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?
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.
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
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.
For The Garlic And Chili Butter
The Best 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.
You will also need eight toothpicks and a couple of chunks of apple wood.
The Perfect Gourmet Dessert
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
For The Peaches
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.