RECIPES: An outdoor grill can function as a much needed second oven when kitchen resources are stretched in Holiday feast preparations
– During the holiday season having a second oven would come in so handy.
For Thanksgiving, home cooks are expected to roast a turkey and make a cornucopia of side dishes. For Christmas, the family wants a feast with a perfect medium-rare prime rib.
Of course, the family would also enjoy moist stuffing, crispy-topped vegetable casserole, creamy macaroni and cheese, and don’t forget the flaky pies. Pulling off that menu with one oven is tough. And buying a second oven that gets used twice a year isn’t practical.
So what’s a cook to do? This year, think “outside” the box. Really, walk outside. You probably already have a second oven – a grill. Whether gas or charcoal, a grill when used properly, can bake or roast just about any dish.
An oven is essentially a metal box that maintains a constant heat. A grill can do the same thing; you just have to be cautious of the flame. The key to using a grill like an oven is cooking over indirect heat. Cooking over fire equals direct heat. Cooking over heat, where the fire is off to the side is indirect heat.
Most gas grills nowadays have multiple burners. For indirect heat, turn one burner to high or medium-high, leave the other burners off and close the lid.
After a few minutes, check the temperature. The inside of the grill should be about 350-400 degrees. That’s the temperature most often used with ovens. All you have to do is place your side dish on the side of the grill where the burners are turned off and close the lid and your dish will cook.
Since one side of the grill is hotter, rotate the dish halfway through for an even cook. And always make sure you have an extra propane tank handy since the grill may be on for a couple of hours.
The same concept works for charcoal grills. Light the coals, and once they’re gray, push them to one side. Then, place your dish over the side with no coals. Monitor the grill temperature by adjusting the vents and adding more coals, as needed.
For an added bonus of flavor, try using smoke chips. Place apple, cherry or hickory chips in a pouch of foil. Poke holes in the foil and place over direct heat.
Ready to give this second oven a try? You can go big and grill the turkey or prime rib outdoors, or you can start small and prepare a few sides. Here are some recipes to get you started:
Basic Grilled Turkey
Heat the grill to 400 degrees with indirect heat. Coat the turkey with olive oil and poultry rub. Place the turkey on the indirect heat side of the grill, breast side down for 30 minutes. Flip. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees (by turning the gas burner dial down or adjusting the vents on a charcoal grill). Continue cooking until the thigh meat reaches 165 degrees. Cook time varies, depending on the size of the bird. A 10-pound bird will cook in about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Grilled Sausage Stuffing
1/2 tube sage sausage
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped
½ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth
4 tablespoons butter
1 box Turkey stuffing
1/3 cups cashews
Heat the grill to 400 degrees with indirect heat. Place a large cast iron pot over direct heat. Brown the sausage. Add the celery, apple, onion and garlic. Sauté, until tender. Add the broth and butter and move the pan to indirect heat. Once the butter is melted, stir in the stuffing and cashews. Cook over indirect heat for 10-15 minutes.
Grilled Mashed Potatoes
Salt and white pepper
Heat a grill to 350-400 degrees with indirect heat. Wash the potatoes and poke them with a fork. Place on the grill over indirect heat, until tender, about 90 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Cut in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon, discarding the skins. Place in a pot and mash. Add butter, chicken broth and cream to reach desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. | iH
This article was featured on page 10 of the November 2015 issue of Inside Henderson Magazine.