When Does Grilling Season Begin and What You Should Be Grilling
There are two sorts of grilling people: those who believe there is a grilling season, and those who believe that it is always grilling season. The latter have no need of assistance in their grilling experience, but for the rest of us, grilling season begins once the weather makes cooking outdoors pleasurable and possible. Depending on where you live, and your personal tolerance for ambient temperature, that might start in early March, or not until later in April.
Regardless of when your grilling season starts, spring is a wonderful time to be firing up our grills, and if you have not started yet, now is the time.
So, what should you be grilling now?
Slow weekend cooks
Spring grilling can be a terrific time to experiment with things like low and slow cooking, since no one really loves to stand over a hot grill in the oppressive heat and humidity of high summer. From pork shoulder to brisket to ribs, using your grill to cook those cuts that benefit from long cooks is a wonderful way to start off your grilling season weekends.
Fast weeknight suppers
Grilling can be a wonderful way to get a meal on the table quickly and easily! Think about fast-cooking proteins like skirt steaks, boneless chicken thighs, fish filets, and cauliflower steaks; or pulling together kebabs or skewers for grilled main dishes that are easy enough to accomplish even after a long workday.
RELATED: Our Best Recipes for Grilled Fish
Get your vegetables working
From spring asparagus to early zucchini, or grilled salads like little gems or romaine, using your grill to make the most of the spring crop of vegetables brings all kinds of excitement to your mealtimes. Whether you are grilling a starter or side to accompany a grilled protein, or are making the vegetables the star, bringing in the flavor of smoke and char adds a dimension that enhances the sweetness of these early crops.
Give that sad citrus new life
Do you have a softening lemon, a browning lime, that single orange you forgot in the back of the crisper drawer? Don't dump them! Slice in half, place cut side down on your hot grill and let them char. Then squeeze the juice over any protein or vegetable you like for a burst of flavor that is a great way to enhance anything you are cooking. Or use the juice to make salad dressings with a hint of smoky sweetness.
Salvage early season fruit
After a long winter of storage apples and citrus, we can all fall prey to that first batch of peaches, plums, mangoes, pineapples and the like, only to get them home and find that they are hard, underripe, and bland. Grilling these fruits carmelizes the natural juices to sweeten the flavor and softens the texture. You can serve as-is for a side dish or make them into dessert by topping with things like whipped cream, ice cream, sorbet, vanilla yogurt, granola, crumbled cookies, or a combination.