We love a good burger as much as anyone, but….sometimes your grill deserves to experiment. Sometimes you want to go outside of your culinary box while also being outside.
Sear-iously (sorry we had to), grilling is the great culinary equalizer. The method’s as popular in America as it is in Spain, Korea and around the world. So why not approach your grill the way you would the rest of your kitchen? Our personal grill master and Co-founder Andrés Modak’s go-tos are less-common but no less delicious or easy. Our modular approach isn’t a recipe or a menu, so much as guides to how to grill seafood, how to grill fruit, and how to grill veggies and then how you can build a menu around their best attributes. The best part is you never have to go back inside once you knock out some minimal prep. So you can enjoy the great outdoors (and your friends and family) while you serve as chef. All you need is the confidence to riff away—and wood, gas, or charcoal.
Our rec: Clams
Why it works: People equate clams with broth or raw on the half-shell, but on the grill, the brine that’s usually released into a sauce becomes concentrated inside the shell. Max flavor, minimal effort. Throw them on the grill and they’ll open to tell you they are done. Just be careful to conserve as much juice in the lower shell when transferring them over to a serving plate (you’ll thank us later).
Technique: You don’t want to blast the shells, so aim for medium to medium high-heat and avoid the hottest part of your grill. Cook, then wait for the shells to pop open (about 10-12 minutes). Transfer to a serving bowl with a little curvature to catch all those juices. In the meantime, create a simple sauce that combines fat, acid, and herbs (and maybe a little heat) to bring their flavor to life. We love:
- Andrés's go-to: Miso, good quality butter, cilantro, and a dash of mirin.
- Mediterranean-inspired: Briefly cooked garlic and shallots in olive oil, with a handful of chopped parsley.
- Southern Italian-inspired: Calabrian chili, lemon, garlic, and olive oil.
- Thai: Coconut milk, ginger, garlic, chili, lemongrass, and cilantro.
Our grill-master recommends: “Razor clams are a family favorite. Growing up in Southeast-Asia, we knew them as Bamboo Clams. When we’d spend annual holidays in Spain, they were called Navajas (or knife clams), and when we would come back to the States, New England Razor clams were just as delicious. Clams are regional but quite similar—I picked up this technique in Vietnam and Singapore where they often use slightly fishier Cockles, but it’s just as tasty with a big, sweet Quahog. It’s impressive and inexpensive as an appetizer or a main dish, and it eats in such an inviting way. Everyone’s reaching in, using their hands, dipping grilled bread. It’s just peak summer.”
Serve with: Crusty bread and a flavorful, funky summer sip like a Saison or Pet Nat.
Veggie: Hearty Greens
Our rec: Broccoli Rabe or Sprouted Broccoli
Why it works: All summer, little colorful peppers and tomatoes are trying to get your attention, when as always it’s the greens that should be getting their due. Sprouting broccoli, broccoli rabe, kale, chard aren’t at peak season, but they’re available and can taste even better with a little char. Their hearty nature means they can stand the heat—and the char brings out all of those crunchy bits you love anyway. Lightly brush (or drizzle) a little fat and salt, and finish with a hit of acid after cooking and you’re set on sides—anchovy butter, fish sauce and olive oil, tahini with chili and garlic, or a heap of grated pecorino, do it your way.
Technique: Cook the veggie right on the grill. As long as it won’t slip through the grates, throw it on as is and skip the skewers or foil. Avoid super-high heat as you’ll end up charred and raw. Turn often to cook evenly and grill evenly.
Our grill-master recommends: “One great way to add acid is to bring in more of that smoke and flavor by grilling the lemon. Not only do you unlock more of that juice, adding it to the plate gives you major presentation points.”
Serve with: This isn’t just a side piece—chop and toss with some pasta, olive oil and extra cheese and pair with a delicious summer red wine and you can make this a main.
Fruit: Stone Fruit
Our rec: Peaches
Why it works: When it’s stone fruit season, it’s impossible not to wonder how peaches, apricots, nectarines, can fit into every meal. The grill unlocks their savory or savory-adjacent potential. Wrap them in prosciutto. Serve with a fatty and slightly cheese-like pal, say labneh, whipped ricotta, feta, queso fresco or, you know, ice cream with sea salt. Or just drizzle a little olive oil, lemon zest, and a sprinkle of sea salt and scarf it down after everyone goes home. If you do choose to share, you still get to enjoy the same relaxed summer dinner your guests are having. Throw the peaches on and have a seat while they get even more delicious.
Technique: Peaches are the optimal last course because they cook well while the grill is cooling down (at medium to low heat). Beware a too ripe peach—the excess sugar means they cook quickly and could burn. Otherwise, cut them in half, brush on a little olive oil and toss on the grill and leave them still to get those iconic grill marks (flip once).
Our grill-master recommends: “Fruit with savory can be polarizing, but growing up in a (part) Colombian family, we can do salty/sweet desserts all day long. A childhood eating archetypal desserts like guava paste with salty cheese, means that I’m thrilled to see unexpected combos on restaurant menus. I remember eating simple grilled peaches with grilled chorizo at a trendy outdoor restaurant in Atlanta, and besides the Georgian Peaches blowing my mind, the spicy, salty, oily chorizo combo was revolutionary. I’m still ripping it off.”
Serve with: Pair it with a floral, dry white wine like a Torrontés.