salt, or shuck them and grill wrapped in foil with butter, cheese, and herbs.
posted by anderjen at 8:32 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I do this all of the time. I would probably cook most of my meals on my grill during the summer and here are my favorite quick and easy things to make and also to take to BBQ's that other people are having.

1) Pestopork

Take a ziplock bag
Add in the required amount of porkchops (1 per person or so)
Add in some pesto, olive oil and lemon juice
let sit in fridge until you come home
Grill and enjoy

2) Satay Chicken

Get some chicken goujons and put in ziplock
Add a hearty dollop of peanut butter and some sesame oil
Add in some spice (I use rooster sauce you use whatever you want and should know how much to use based on your taste) and a tiny bit of cinnamon
Add in a dribble of rice wine vinegar
Smoosh around to mix everything well and grill when you get home

3) Plum sauce pork

Take ziplock bag
Add in the required amount of porkchops
Add in some plum sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and spice
Mix and grill when you get home

4) Hot sauce chicken

Take ziplock bag
Add in chicken breasts and redhot sauce
Add in some lemon juice
mex and grill when you get home

You've probably seen the trend by now, when you're marinating meat you need flavoring, salt, oil, and acid. Let them sit in the sauce covered comepletely (ziplock bags are great for this and are disposable and you can freeze the meat in the sauce and thaw to use) and grill when you get home.
posted by koolkat at 8:34 AM on May 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Veggie baskets or skewers are a quick and easy way to make sure you've got some veggie goodness in there. Get one of those grill baskets. Go the ziplock route with some olive oil or balsamic/oil or salad dressing marinade (and you don't need much) and put it over asparagus, green beans, red and green peppers, onions or other tasty veggies. I've seen people do great thigns with cauliflower/broccoli/brussell sprouts but I've never been able to replicate it well myself, but even some vegies you might think you don't like can taste amazing when grilled just right.
posted by jessamyn at 8:37 AM on May 7, 2013

Best answer: Cover shrimp in Old Bay, stick 'em on a skewer, and grill 'em.

Dice an onion, mince some garlic, shuck some corn, put the corn, garlic, and onion on a piece of foil with a couple of pats of butter and a bunch of Old Bay. Grill it.

Man, I wish I had an outdoor space to grill things. The oven/stove top just isn't the same.
posted by SugarAndSass at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mark Bittman's spicy grilled shrimp recipe is reliably tasty.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:42 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Grilled trout is easy and delicious.

Soak a few woodchips in water for a half hour (optional)

Take your trout (I buy them dressed, which means the guts are taken out and they are split down the bottom), cut the heads off if they are on, and open them like a book. Generously sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper, and rosemary.

A couple minutes before you're putting the fish on, throw the wood chips into the coals (if using charcoal) or on a small foil pan (or metal wood chip pan) put under the grates, just above the burners.

When the grill is hot, roll up a paper towel, dab it in some canola oil. Using tongs, rub the grill with the oil. This will help keep the trout from sticking.

Put the fish, skin down, over the oiled part of the grill.

Close the grill. Go in the house and pour yourself a glass of white wine.

Come back out. Open the grill. Using tongs or a fork, test the fish. It should be flaky and no longer translucent in the thickest part. If it's not done yet, close the grill and wait a minute or two until it is. It shouldn't take more than five minutes total to cook the fish.

Serve with a wild rice blend and some roasted or grilled asparagus.
posted by bondcliff at 8:43 AM on May 7, 2013

Brush thick slices (at least an inch thick) of a big zucchini with olive oil and place on the cooler part of the grill. The go about your other grilling business (turn the zucchini at least once). When the zucchini is nice and golden on the outside it will be cooked but still firm inside and it will throw a party for your taste buds.

Also want to repeat: grilled peaches. I do it very simply. Halve and pit, brush both sides with butter, place on grill (medium to low heat), cover and cook until softened and all grilled looking, about 5 minutes per side. Heaven on earth.
posted by Dolley at 8:46 AM on May 7, 2013

Grilled eggplant is wonderful.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 8:47 AM on May 7, 2013

Asparagus. Drizzle olive oil, then salt and pepper. two minutes directly over the coals, then rotate stalks 180 degrees for another minute or two. Put thicker stalks towards the middle.
posted by Kwine at 8:51 AM on May 7, 2013

Best answer: If you grill sausages (any type) and throw some onions and peppers (and any other veggies you like) on some foil and put that on the grill at the same time, it's an easy meal.
posted by xingcat at 8:53 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, grilled veggies are wonderful. About the only way a close friend will eat brussel sprouts is grilled. I par-cook in microwave for like 3 mins, then drop in a veggie basket with olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper, and whatever herbs look good. Sprinkle with parmesan when cooked - YUM

We do a lot of grilled fish too - as mentioned above, on a cedar plank, or on a grill pan.
posted by darsh at 8:55 AM on May 7, 2013

Best answer: Country-style pork ribs... throw a rub on them in the morning (salt/pepper/paprika/brown sugar/dash of garlic powder, Old Bay, etc.). I have yet to find a consensus about grilling them; many self-styled grill experts online insist that low & slow is the only way, but when I followed one recommendation to grill them over direct medium heat (hardwood charcoal) they came out just about perfect... grill 3-4 minutes, turn 90º, repeat for all four sides.
posted by usonian at 8:56 AM on May 7, 2013

If you're doing a charcoal grill, I just made these Sunday, and they're great and quick. You can also grill up the onions, peppers, and some guacamole ingredients while the steak's resting. Just keep the avacados in halves with the skin on, and grill them till they get grill marks and turn the pepper and tomatoes frequently.

I like the earlier suggestion for trout, I also like to put a few slices of onion, a touch of bacon grease, and a squirt of lemon juice, then wrap them in foil, and toss the packets down in the charcoal. Oh and if you can get a hold of good salmon or Tuna, those two fish were made for grilling.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:17 AM on May 7, 2013

Best answer: In addition to grilling new food items (pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, veggies), it sounds like you need some new destinations for your grilled food aside from a lump on your plate.

- Greek night - make a greek salad, grill lamb, warm pitas on grill. Put yogurt or tzatziki on the pita, wrap lamb and greek salad, serve.
- Mexican (or tex/mex) - marinate flank steak and grill, grill some peppers and onions, serve on tortillas
- Asian - grill pork, add to asian noodle salads (vermicelli + snow peas in sauce) or add leftover grilled pork to fried rice or other dishes
- Grill salad - grilled prawns on salad are the best

You can also start grilling surplus meat on the grill and add to any dish that takes cooked meat. Chicken is a good one - day two for chicken can include quesadillas, curry chicken salad, etc.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:18 AM on May 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Broccoli! Cut a head into quarters, brush w oil, throw on grill. It gets a little charred, and smoky and delicious.
posted by Fig at 9:23 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Dang it, I forgot corn.

My favorite method is without the husks, it tastes better, and is much quicker. You take the husk off, brush the corn lightly with oil or melted butter and sprinkle on some chili powder (I guess you could skip the chili powder). then you set it right over the heat. Turn it every min. or two. It's a little tricky because the sugar in corn means it can go from golden and perfect to burnt very quickly.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:29 AM on May 7, 2013

Seconding portobello mushrooms. They are juicy and irresistably delicious when grilled. You can eat them as a veggie side or just stick them in a bun and add ketchup, etc., like you would a burger.

Why not try some home-made bean burgers or veggie burgers? I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it's supposedly the best veggie burger you'll ever have. There are loads of bean burger recipes on the web - sorry, I would link to one we actually use at home, but our bean burgers are pretty much a black art by now. You could try falafel patties too.

As a dessert, I like peeled bananas, cut down the middle and stuffed with dark chocolate, then grilled in tinfoil.
posted by daisyk at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2013

Well, this is a kinda weird one because the original recipe uses game, but it is easy and adaptable.
One morning I woke up and found my wife passed out in front of the TV and the kid watching PBS. Later that day he told me about this recipe that he had seen and told me that we had to make it. So I finally narrowed down the show and found this recipe. Since then, we make this pretty regularly.
We usually have wild game in the freezer, but this can be made with any loin or tenderloin.


Jesse Griffiths' Loin with Herbs and Horseradish Cream
1 ½ – 2 pounds venison loin, trimmed of all silverskin
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped herbs: thyme, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savory and/or parsley, to yield about 2 tablespoons finely chopped herbs.
3 TBSP olive oil
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
2 TBSP freshly grated or prepared horseradish, or more to taste
2 tsp chopped fresh chives or parsley
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt to taste

Start a hot fire in a grill or preheat a grill to high heat. Season the loins with salt and pepper, and marinate in the herbs and olive oil for 2 hours or overnight, refrigerated. Once the coals have burned down, make an even and hot fire. Grill on one side without moving until nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes, then turn 90 degrees. Flip the loins, cooking them about 4-5 minutes more and still nice and rare on the inside. Aim for a good, deeply browned char on the outside. Remove to a warm plate and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

For the horseradish sauce, mix the crème fraiche, horseradish, chives, and zest together in a small bowl, adding salt to taste. Serve the loin, sliced thinly against the grain with mashed potatoes, the horseradish cream and a simple salad or green beans.

This looks kinda complicated, but it isn't. We have made it with all kinds of animal loins. We have used whatever herbs we can harvest from the yard (oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc). If you rub the meat in the morning with the herbs, you can leave it in the fridge all day and grill in the evening. We have added chopped chiles and chopped garlic. It is very adaptable.
The horseradish sauce can be made with sour cream or creme fraiche, but what we usually have around the house is greek yogurt and it works just as well. We never have chives or parlsey around, so we just use lemon juice, pepper and horseradish.
Invariably, we serve this with grilled zucchini, quartered and dusted with salt, pepper and chile powder. The zukes usually take about the same amount of time on the grill as the loin (depending on the size of the loin and the sizes of the zukes).
posted by Seamus at 9:35 AM on May 7, 2013

Lots of good suggestions, but I'll emphasize the grilled vegetables.

Cut an onion in half along the equator, but don't peel it. Stick a skewer through each half then microwave for a minute. Put them on the grill and let the skin burn off.

Peppers, green, red, hot, not, are fantastic on the grill. Tomatoes, too, if you use a basket or skewers and can keep them from falling apart.

Endive! Radicchio! Romaine!

Eggplant with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sliced if big Italian type, cut lengthwise if the Asian type.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:39 AM on May 7, 2013

Best answer: Korean BBQ marinade on beef or chicken!
posted by like_neon at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2013

Grilled panzanella.

Oil thick slices of day-old rustic bread and grill until lightly charred; rub with a cut garlic clove and cut or tear into cubes.

Skewer grape tomatoes and grill until lightly charred and they start spitting juice onto the coals. Dump in a bowl and crush lightly. Add your bread, a healthy handful of shaved or grated Parm, scallions, lots of cracked pepper, a little more olive oil and/or red wine vinegar if it needs balancing. Basil if you have some.

Elaborations are easy: toss with some summer greens with bite (arugula or frisee are perfect) if you want. Add some fresh mozz, torn into chunks. Add other vegetables—grilled eggplant is especially good. Top with grilled chicken or beef if you want.

This is a super easy and efficient side dish to make when you have to sear off meat and then move it to a cooler spot—prep the non-bread and non-tomato salad stuff ahead of time and you can have a starch side in just a couple of minutes.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: One of my favorites is swordfish brushed with mayonnaise. It sounds icky if you don't like mayo, but it is a total crowd-pleaser since the mayonnaise burns off in the cooking, and it doesn't even make a mess of the grill.
posted by stellaluna at 11:23 AM on May 7, 2013

The rotisserie accessory for my Weber (kettle-style) has really changed the game at my house. One or two whole chickens on the spit and 90 minutes later you have an awesome feast. Total cooking time is long, but there is very little tending to the birds - just measure the internal temperature every 5-10min after you get past the hour mark. I do this during the week 2-3x/month.
posted by jbradley at 1:36 PM on May 7, 2013

Response by poster: Wow. These are awesome. I should have known better to post before dinner.. I'm drooling on my keyboard. Please don't stop!
posted by sarajane at 1:48 PM on May 7, 2013

For dessert, grilled peaches. Oh, wow :)
posted by ktkt at 2:36 PM on May 7, 2013

Grilled shrimp seasoned with salt & pepper are great because you can add the shrimp to all sorts of stuff for weeknight meals on the fly. I add them to cold soba noodles tossed in hoisin & sriracha and serve with a little lime & fresh cilantro. The total time to make is ~20 minutes.

If you have access to good line-caught tuna, sear that until it's cooked through. Mash it with a fork and add mayo, chopped habanero, a squeeze of lemon juice, lemon zest, then spread the goodness on that bread you just toasted.

For dessert, try a grilled mango cheek, but almost any stone fruit is going to be great for dessert, with or without ice cream.
posted by Hylas at 3:07 PM on May 7, 2013

You can grill just regular fajitas for easy taco dinners, it's one of my go-to weekday dinners, you can get as fancy or as lazy as you feel like with them. I don't really think they're worth making unless you have veggies, avocado, lime, cilantro and cheese too though!
posted by BurnMage at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2013

Just finished tandoori chicken I grilled -set it up last night to marinate over night. Marinated chicken with yogurt, tandoor seasonings ( I used a blend from a local wonderful spice place), lime and extra salt & pepper. Threw some slices of onions on the grill too. And finally nice enough to eat outside too - whee!

One of my favorite simple meals is marinating any kind of meat and veggies in good olive oil w/garlic, fresh herbs and either vinegar or lemon/lime. Chicken, lamb, pork or beef are all good this way - make more than one meal's worth because they're also great at room temp for a second meal. As others have suggested serve on rice, noodles, flatbread (grilled!) or greens. We particularly like peppers, onions, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, tomato and zucchini but practically anything works.
posted by leslies at 4:42 PM on May 7, 2013

Follow-up on those country-style ribs, having done another batch a few days ago: make that 2-3 minutes a side.
posted by usonian at 9:33 AM on May 13, 2013

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