Put down the hot dogs and step away from the frozen beef patties: Weber Canada Grill Master Michael P. Clive grills just about everything, so we grilled him on the foods you normally wouldn’t even consider introducing to the barbecue.
If you’re tired of regular guacamole (you monster), try grilling the avocados first. “The smokiness adds an unexpected twist,” says Clive. First, halve and peel the avocados, then brush them with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Grill the halves over direct heat for two minutes per side. Chop and mash them up with traditional guac ingredients and bask in that smoky goodness.
Grilled peaches are so 2017: Try brushing pineapple with a brown sugar and bourbon glaze instead. “It really takes it to the next level,” says Clive, who also recommends grilling pear slices to add to pear upside-down cakes. He mentions that grilled strawberry, melon and prosciutto skewers are crowd-pleasers, too.
Watermelon is a summertime classic, but there’s no need to get stuck in a melon-as-dessert rut. “I would suggest a light brushing of oil, then direct grilling for no more than a minute per side,” says Clive. As soon as you’ve captured that perfect smoky flavor, chop up the grilled melon and mix with cucumber, mango, red onion, fresh basil and lime juice for an addictive summer salsa.
“Once you harness the power of indirect cooking and resist the temptation to lift the lid of your grill — remember, lookin’ isn’t cookin’ — you can follow most cake recipes and bake them for the same time and temperature as if you were using your indoor oven,” says Clive.
Romaine lettuce is a great vehicle for smoked, charred flavors, says Clive. Quarter a head of romaine, drizzle with grape seed oil, season with salt and pepper, then grill both sides on high heat for only a minute. Add dressing, croutons, smoked bacon, red onion and grilled lemon wedges for the best Caesar of your life.
Raw oysters are known aphrodisiacs (apart from, y’know, the fact there’s no such thing, but whatever), and there’s something pretty sexy about serving them hot off the grill, too. Clive carefully shucks the oysters, then tucks a spinach and red pepper stuffing beneath each one before placing them onto a preheated grate and cooking with the lid closed.
Forget your basic toaster — grilled bread is where it’s at, according to Clive. Brush each delicious slab of carby goodness with olive oil, then place the slices onto direct heat for only a minute or “long enough for a toasty result to take place,” says Clive. But don’t go past golden, unless you like the taste of cancer.
Okay, barbecued pizza isn’t exactly new, but here’s an easy way to up your grill game: Ditch the pizza stone. “I commit to the flip by properly preheating my grill to 400 degrees and then flipping my dough straight to the cooking grate,” says Clive. “I get extra grilled flavors, grill marks I wouldn’t achieve with a pizza stone, and the clean-up is a cinch,” he says.
Clive cooks bacon slices on a sheet pan to catch any drippings that might cause flare-ups, and he uses indirect heat for most of the cooking time. Barbecued bacon is so addictive, though, you might find yourself firing up the grill again come winter.