Cooking inside with all the comforts of your kitchen is quick and easy to do. But what do you do if you want that smoky barbecue flavor on those dishes normally reserved for the stove? You do exactly what you do inside, only outside in the fresh air. And there are more options for this type of cooking than you may realize.
What to Cook On
If you have a gas or charcoal grill, these are the obvious choices. But if you don’t have a barbecue, or you’re out of propane or briquettes, you can always use an outdoor fire pit, provided you have some sort of grate to put over the flames. You can even cook in the embers, but this takes specific preparations and can only be done with a few foil-wrapped side dishes, so it isn’t the best option.
Any type of meat can be cooked outside on the barbecue, mostly cooked right on the grill. The obvious options are burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and chicken pieces. But you can also do larger cuts, like a rack of ribs, a pork loin, or even a whole chicken. You may need to add some accessories, like those who cook their chickens standing up on a beer can, but it can still be done. Even bacon in a pan can be done over the open flames, giving it that smoky flavor it may be missing.
Keep in mind that when cooking meat, you still need to watch the internal temperature, the same way you would when cooking it on your stove or in your oven. Keep your food thermometer handy to be sure it’s done to a safe temperature to keep your family and friends from getting sick.
Potatoes are the obvious choice for an outdoor vegetable. Whole or sliced, you can add some butter or oil and your favorite spices, wrap them in foil, and pop them over the flames. But this can be done with countless other veggies as well. Carrots, beans, corn on the cob, zucchini, and asparagus are all great options to cook on the barbecue. Alone or combined, you can wrap them up, turning occasionally until they are tender and delicious. And many of them can be placed right on the grill, provided they are large enough that they won’t slip through the spaces.
Pot or Pan Meals
Anything you can cook in a pot or a pan can also be done over the barbecue. For instance, chili is quite easy to do. Just dump all the ingredients into a dutch oven, set it over the flames, and stir it once in a while until it’s done. Casseroles, stir-fry, stews, pasta, and even soups can all be done this way. The smoky flavor will add to the taste, making it a whole new meal for your family to enjoy.
Everyone who loves camping or cooking outdoors knows how deliciously toasted smores are. But you can also add a variety of other desserts to the menu. Grilled fruit is a great option for a barbecued dessert. Little hand pies of bread filled with fruit cooked over the fire in a hand-held sandwich maker are another option. Experiment with your favorite hot desserts to see which ones taste best over the barbecue.