Sure, you can throw some burgers, steaks or sauce-slathered ribs on the grill this weekend, just like everyone else.But if you want to take your summertime grilling to the next level, we’ve done extensive testing on some other things you can grill — and some things you can’t. Here’s what we found:
Doughnuts: If doughnuts are good, warm doughnuts are better. This isn’t a new idea, but using a grill to get you there might be. Skip frosted doughnuts of any kind; it’ll become a melted, disappointing mess. And while an apple-filled doughnut is good, it’s the glazed cake doughnuts that might win you over.
Frozen Pizza: Knowing there was a thick, cold crust to get through, we used indirect heat to grill a store-bought frozen pizza. The end result was a nicely browned, cooked-through pizza with a crispy crust — and by crispy I mean there was discussion about its suitability as a building material. If you give this a go, we’d recommend going with a thin crust variation.
Waffles: Now you can’t make waffles on a grill, the batter falls through the grates. But you can reheat previously made waffles on the grill, and it’s a good idea because, unlike the microwave, the grill will give you some nice crispy edges, perfect for syrup or summer strawberries.
Twinkies: Twinkies are gross. We only eat them for nostalgic purposes or because we’re hoping all the preservatives in them will help us rot less quickly in our graves. But grilled Twinkies? They’re delicious. The outside crisps up, the filling gets gooey, and somehow the heat makes the cake part taste amazing. This was the first Twinkie purchase I’ve made in my adult life, and it will be the start of many future Twinkie purchases.
Pickles: A whole pickle fits so nicely in a hot dog bun, grilling one seemed like a possible vegetarian hot dog option. But it just tastes like a big, hot pickle. And somehow heating up a pickle turns the pickleness up to “11.”
Grilled Cheese: Yeah, maybe we just thought it sounded clever to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Turns out it was clever. Grilling your cheese sandwich not only earns you some grill marks but every surface is perfectly toasted and it doesn’t have a “drowned in butter” thing going on like the ones you sometimes pull off a griddle.
Cheesecake: Grilled cheese, grilled cheesecake — it seemed to make sense at the time. If you grill your cheesecake lightly, you’ll end up with an attractive dessert that has both warm and cold cheesecake in every bite. If you grill a bit longer, the buttery graham cracker crust will melt and so will your cheese, so you’ll have this hot mess on your plate — one that tastes surprisingly good.
Watermelon: The internet is all about what a good idea it is to grill watermelon. Well, the internet is wrong. It ranks high among the grossest things we’ve ever eaten. Cooked watermelon tastes like squash, for one. Not that there’s anything wrong with squash, but if you want to eat something that tastes like squash, just eat squash. Also, grilled melon is a bit on the slimy side. I tried adding some seasoning before grilling and, well, it just tasted like slimy, seasoned squash. Which is nobody’s idea of a good time.
Cinnamon Rolls: It takes a while to bake a frozen, unrisen cinnamon roll on a grill. But don’t let that stop you from doing it, should you be so inclined. Twenty minutes later or so, you’ll have a dense but delicious treat. Could you try setting the dough out on the countertop to rise properly? Sure, but who wants to put that kind of work into their grilling?
Red Vines: It takes a lot longer for Red Vines to get a blackened grill appearance than you’d think — assuming you have given thought to the matter. Hot off the grill, Red Vines taste like chewy burnt sugar. If you wait until they cool, they turn into a hard candy that will shatter into pieces if you throw it on the countertop. Which is way more fun than eating them by that point.
Looking to up your grill skills with some more conventional options? Artisans at the Dahmen is offering “Perfecting Your Backyard BBQ Game with Jollymore’s.” In this culinary arts class, Bill Jollymore and Aaron Jollymore will demonstrate how to get the most out of your gas or charcoal barbeque while you sit back and sip beer or wine. The class will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday at the barn. The cost is $65; to register, visit www.artisanbarn.org or call (509) 229-3414 by Sunday.