Burgers, sausages and chicken breasts are in heavy rotation for summer cookouts.
A recent poll commissioned by the American Meat Institute shows steak in the lead as consumers' first choice for grilling this year. Burgers follow closely, with chicken and ribs ranking third and fourth.
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But that doesn't mean you can't shake things up a little every once in a while.
Maybe grill some cheese.
No, don't make a grilled cheese sandwich on the grill, really grill some cheese -- or maybe an avocado or some lemons.
When you think outside the meat case, you see a whole other world of ingredients just waiting to be kissed by the flames.
At many summer cookouts, we see avocado mashed into guacamole and smeared on a pepper jack-topped burger, not that there's anything wrong that.
Instead, put halved and pitted avocados flat-side down on the grill and cook two to three minutes to get some nice char marks. Now chop it and combine that with other grilled vegetables for a relish that can garnish a steak or chicken breast or even get tossed with some pasta for an interesting side dish.
"Choose a slightly firmer avocado than you would for guacamole; firm, firm, firm is the key to making this recipe work," says Janice Stahl, an food stylist who works with Batavia-based ALDI.
"Although an avocado on the grill may sound like a mess in concept, it works really well and is a wonderful way to incorporate more produce into your summer barbecues," she adds.
Fruits, too, like flames. A lot of cooks have success with peaches, nectarines and pineapple (topped with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce ... yum!), but the chefs in the McCormick test kitchens have citrus on their minds.
Charred lemon halves get squeezed to infuse smoky juices into watermelon lemonade, while grilled oranges bring those same savory notes to red wine sangria.
Now getting back to cheese.
In this year's "The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appétit," editor Adam Rapoport raves about Halloumi, a semihard, brined cheese. Because of its high melting point, the cheese can withstand a few minutes on the grill without melting through the grates.
"Halloumi is our favorite cheese for grilling and it makes the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing watermelon salad," he writes.
Try that salad or any of these other recipes the next time you want to shake things up. Your guests may be surprised to learn that, yes, you can grill that.