Memorial Day is around the corner, which marks the unofficial start of grilling season! Whether you’re like us in New England and just starting to experience warmer weather, or have been grilling for months in another part of the country, consider serving one of these recipes at your Memorial Day cookout.
Grill-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Grilled to a perfect medium-rare, a rosy-pink, ultratender beef tenderloin is a great centerpiece for summer entertaining. The only trouble is, this cut’s flavor is fairly mild. We found ways to speed up the Maillard reaction, which produced deep, flavorful browning on the exterior of the meat. We also got a flavor boost from—what else?—three strips of bacon, which we threaded onto a metal skewer and cooked over the heat to give the tenderloin the “grilled” flavor we were after. [Get the Recipe]
Grilled Swordfish Skewers with Tomato-Scallion Caponata
Fish-and-vegetable skewers are tough to get right: either the vegetables are still raw when the fish is done cooking, or the fish is overcooked by the time the vegetables cook through. For our skewers, we paired swordfish with a Sicilian-inspired grilled caponata, with cherry tomatoes, lemons, and scallions that served to complement the robust-flavored fish that’s commonly grilled along the Mediterranean and beyond. [Get the Recipe]
Turn your cookout into a pizza party! Grilling pizza allows you to move both the kitchen and the party outdoors, and when made well, the pie is a lighter and fresher style of pizza, perfect for summer appetites: a thin, audibly crisp, lightly charred crust that’s tender within and topped judiciously (so as not to saturate the crust) with a simple tomato sauce, pockets of cheese, and fresh herbs. [Get the Recipe]
Paella on the Grill
This one-pot showpiece is perfect for entertaining, and preparing it on the grill means you can cook and schmooze at the same time. In place of a traditional paella pan, we cooked ours in a large, sturdy roasting pan that maximized the amount of socarrat, the prized caramelized rice crust that forms on the bottom of the pan. And to ensure that the various components finished cooking at the same time, we staggered the addition of the proteins—first the chicken thighs, followed by the chorizo, shrimp, and clams. [Get the Recipe]
Grill-Smoked Herb-Rubbed Flat-Iron Steaks
We smoke chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and long-cooking cuts of beef. We wanted to add quick-cooking cuts of beef like flat-iron steaks and blade steaks to this lineup—without ending up with meat that tastes like a campfire. We found that the key was using a small amount of wood chips and cooking the steaks quickly over direct heat so that they were just kissed with smoke. [Get the Recipe]
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs
Shrimp and vegetable kebabs are notoriously difficult to cook because the shrimp inevitably overcook in the time it takes most vegetables to pass from raw to their crisp-tender ideal—and so you end up serving either rubbery shrimp or undercooked vegetables. This recipe works by pairing slower-cooking jumbo shrimp with quick-cooking vegetables: mushrooms, bell peppers, and scallions. We precook the peppers and mushrooms in the microwave before skewering them to give them a head start, and we nestle the mushrooms into the curves of the shrimp on the skewer to better insulate the shrimp and extend their cooking time. [Get the Recipe]
Make This the Best Summer Ever Master of the Grill
With recipes and techniques arranged by skill level—from The Basics to The Easy Upgrades to The Serious Projects—cooks of all stripes can dive in and choose their outdoor cooking adventure.
What’s on your Memorial Day menu? Let us know in the comments! And for more information on grilling, check out these articles on summer cooking.