Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Barbecue Challenge

I recently received a request for a meal plan cooked exclusively on the barbecue. The requester is living through a kitchen remodel and is stuck with a gas grill and a tiny prep area. Immediately I started thinking of menu ideas.

My first plan was:
Starters: Grilled Romaine Salad with a bottle of cesar dressing rather then making from scratch.

Dinner: Grilled Pizza (fabulous!), with whatever toppings sounding good. Buying the dough will simplify prep work. Grilled pizza comes together in a flash. Get the toppings ready on a plate beside the grill and everyone can decorate their own pizza.

Dessert: Slice ripe peaches, grill cut side down until grill marks appear and they are a juicy. Top with vanilla ice cream and raspberry jam.

Then I got all fancy brained and came up with the second plan:
Starter: Grilled oysters. Justin does this all the time and they are delicious. Buy a dozen small - medium fresh oysters. Toss on the grill over low until the first one opens up. Take all the oysters off the grill and pry open whichever ones haven't popped by themselves. Serve with lemon wedges.

Dinner: Tuna steaks with soy and wasabi, sliced cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar, salt and sugar, some rice... oh wait, can you make rice on a grill?

Okay, onto the last idea. We grilled this meal up last night to celebrate the 90 degree Autumn solstice here in Portland. Banh Mi burgers, grilled green beans and cucumber salad. We didn't take any photos.. sorry. But I promise it was all delicious!

There is a small amount of prep work for this meal, but all possible to do with limited tools and space.
The day before the grill party make marinated carrots and diakon; grate 1 carrots and 1 diakon radish (if you can't find the radish, just do 3 carrots). In a bowl mix 2 cup water, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon salt. Add veggies. Marinate at least overnight.

Grilled Green Beans
1 lb green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons black bean with garlic sauce (This is a common Chinese sauce, find it near the soy sauces in the market)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon (or more) chili paste
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Combine everything but the green beans in a large serving bowl. Add green beans and toss to coat with sauce.
2. Put sauced green beans into a grill basket. Grill in a grill basket for 15 minutes, or until tender and a bit charred.
3. Put back into serving bowl. Eat hot or cold. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you have them.

Bahn Mi Burgers
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon salt
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sugar

4 hamburger buns
1 bunch of cilantro, cleaned
1 jalapeno, sliced thinly
marinated carrots and diakon radish
thinly sliced red onion

1. Combine beef, pork, salt, sugar and pepper. Form into 4 burger patties.
2. Grill over medium heat until done to your liking.
3.To assemble, slather a toasted bun with mayo. Top burger with cilantro springs, a few slices of jalapeno, marinated veggies and some red onion.

Serve with grilled green beans and cucumber salad.
I would personally go for some coconut ice cream for dessert. Maybe with some grilled banana and a jar of caramel sauce. Just an idea.

I hope it works out for you!
Anyone else have any dinner challenges? This was fun.


  1. You met the challenge well. There are some really nice recipes here.

  2. my husband will forever have a special place in his heart for you.



  3. Kelly - I can't wait to hear what recipes you choose to make. I hope the party goes well! Thanks for the challenge.
    I forgot to add, pretty much any veggie, brushed with olive oil and grilled is a great side dish.

  4. our out of town guest was actually this weekend, but, as luck would have it, this is one of the ONLY weeks that my husband is in town for the better part of 7 days. so i'm going all out and doing one of these a night starting tomorrow, and then i'm going to discuss them on my blog. when i told him before he left for a work dinner this evening, he pumped his fist in the air he was so excited.


    ah, the life of a couple of house gypsies.

  5. (you saw that i featured you, right? i hope it's okay that i used the pizza picture?)

  6. I love grill challenges. I don't see why you couldn't make rice on a gas grill I don't know about charcoal.

    I grilled cupcakes once in orange rinds. They turned out very nicely!

    All of your recipes sound so delicious!