Gourmet grilling on a budget. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s really not. You can grill a fantastic meal with any budget and keep your guests happy. Toss the hot dogs out, but you can do some fun things with burgers. Burgers made from ground turkey, ground beef or ground chicken all offer something basic on which to make better. That’s what gourmet is all about. Take simple ingredients and make them even better. The side dishes just need kicked up a notch and surprise your guest with grilling things they would not even consider grilling.
Let’s start off with the buns for your burger. Buy the least expensive buns you can find. In a pan, melt some butter with a clove of smash garlic and brush them over the insides of the buns. You are going to want to grill these, but make sure you keep an eye on them. You want them just a little toasted. Voila! Gourmet toasted, garlic butter buns.
Now for the burgers. Take your meat of choice and for every pound of meat add the following: 2 tablespoons dried chopped onion, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper and mix it all together. Form into patties and grill as you normally would. If you want to make cheeseburger, don’t put the cheese on top. Take your American cheese, or a similar sliced cheese, fold it until you get almost a ball shape and form the burger around the cheese. There’s nothing like surprising your guests with a nice bite of gooey cheese when they bite into their burger. You now have a burger that costs $12 in a restaurant.
For fixings for the burger, it’s quite easy to take it up to gourmet level. Add a bit of mustard, preferably brown or stone ground, to your mayonnaise. For the ketchup, add a bit of horseradish or barbecue sauce. These will be familiar, yet gourmet in taste. The best thing to do with the condiments is to put them in nice looking small serving bowls with a spoon. Elegance and gourmet go hand in hand. A nice touch is to have the tomatoes sliced and arranged on a tray, along with lettuce and purple onions. Color is everything! Make sure you put a large serving fork on the tray.
For your side dish, stay away from the potato chips. They are expensive, not good for you and most are not considered gourmet. You can make a nice pasta salad just by using cooking some frozen broccoli and adding it to cooked pasta shapes, with one chopped up pepper (yellow or orange is nice) and a small container of small tomatoes cut up. Add your favorite Italian dressing and top with some Parmesan cheese and ground pepper.
For dessert, we are still grilling gourmet. Take one cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup honey and mix. Take 3 bananas, 2 pears, 2 green apples and 2 peaches and cut them into large chunks. Put the fruit in the marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. You can buy wooden skewers and divided them equally on the skewers and alternate to make them beautiful. Grill for 6-8 minutes total while brushing with the marinade as needed. If you want, you can serve these along side some vanilla ice cream.
Don’t forget, part of being gourmet is in the presentation. Don’t use paper and plastic when you are grilling. Make everything pretty and festive. That’s half the battle. You can make anything gourmet. All gourmet is is basic food with added love and detail. Anyone can do it and do it on a budget.