Most people think of the usual suspects like hot dogs, burgers, and chicken wings when it comes to summertime grilling and barbecuing. However, there’s a whole world of unusual and adventurous ingredients out there that can add excitement and sizzle to your next BBQ party.
So, if you’re tired of the same old fare or looking to wow your guests with exotic flavours, let us introduce you to some unexpected ingredients worth trying.
Swap out sugary desserts for flavourful and nutritious grilled fruits accompanying your meat and vegetarian dishes.
- Grilled Watermelon
Watermelon might be a summer staple, but you probably haven’t tried it grilled yet. Grilling watermelon transforms its texture and accentuates its natural sweetness.
First, deseed a watermelon, then cut it into thick slabs (you can also use seedless watermelon if available). Next, brush a mixture of honey and balsamic vinegar on the slices. To grill, allow 2-3 minutes per side, then sprinkle with sea salt and fresh basil before serving.
- Charred Pineapple Salsa
Ditch the store-bought salsa and whip up a batch of grilled pineapple salsa that pairs perfectly with tortilla chips or grilled seafood.
Start by chopping the pineapple into thick slices, then place them on the grill for a slight char. Next, dice the grilled pineapple finely before mixing it with chopped red onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. This sweet and spicy combination will be a hit that will keep your BBQ guests in awe.
While offal cuts (organ meats) might not be for everyone, they can be a delicious and unique addition to your BBQ repertoire. Many offal cuts come with rich flavours and textures.
- Grilled Chicken Hearts
These are budget-friendly, flavour-packed nutritional powerhouses. For the ultimate grilled chicken hearts, marinate them in a mixture of lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary for at least 2 hours. Skewer them, grill for around 3 minutes per side, and serve as an exciting appetiser that will have your guests talking.
- Barbecued Beef Tongue
Beef tongue has a tender texture and a neutral flavour that pairs well with classic BBQ flavours. Start by simmering the tongue gently with onions, garlic, and herbs until tender. Cool, peel, and slice the tongue before marinating it in your favourite BBQ sauce overnight. Finish by grilling, basting frequently with your BBQ sauce until caramelised. Slice and serve with a side of zesty coleslaw or pickles.
If you’re ready to explore the seafood world beyond fish and shrimp, consider adding these lesser-known options to your BBQ menu.
- Grilled Squid
Squid is low-calorie, high-protein and lends itself well to grilling. So, for the perfect BBQ squid:
- Prepare a simple olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper marinade.
- Marinate for about an hour
- Skewer the squid and grill for 1-2 minutes per side until slightly charred and cooked through.
- Serve with a fresh, herbaceous chimichurri sauce for an impressive dish.
- BBQ Eel (Unagi)
Popular in Japanese cuisine, eel has a tender, rich, and slightly sweet flavour when grilled. Preparing eel at home can be challenging, so buying it pre-cooked and vacuum-packed is the easiest option. Boldly flavoured kabayaki sauce- a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin- can be brushed on the cooked eel before grilling. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until warmed and slightly charred. Pair with rice or noodles for a delicious, adventurous BBQ plate.
In many cultures worldwide, insects are a staple protein source packed with vitamins and nutrients. Will you try these mini marvels on your BBQ lineup?
While the idea of grilling crickets may not sound appetising, these creatures have a nutty and slightly earthy flavour. Hence, they can make a tasty and exciting dish. For your first foray, try marinating them in soy sauce, garlic, and spices for 30 minutes before skewering and grilling them until crispy and golden brown. Serve these as finger food for adventurous guests willing to leap into entomophagy (the practice of eating insects).
Similar to crickets, mealworms offer a unique protein alternative and can be grilled to crispy perfection. Try a sweet and spicy honey, chilli flakes, and lime juice marinade. Once marinated, skewer and grill until crispy. You can also toss mealworms in a salad or serve them atop crostini as an appetiser.
The ‘exotic’ nature of these options may imply they are difficult to obtain. However, some distributors in Australia offer them for sale, so you don’t have to search far and wide to source them.
Embrace your adventurous side and explore these unusual ingredients for your next grilling extravaganza. These options will intrigue your guests and lead to interesting conversations. While not everyone may be game to try everything, these unconventional dishes show that grilling and BBQs can embrace diverse flavours and ingredients from around the globe.
Remember to use the right tools to accompany your foray into the adventurous side of culinary delights. As such, ensure you have the perfect BBQ to perform all your grilling. To do so, you will need to contact a reputable BBQ equipment distributor for expert advice on obtaining your ideal grill.