The long weekend is a perfect time to enjoy a little barbecuing. You could do smoked ribs or grilled salmon but for us the long weekend calls for a buffet of burgers and sweet grilled apples.
A barbecue favourite in our home is a hamburger. Although you can buy fresh and frozen patties, we prefer making our own and EverythingMom has a great list of 39 hamburger recipes you can try. An easy way to add a little flavour to your beef is by using condiments, marinades, and salsas.
BBQ Burger Buffet
Divide your meat up, add your seasoning and let it marinade for about an hour. We usually use medium ground because of the higher fat content; lean mean tends to be too dry and regular meat doesn’t seem to hold together when on the grill and can cause more flare-ups. When the fire is ready, form the patties in your hand and place a small divot in the center with your thumb. This helps to cook the burger evenly.
The burgers are seared over direct heat until both sides are brown; I love the Weber Gourmet BBQ System Sear Grate Set for this purpose.
By dividing the burgers and using different seasonings, we now have a variety of options to choose from at dinner (and for leftovers the next day). You can build the burgers in buns and label each plate by the seasoning type. My kids aren’t big bun fans so we tend to server burgers on their own, enabling those who want a bun to build their own burger.
Whether you season your burgers or not, you can add a little flavour with some tasty condiments. I’m partial to the PC Black Label brand so of course I had to try some of President Choice’s new condiments for dressing our burgers, such as Maple Mustard and Caramelized Onion Relish. Even their Smokey Ketchup Style Sauce appealed to me and I’m not a ketchup fan at all. My favourite of course is their Sofrito. It reminds me of chutney and I think it would also make a great seasoning when making burgers.
We kept everyone hopping with Hasbro’s Twister Dance. This is like a combination of Simon and Dance Dance. One or two players dance to music, ensuring they following the flashing lights, matching foot placement. My girls loved this and it adds an updated, fun feel to the traditional Twister game. It’s portable enough to play anywhere in the back yard too.
Grilled Pineapple and Drinks
When staying at the Polynesian Resort in Disney World, I enjoyed a Lapu Lapu cocktail, which is served within a fresh pineapple shell. With my pineapple corer (purchased at William Sonoma) I’m able to hollow out my own pineapple to serve-up a delicious cocktail in my own backyard. But the kids get a treat too since the inside fruit is then grilled on the barbecue for a delicious snack. Win-win for everyone.
Grilled Apples a la Mode
One of my new favourite barbecue cookbooks is Grill This, Not That from Raincoast books. There are so many great ideas in this book for mains, sides, and even desserts. One such tasty dessert is this one for grilled apples:
When it comes to grilling fruit, peaches and pineapples tend to get most of the love. But if pie-eating has taught us anything, it’s that apples become exponentially more delicious when cooked. We like to skip the fussy, calorie-dense crust in favor of a crunchy, sweet stuffing baked directly inside the apple. The heat of the grill softens and sweetens the fruit from the outside while it melts the butter and toasts the pecans within. Hot off the grill, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over the top, this apple rivals a slice of warm homemade apple pie à la mode any day.
- 4 medium baking apples (Golden Delicious, Roma, etc.)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cold butter, chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
How to Make It:
Preheat a grill over medium-low heat. Using a paring knife and spoon, and working from the top of the apple, scoop out the core and center part of the fruit, leaving a firm base and a ½” shell of apple around the middle section.
Combine the brown sugar, butter, pecans, raisins, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Pack each apple full with the mixture. Place the apples directly on the grill grate and close the lid. Grill for about 25 minutes, until the fruit is soft all the way through. Serve each apple with a scoop of ice cream over the top.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: $1.70
17 g fat (8 g saturated)
51 g sugars
Note: When we tried this recipe, we doubled, making 8 apples (since there are 5 of us) and substituted Craisins for raisins.
It’s easy to leave items on the grill a little too long but with this apple recipes to much cooking can lead to the apple skin splitting. The taste is still good but your presentation may be off slightly. The warm apple served with cold Vanilla ice cream is delightful, especially as the ice cream melts and mixes with the apple seasonings. It’s like an apple pie, without the pastry shell. If you’re not a fan of apples, grilled bananas are a great tasty treat too.
What are you grilling this week on the barbecue?
Grilled Apple a la Mode preprinted with permission from Raincoast Books.