Dinner on Your Grill

Your grill is the most versatile cooking appliance you have at home. It’s the only one that can cook absolutely everything. Make it the centerpiece of your next gourmet home dinner.

We all miss restaurants at this point, the ability to dine out hasn’t been possible for more than a month now and our kitchen is looking boring. It’s not just the food that we miss, it’s the atmosphere. The seamless soft music playlist that compliments the restaurant vibe and decor. We miss the lighting, the smells, the change of pace. The table is set and your exceptional meal arrives plated and delicious.

But let’s set that scene at home, it’s easier than you think.

Step 1: Prepare the Feast!

This should really say pre-prepare the feast; when part of the dinner experience is entertaining you don’t need to spend the entire time in the kitchen or in front of the grill. Do as much prep work well ahead of time as possible, anything that needs to be grilled should be grill ready.

Quick & Easy Grilled Dinners

Choose menu items that can grill quickly or cook with little supervision after they’ve been prepared. Take a look at Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus, Warm Goat Cheese and Grilled Vegetables, Grilled Garlic Bread, and The Perfect Steak. In all, you may have 45 minutes of prep work and no more than 25 minutes of grilling time.

Items that can be slow-roasted work too, like New Potatoes with Ramps and Pancetta because they require little adult supervision once they hit the grill. Couple these items with a great fresh salad and you’ve set the core of your menu.

Don’t let appetizers be an afterthought. Cured meats with some gourmet cheeses and grilled bread are a low effort and high-value appetizer. Try a Smoked Brie on a Cedar Plank too, it’s easier than you think. Quesadillas are crowd-pleasing and easy to grill.

DO MORE With These Unique Grill Recipes

Step 2: Set the Tunes and the Tines

If you’re like my family you’ve been eating many of your meals on the fly, the TV on, dinner straight from the grill, pan, or tray to the table. Call it the utilitarian experience, you eat to eat and move on to the next activity.

Make time to turn the dining experience into your entire evening, get the whole family involved too. Is your home restaurant French fine dining or a-Rockin’ pizza bar? Build a playlist that sets the tone for the evening or find one through any streaming app. Keep the TV off, rely on good old fashioned conversation, it’s a major part of dining out.

Need some playlist inspiration try A Definitive Ranking of Spotify’s Dinner-Party Playlists from Grub Street.

How to Set the Right Atmosphere around your Grill

Set the table: Set the table completely, preferably in an open-air environment like your own patio. Layout napkins and cutlery, glassware, portioned condiments.

Set the ambience: Don’t forget ambient things like candles or greenery. Set the lighting to bring it all together, a string or two of twinkly lights can go a long way.

Settle in: Remember, when you dine out your order isn’t ready the minute you sit down. Pour some beverages, strike up the conversation, and let’s get grilling.

Step 3: Serve up a Grilled Feast

Many trendy restaurants now have open kitchens that you can peer into from the bar or dining room. Your trendy home restaurant is no different. The sounds, smells, and sights of the grill are feet from your guests, guests that grow hungrier with every steak flip.

Once your prep work is done, all you need to do is grill and serve. But if you want to complete the home-restaurant dining experience, you should put some planning into this.

Think about the relay from the kitchen to the grill to the table. You’ll need space grill-side for raw items and fresh plates for grilled meats. If you plan this with the grill time of different foods in mind, you won’t find yourself urgently looking for a clean plate when its time to take the steak off the grill. For example, your steak will grill at a higher temperature than your asparagus. Dial in your heat for each burner appropriately so that you can cook them at the same time.

Essential Grilling Tools for the Perfect Dinner

Don’t forget your grilling tools! To make that perfect dinner, you’ll need some of these essentials:

Choose your serving style

Serving family style: Layout complete dishes on the table that can be passed around between guests. It’s the fastest way to get seated and eating.

Individually plating: Requires a little more work since everything needs to be portioned and positioned to look it’s best. If you’re plating, slice meats like steak ahead of time, so its ready to serve. Use garnish on top of or beside the sides; some diced greens or fresh sprouts work well.

Keep portion control in mind: The more items on each plate, the less of each item your guests will eat. Appetizers cut down on their overall appetite, so don’t forget to leave space for dessert. There are lots of great grilled dessert options, check them out here.

Ben – Culinary Director.