The dog days of summer need not be comprised of hot dogs alone. Home grill masters increasingly are spicing up a great American tradition by adding the flavors of the world to their summer meals.
The healthy results are also delicious.
“You can turn your backyard fare into something extra special with a little flavor punch,” says grilling expert Sharon Fernandes, founder of Stonehouse 27, a line of exotic all-natural Indian sauces with a Portuguese and British influence.
She suggests using fresh herbs and interesting spices, rather than sauces containing high fructose corn syrup and sodium.
Here are some tips to make summer meals sizzle:
• Bring the world to your backyard by tenderizing meats and vegetables with an exotic marinade. Create one with sweet and spicy herbs, fruits, and peppers, or look for store-bought sauces that include natural ingredients like dates, tamarind, chilies and garlic. This saves time, and, if you buy a high quality sauce, nobody will know it’s not homemade!
• It’s not all about meat. Skewer and grill onions, summer squash, peppers and eggplant for a seasonal veggie kebab. Cover the ends of wooden skewers with foil to keep them from burning. Pair your creation with an interesting dipping sauce, such as Stonehouse 27’s Mild Cashews & Cream, made with slow-cooked onions, fresh garlic, sweet paprika, cashews and a touch of cream. Cream-based sauces pair nicely with vegetables, chicken and beef.
• If the thought of another burger makes you yawn, mix a spicy chili sauce directly into ground beef or lamb for an eye-opening take on a classic.
• Small pieces of fish and chicken need only be marinated for 15-30 minutes and chicken breast for 1-2 hours. Plan thick cuts of beef or pork in advance, as they need to be marinated overnight. Make sure to marinate in the refrigerator to keep your dish from spoiling. Save time by using a plastic bag.
• For a sweet and tangy twist on grilled fish, marinate in a sauce that combines citrus and naturally sweet flavors for half an hour, and then grill. A good example of a seafood-friendly flavor combination is Stonehouse 27’s Cilantro & Coconut sauce, made with agave, lemon and ginger. Try serving with tortillas to fuse different cuisines.
• Don’t overcrowd the grill. It impairs cooking and won’t save time. Give your fire the air it needs to stay ignited, and the meat the space it needs to grill to perfection.
• Sweet sauces needn’t be high in high fructose corn syrup. Pick sauces made with natural sweeteners, like coconut milk, dates, or agave. Even natural sugar burns quickly, so add sauces toward the end of the cooking process.
For more saucy grilling ideas, visit www.stonehouse27.com.
Combine an open mind with an open flame and experiment adding new flavors to old standards.