Impress Your Partner With A Gourmet Grilled Meal This Valentines Day!

Burgers, hot dogs and wings may be OK for when the guys come over or for that next tailgate party. However, when you are trying to impress that special lady in your life you’re going to need something a bit extra, slightly more gourmet, especially when it's Valentines Day!

Gone are the days of a few charred sausages or chunks of meat on a plate. A sloppy joe or pulled pork sandwich just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

Gas or Charcoal: Which Grill Is Best for a Gourmet Experience?

BBQ On Gas And Charcoal Grill

Without a doubt, gas is the better choice—it’s cleaner and more controllable. You want to look like a gourmet chef, not a steam train driver from the Wild West.

That extra quick startup and better temperature control will ensure there’s no waiting between food, and less chance of a scorched meal. Between the starter and main you can simply alter a few dials to get the optimum temperature for the next course.

If you do insist on using charcoal for that extra smoky flavor, use a chimney to light it and do it in advance.

Rather than messing about with piling up briquettes or smelly lighter fluid, a chimney can start your charcoal grill in 10 minutes or less. It still leaves you time to go and get cleaned up before the grill hits temperature.

The Best Accessories for a Gourmet Grill

A gourmet grill-master still needs the best tools and accessories to prepare his grilled feast.

Spring-loaded tongs are essential when grilling and can be used for everything, from vegetables to moving the charcoal about. A spatula is also handy to flip those huge slabs of meat (oops—I meant delicate pieces of fish) with a fork, to turn more awkward foods.

A silicone basting brush will also allow you to more delicately moisten and flavor your gourmet foods with sauces or marinades.

The odd stray brush bristle may be ok on a rack of ribs but definitely not on that salmon fillet. Most silicone brushes can be easily put in the dishwasher, so no flavors linger from previous cookouts.

Menu Choices

When you meet that lady who is impressed with sticky finger ribs or chunks of meat in a burger bun, let me know please. I’m not saying ladies don’t appreciate this food but it is really only one step up from taking them to a fast-food joint.

We’re talking about a meal she will be showing off to her friends about around the water cooler the next day in the office. Not something she will be telling all her girlfriends what a cheapskate you are.

What I mean is a delicate seafood starter or maybe a speciality salad for starters. If you must do pulled pork, put it into an Asian-style salad.

A meat and vegetables on a plate for the main, not just thrown in a bun. And a dessert which is just so sweet she thought it was impossible to do on a grill.

The Recipes for Your Gourmet Grill

Preparation is key when you try to impress that lady with a grill, research the kind of menus those fancy restaurants specialize in. You not only want the food to taste good, but also want it to look good too.

There are many great websites where you will find grill recipes that don’t just involve brisket smoking or burgers.

The following recipes are gourmet treats that myself and colleagues have developed over the years. A couple of them we even do when it’s just the boys around the grill, for a special occasion.

The Perfect Gourmet Grill Starter: Scallops with Chili Garlic Butter

Scallops With Chili Garlic Butter

Many of the best gourmet meals start with a seafood appetizer. Ensure you buy the best quality possible and ask your fishmonger to prepare and clean them for you. You are going to be cooking the scallops in their shells, so make sure you ask him for those too.


  • 12 scallops (see note above about preparation)
  • ½ cup chardonnay—you can drink the rest of the bottle
  • A good handful of flat leaf parsley

For The Garlic And Chili Butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red serrano chili
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  • Begin by making the chili garlic butter, which you can either do on the stove indoors or over the grill. Put the butter with the oil in a pan to melt and then add the finely chopped garlic and chili, before setting aside
  • Put the scallops into the shells and add a glug of chardonnay to each one
  • Close the lid or hood of your grill and cook for four to six minutes until done, turning them halfway through
  • Using your tongs, remove the shells to the plates and drizzle a little of the butter mixture over the top before sprinkling with chopped parsley

The Best Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu

For the main, we have chosen a timeless classic, the chicken cordon bleu. Rather than fry it though, we have cooked it on the grill with a panko breadcrumb coating.

Served with some balsamic roasted vegetables, this is one dish that lady is unlikely to have tried at a backyard grill before.


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

You will also need eight toothpicks and a couple of chunks of apple wood.


  • Fire up your grill or smoker for medium to high heat cook, about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need to add the apple wood about five minutes before adding the chicken to the grill
  • Flatten each chicken breast by wrapping it in plastic and pounding with a mallet until about ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper
  • Place two slices of prosciutto on top of each breast in a crisscross pattern before adding about half of the Gruyere cheese to each breast. Use the prosciutto to wrap the cheese up and ensure it is placed onto the centre of the chicken breast
  • Roll the chicken breast up and secure with the toothpicks
  • Coat the outside of each rolled up breast in the mustard before rolling in the panko breadcrumbs
  • Place onto the center of your grill and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This should take about 30–40 minutes—giving you time to enjoy your starter
  • Remove from the grill and leave it to rest for five minutes, before transferring to the plate with some grilled veggies or a side salad

The Perfect Gourmet Dessert

Grilled Peaches With Bourbon Sauce

If your lady is not impressed with your gourmet grill yet, then it’s time to get the big guns out. This dessert is so tasty she won’t believe you haven’t bought it. Plus, you can treat yourself to a shot of bourbon while making it—everybody’s a winner!


For The Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 shot of bourbon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For The Peaches

  • 1 cup mascarpone cream cheese
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 2 teaspoon flavorless oil
  • 4 ripe peaches, destoned and cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • Either on the stove or over a medium-high heat on the grill, combine the sugar and water, swirling the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Continue simmering until the color turns to a light brown, about five minutes—don’t let it burn or come to a boil
  • Turn off the heat before adding the bourbon and salt, then slowly stir in the cream until the mixture is smooth. Set aside until ready to use
  • Stir the vanilla into the marscapone and keep in a small dish until needed
  • Brush the peach halves with oil to prevent them sticking to the grill. Grill them with the cut-side face down, for three to five minutes. The peaches should be warm and slightly scorched, not charred or burnt
  • Place the peaches on your serving plates and add a large spoonful of the mascarpone and vanilla mixture to each peach
  • If the caramel sauce has thickened, reheat until it reaches the correct consistency. Spoon the sauce over the peaches and sprinkle with the additional salt, if using
  • A scoop of vanilla ice cream can perfectly top this dessert off. Even more impressive if you have made the ice cream yourself
Romantic Grill Dinner

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has given you some inspiration to impress that lady in your life with your grilling skills.

Just be careful—if you do it too well, she’ll soon be bringing all her girlfriends around your backyard for a gourmet grill night. Soon, you and the boys will be confined to that far corner of the yard where you keep the smoker.

About the Author William Clay

William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.