Aluminum foil is your friend

If done correctly, grilling can be the most pleasant and relaxing time of the day. Choosing your meats and veggies at the market, prepping the food for grilling and then actually getting the grill up and running are really the only work needed to be done. The grilling portion of the day involves flipping food and having a cold beer while doing so. But, sometimes your plans don’t quite work out as the food sticks to the grill, or falls through the grates and even sometimes burns. Well, there is a product on the market that solves all of these problems… Aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil started being produced in 1910 in Switzerland followed by Tobler wrapping there candy bars in the unique sheets. Since then, manufacturing companies and individuals near BBQ grills everywhere have been using the stuff at an alarming rate.

Here are some of the wonderful packets, including sides, that Aluminum foil will help the Backyard BBQ’er in the effort of making dinner:

Entrees

Grilled Salmon Packets: Hit the fish market or seafood section of your local grocery store and buy some fresh (not frozen) salmon fillets. Rinse each fillet and pat dry with a towel. Run your fingers down the salmon fillet feeling for bones and use some tweezers to remove. Tear off a ‘square’ of aluminum foil for each fillet, place each sheet flat on the counter and pour a tablespoon of Olive oil. Place your fillet skin side down in the oil and season with salt, pepper, and some fresh minced dill. Top the fillet with a dash of teriyaki sauce, a slice of lemon, a few Vidalia onion rings and some capers. Here is where the fun comes into play because you can add anything else you like to this packet. Sliced red peppers, zucchini, asparagus stalks, or even some fresh spinach leaves are all good choices. They will cook along with the salmon and be tender and flavorful in the end. Be sure to seal the edges up around the fish good leaving some room to steam. Place the packets on a hot grill for 10-12 minutes depending on the fillet size and try to rotate the packet a few times during this process. Remove and either serve in the foil or slide the contents out onto a plate with some rice or angel hair pasta.

Beer of choice: Shorts Beard of Zeus Lager or Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

 Grilled Chicken Packets: This recipe is for just two folks, so multiply as needed. Cube up two chicken breasts, two Yukon gold potatoes, two carrots, two stalks of celery, some yellow and/or red peppers and mince a finger of garlic. Add all the ingredients to a large Ziploc bag and pour in some olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some fresh rosemary minced. Close the bag and mix the contents and bit using your hands. Allow it to rest on counter for 5-10 minutes while you heat up the grill. Tear off two ‘squares’ of aluminum foil and place flat on the counter. Divide the bag contents among the two sheets equally and seal the foil up securely to make the packets. Place on the edge of the hot coals or burners and wait for the sizzle. Once you hear the sizzle, rotate the packets 180º. Close the lid of the grill and cook the packets on the edge of the heat for an additional 20 minutes, depending on the size of your cubed chicken and potatoes. The potatoes will take the longest to cook so be patient.  Remove and serve in the foil or slide onto a plate with a nice chunk of grilled garlic toast and an array of BBQ sauces.

Beer of choice: Saugatuck Oval Beach Blonde Ale or Atwater Dirty Blonde.

 Grilled Burger Packets: Be sure to buy 2 pounds of lean ground beef for this packet. Form into 4 large 1/2 lbs patties, season each with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small bowl mix Onion Soup Mix and enough beer to make a somewhat thin paste. Pour onto meat and coat thoroughly. Slice some mushrooms and carrots, dice a finger of garlic and cube two potatoes into a separate bowl. Coat the veggies with some olive oil and toss thoroughly. Divide the vegetable mixture onto 4 ‘squares’ of aluminum foil and top with your burger patties. Seal up the packets around the burger and vegetables and head to the grill. Place on preheated grill and let ‘em go for 15 minutes. Rotate the packets 180º and grill for 15 minutes more. Serve in the foil or slide onto a plate with a nice chunk of grilled garlic toast.

Beer of choice: Founders All Day IPA or Kuhnhenn’s American IPA.

 Basic Side Packets

Corn on the Cob: Clean the husk and silk from 4 corn on the cobs. Rinse and place each cob in a sheet of aluminum foil. Add large pat of butter and a generous amount of salt before sealing the foil packet around the corn tightly. Other optional and additional flavors could be Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and even some spices like cayenne or parsley. Place on a hot grill and turn occasionally over the course of 30 minutes or so. You can peel back the foil to peek if need be and remember if it goes a little brown it just means it has become sweet as hell and delicious. Pull from the grill, stab with corn holders and drop onto the plate.

Potatoes: Clean then slice 4 large Idaho potatoes in half lengthwise. Tear off 4 ‘squares’ of aluminum foil and drop a slab of butter in the middle of each. Salt the butter generously and press the freshly cut side of the two potato halves into the butter. Wrap the packet around the potato tightly to seal. Place flat side down on the grill so the butter has a chance to heat up and ‘fry’ the cut half of the potatoes. Move to the side of the flames after 5-7 minutes and continue to cook on the grill for another 20 minutes or until a finger press leaves a dent. Peel the foil from the potatoes and serve up with some sour cream, chopped chives and bacon bits.

Baked Apples: Perfect for camping, these are a wonderful and easy dessert packet. Core some apples ¾ of the way down leaving a chunk in the bottom to hold the ‘goodies’. Mix some softened butter, vanilla extract, chopped pecans or walnuts and a good amount of brown sugar in a bowl. Pack this mixture into the apple cores and top with some oatmeal if you have a packet or two. Wrap each packed apple into some ‘squares’ of aluminum foil and set upright on the grill. The nice thing is these can be set off to the side of the flame while you cook dinner and leave until you are ready for dessert. Grill/baking for 25-30 minutes should do the trick for these delights. Just place each on a plate and open the foil packet to Mom’s baked apple pie, strudel, casserole thingy. Be careful the filling may be scalding hot.

Aluminum foil is your friend…..told you so and these are just a few recipes that foil can help create. Please keep in mind the cooking time listed are totally dependent upon the type of heat your grill puts off, where you put the packets and whether you cover the grill or not. Peak inside if you need to, but reseal completely if it needs more time.

Find inspiration in new flavors, new techniques or even new meats and veggies. You could quite possible surprise yourself and your family or friends. As always, be sure to follow proper safety when grilling, clean your grill when finished and be sure to turn it off when done.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.

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