Last summer, we featured cooking with planks and we used the grill all through the winter. Though I love winter soups and comfort foods, it was nice to enjoy a tender salmon filet or grilled chicken with a ginger sauce.
In addition the usual fare of burgers or hot dogs and the recipes using planks, we’ve been enjoying foil pack recipes on the grill. The best thing about foil packs is in case of sudden thunderstorms or blizzards or if we accidentally run out of propane for the grill, they cook well in the oven.
My first foil pack was on my first Girl Scout camping trip. We made the famous “Hobo packs” consisting of hamburger, potatoes, carrots and onions. I thought I was in heaven when our troop leader brought out the graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows.
While the Hobo pack will always hold a special place in my heart, I’ve found some other delicious recipes. I’ve included links to a couple of websites with great recipes at the end of this article. If you aren’t well versed in foil pack cuisine, try a few established recipes before making your own version.
Our favorite go to pack contains shrimp, Andouille sausage, fresh vegetables, olive oil or butter, garlic, salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning. We’ve used corn on the cob, red or Yukon Gold potatoes, lemon wedges, red or white onion, and green beans. You can use Vegan sausage and mushroom for a meatless option or switch up the type of sausage and spices you use if Cajun is not your thing.
Chicken, beef, fish and shellfish are delicious in foil pack meals. I do any of the precooking necessary for some of the vegetables and meats and one of my sons rips the foil into 12”x12” pieces (use 12”x24” pieces and fold in half if you are not using heavy duty foil). He assembles and adds spices to each pack, seals them and puts a mark with a nontoxic magic marker on custom packets. Then the packs go to the grill or into the oven. The grill should be at medium high (about 400 degrees) or the oven should be preheated to 400 degrees.
The packs go directly onto the grill or on a baking sheet if being put in the oven. These packs usually take about 15 minutes on the grill or in the oven; however, packs on the grill should be flipped halfway through cooking.
We also like to prepare asparagus, Brussels sprouts, zucchini or summer squash in foil packs with a little olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Though we haven’t tried one yet, there are several recipes for fruit desserts in foil packs. I’m thinking something with peaches, apples, cherries or pineapple for a summer treat.
Last year I said I was in the market for a new grill. Well, I still am - sometimes life just gets in the way.
I know I want a propane grill. After years of coaxing a tiny spark to ignite charcoal briquettes, the ease of using propane is just too inviting.
Whether you are using gas or charcoal, you’ll need some cooking tools and grill safe pans for the grill:
Oven mitts or grilling gloves
A wire brush for cleaning
Disposable foil pans
Grill safe griddle
Nonstick cooking stone
Nonstick grilling pan
I’ve included a link to quality grilling pans and tools by the Pampered Chef to help you get started at the end of this article. Each piece in the Pampered Chef Rockcrok Collection is made from durable, heat-resistant clay that heats evenly no matter what heat source you’re using. Pieces transfer effortlessly from freezer to stovetop to oven and back again. You can create savory roasts, crisp crusts, moist cakes, and one-pot wonders. The cookware also can go on the grill, in the microwave, under the broiler, in a slow cooker stand, and in the dishwasher.
Tips for safe grilling:
Make sure your grill stays clean. Preheat the grilling surface by turning all burners on high for 10 to 15 minutes to burn off any remaining residue from the last use. Then, brush the cooking grates with a grill brush with brass bristles instead of steel bristles which can damage the enamel finish of some grates. You can also use a ball of crumpled heavy-duty aluminum foil between a pair of tongs to clean the grates. Clean them each time you grill.
Always check the temperature of meats with a meat thermometer to be sure they are safe to eat.
Coat the food, not the grill rack, with oil or cooking spray. This will help promote caramelization and grill marks. It will help prevent the food from drying out and sticking to the cooking grates.
Sources for this article and suggested sites for grilling recipes: