Over the years, we’ve learned that fall is the very best time of year to get out and grill. Not only is the weather perfect – the air is crisp and chilly, which is ideal when paired with a flame-hot grill – but the unmistakable feel of fall invites the opportunity to cook the best feel-good dishes. It’s the best time of year for comfort food.
Through the seasons, we’ve discovered various tips and tricks that help us create the best fall recipes, too, and I’ll share my very best tips for fall grilling in this guide.
Grill Those Vegetables
While many of us have fond memories of a great steak or some delicious sausage cooked over a grill, you’re limiting yourself if that’s all you do with fall grilling. Autumn is the season of delicious, ripe vegetables, especially root vegetables and gourds. Squash comes out absolutely delicious when cooked low and slow over an open flame, as do carrots, parsnips, and eggplant.
Grilling vegetables is a great way to draw out their delicious flavors. Not only do your vegetables soak up the smoky flavor from your grill’s flames, but the fire caramelizes the natural sugars in them. The result is smoky, sweet, savory, and above all, delicious.
Believe it or not, grilling your vegetables can be healthier for you, too. Since grilling doesn’t involve oils or fats as frying does, the result is much cleaner and healthier for your body. Grilling doesn’t waste any of the nutrients inside the vegetables, either. When boiling, for example, the water ends up absorbing much of the vegetables’ juices, which lowers both the nutritional value and the flavor.
The moral of the story here is: don’t be afraid to grill some vegetables alongside your meats, too! If you’re feeling adventurous, you might even consider trying a vegetarian meal made on your grill.
Grill Those Fruits, Too
While there aren’t as many fruits that come into season in the fall, that doesn’t mean you can’t grill some to add them to your favorite fall grilling meals. More importantly, though, one of the best grillable fruits is plentiful, in-season, and delicious during the fall: apples.
Grilled apples are an underrated and delicious snack, and they function just as well as an accompaniment to other dishes, too. You may have heard of the classic pairing of pork with apples. A few grilled slices of fresh apples, straight from the orchard, on top of your favorite cut of pork, is one of the most delicious meals of fall.
You shouldn’t stop with just apples, though! Some other fruits that come out delicious when charred on your grill are:
Think Inside the Bowl
Believe it or not, you can grill much more than just solid foods that won’t fall through your grates. If you have a bit of creativity and your Ergo Chef Prodigy Series cutlery, you can grill just about anything. This includes hearty fall meals like chilis, thick soups, casseroles, and much more.
While you obviously can’t put these meals directly on your grill, you can cook them inside your grill (as long as it’s big enough) to impart all the same smoky flavor. If you have a grill that can accept wood for smoking, this technique becomes doubly delicious.
Unfortunately, grilling something like this can get a bit messy, but it’s worth it. All you need is some sturdy, heat-friendly cookware such as a dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet. Then, just place the cookware, complete with your meal, inside your grill to cook.
Grill Those Meats
Of course, we can’t forget about our favorite fall meats! Regardless of whether your favorite fall animal is turkey, ham, beef, or none of the above, this is the perfect time to spend some time outdoors in the chilly fall air (and, hopefully, next to your grill).
Don’t be afraid to get adventurous with your meat choices, either. Instead of cooking your Thanksgiving turkey in the oven this year, why not take it outside and grill it instead? Not only is this a great way to liven up your usual Thanksgiving, but the results will be delicious, too.
Squash, Squash, and More Squash
I know I mentioned gourds earlier in this guide, but they’re so crucial to the fall season that I had to mention them again. Fall is the time of year when lots of things (but not everything, such as, obviously, summer squash) in the squash family are ripe and ready for harvest. You’ve probably had spaghetti squash or butternut squash at the height of the season before.
However, consider the gourd that we end up practically swimming in around the fall of every year: pumpkins! Pumpkins aren’t just for carving and pie making – you can cut them up and char them on your grill, too, as you can with many other kinds of squash.
The species of pumpkin you choose does play a role in its final taste. I recommend selecting a pie pumpkin, as other varieties such as carving pumpkins have a texture that’s not very palatable.
Don’t Be Afraid to Marinate
While marinating your meats requires a bit of preparation and forethought – certainly more than I have on some days – it adds an incredible final flavor to your favorite meat dishes. If you choose a marinade that compliments the smoky flavor of your grill, that effect is heightened.
Not only that, but an excellent sweet marinade, like teriyaki or honey barbecue, caramelizes beautifully on the grill because of its sugar content. This adds yet another layer of flavor to the meats you prepare for your next fall BBQ.
If I were to sum all of these tips up in one sentence, it would be this: don’t be afraid to get creative with your next fall cookout. The vegetables, fruits, and meats available to you can make for some fantastic grilled meals. When paired with the endless meat options available to you, they can help you craft a real autumn feast.
For all these reasons and more, I think fall is the best time of year for a barbecue, and I hope that after reading this article, you agree, too.
Thanks to Beyond Yard for writing this article. Beyond Yard is a site all about grilling and backyard fun
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