Operation Use My Grill

Posted 20 September, 2014 by Trish in In the Kitchen / 17 Comments

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Operation Use My Grill


Imagine me doing my “Yay I know how to turn on my grill dance.” Except that one time that we were out of propane and the two other times when Scott had turned off the propane and I didn’t realize it. But otherwise, I know how to turn on my grill! And actually kind of sort of use the grill for cooking things.

If you’re new here (hi!), I challenged myself a few years ago to pick a kitchen thing (or in this case an outside kitchen thing) and spend the month using it. You can see past Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff here.  July was our grill month and we rocked it!

Lessons Learned:

  • Thermometers are friends. There were a few times when we had to throw the chicken back on the grill because it wasn’t cooked long enough. And the first time we cooked steak, it was too overdone. After going through a few thermometers, we finally splurged on a ThermoWorks. It works beautifully.
  • The grill has different temperatures. There is also such thing as indirect and direct heat. I’m still trying to figure all of this out. #headdesk
  • Grilled fruit is delicious. Like seriously.
  • Parchment paper doesn’t really belong on the grill. I learned this when my pizza dough was too sticky to put it directly on the grill. It all worked out in the end, even if the paper did nearly catch fire.
  • Prep everything before you start using the grill–especially if you’re grilling something a little more fragile like fruit/vegetables.

The Recipes:

Meats: Strip Steak, Ribs (started off in the smoker), Fajitas (Big Book of BBQMolasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Cornish Hens (Big Book of BBQ, started off in the smoker), Bacon Wrapped Burgers (Big Book of BBQ–pic from the book), Grilled Drumsticks (Big Book of BBQ).

The ribs were the best we’ve ever had–I loved the smokiness from the smoker but the flavor from the quick grilling at the end. And the molasses glazed chicken thighs were my favorite of the bunch. There are still many things I’d love to cook–some salmon (which we’ve done before but not in years) and more chicken.



Fruit/Dessert: Grilled peaches, grilled pound cake (with blueberries and blueberry ice cream), grilled pineapple. I was in love with it all. And it allowed Scott to eat fresh fruit without compromising taste. The peaches were a hit with the girls. I didn’t put them directly on the grill because they seemed too tender but I bet they would have been good that way, too.

grilled dessert


Veggies/Sides: Corn on the cob (YUM!), Potato Salad (from Big Book of BBQ), Asparagus, Zucchini.

grilled veggies


Pizza!  Ok, so the pizza on the grill was a bit of a flop, but it was a fun experiment. On a whim I grabbed a package of Betty Crocker pizza dough mix instead of making my own dough. You know, the whole busy working mom thing. It was a disaster–the dough was too sticky for me to do anything more than spread it out on parchment paper and then throw it on the grill. I called up to Scott and yelled “We need a backup dinner!” After grilling the dough on both sides, I decided to just throw it on the pizza stone in the oven with the toppings. Good news was the entire thing came together in about 15 minutes and it ended up being pretty delicious. It’s BBQ chicken with red onions on my half. So, next time I’ll make my own dough and then follow Beth Fish Read’s instructions on grilled pizza. The Pioneer Woman inspired the assembly of ingredients.

grilled pizza


Where Do I Go From Here?

SO. Operation Use My Grill was a huge success. We used our grill more this summer than in all of the other summers combined. Fun random fact–the day that we got the grill was also the day that I joined twitter. Ha! I feel like such a badass for knowing how to turn on the grill and for actually being able to make some things on my own. I’d like to experiment a bit more with the pizza and grill some fish. I think we still have a ways to go before we perfect chicken on the grill. But really, we grilled meats, veggies, fruits, *dessert!* I’m pretty pleased with how Operation Use My Grill turned out.

What’s next? Freaking Fondue. I say that because I’ve been trying to get that fondue pot out for years now. I keep stalling and thinking of new Kitchen Things to play with instead. Have a favorite fondue recipe? I’d love for you to share!

What’s your favorite thing to make on the grill? Anything out of the usual?




Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!


17 Responses to “Operation Use My Grill”

  1. I was proud of myself when I learned how to use the grill, too! I’m definitely not as good as you, and I think I need a meat thermometer, too! Your pictures are great!

  2. I love this post!! And clearly I need the Big Book of BBQ. We are getting more and more creative with the grill too — and use it year round, even in the snow. (OK so “we” don’t grill in the winter, but Mr. BFR does.)

  3. I have serious envy of your grilling prowess right now! Our grill is strictly J’s domain. I say that I don’t mess with it because I wouldn’t want him missing with my stuff but really it’s mostly because I’m chicken. I LOVE BBQ pizza!! No one else in my family likes it so I don’t eat it very often but it’s my very favorite kind. I’m curious about how the fondue experiment. I love fondue but have even attempted it at home.

  4. Wow! You are the grilling queen! Everything you made looks so good. I’ve never grilled fruit but now I’m tempted. I’m curious about the molasses glazed chicken thighs. :) Can’t wait to see what you do with the fondue!

  5. I love this post, we grill a lot, mostly Kevin’s job. We don’t experiment with veggies or fruit enough, but we need to. In FL we have no weather issues to prohibit grilling year round.

    I still need to use my crock pot more.

  6. I’d love to have a better grill so we could do more. Or my hubby could just get the burners fixed. I’d love to grill fruit!

  7. We got a new grill this summer and have gotten much more adventurous with it. Fruit and pizza were firsts for us this summer, too, and I really need to invest in a better meat thermometer!

    Can’t wait to see what you do with fondue. Never had one and never used one… maybe you’ll convince me!

    Do you have a panini press? I could use some inspiration there, too. ;-)

  8. Since we downsized to a condo 18 months ago I haven’t missed our outside grill at all. But then we’d used it every week for over 20 years!!
    We now use our indoor Cusinart and it is grat.

    What a super idea to concentrate on using one “thing” like that! Let’s see I guess I should pull the breadmaker out this week!
    Check back next Friday and we’ll see how I make out!!!

  9. So I don’t have a grill BUT I do have a grill pan so all summer I was grilling asparagus and halloumi and courgettes and calling it dinner. It was preeeettty awesome, just like ALL YOUR FOOD looks. So hungry now!

  10. We use the grill a lot but it’s not really fancy food though. Meaning .. burgers, chicken, meats just in BBQ sauce. I would like to use my smoker more. We’ve only used it like twice ever. I have a recipe group on facebook where people share what they cook and what not. PM me if you would be interested in joining.

  11. We still don’t even have a real grill, just the little hibachi that we’ve had since we were in an apartment (over 10 years ago). We really need to fix that.

    If you find instructions for doing hot pot in the fondue set, try it and tell me how it goes. I think I want to try that. ;)

  12. I agree about using thermometers. We use ours a lot and if we don’t we are very religious about setting a timer. I know that boneless skinless chicken breasts take between 6-7 minutes per side. Burgers 4-5 mins/side. Steaks are a little more sensitive and that’s when the thermometer is essential! I really dislike grilling chicken with skin (flames up too much) or with bones (too hard to know when it’s done), but boneless is easy-peasy.

    Gotta try grilling fruit! I have a feeling my husband won’t be a fan, but it’s not all about him, is it? ;) Maybe if I bribe him with ice cream…

    We grill salmon every week or so. It’s super easy and one of my go to meals. 10 minutes on one side (skin side down) with the lid closed. 2 minutes on the other side to finish. I usually just rub it with a brown sugar, dill and kosher salt blend that I mix up while the grill is heating up. Serve it up with a salad and some lavosh from Trader Joe’s and we’re happy campers! I use farm rather than wild. Just never learned to like the taste of wild salmon.

    Have fun the fondue. That’s one appliance I’ve never owned!

  13. Lu

    So I know I’ve been a Trader Joe’s evangelist today, but they have a really good premade pizza dough in their fresh food section. It’s not as good as making your own, but it’s the best premade dough I’ve used. The trick is to get it out of your fridge at LEAST a half hour before you start trying to roll it out.