An Expert’s Guide to Summer Grilling

Chef Keri Winne offers insight for barbecue season

Chef Keri Winne is no stranger to the grill. The director of kitchen and bakery at Western Market and her husband used to travel around the country to compete in cook-offs with the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

With summer grilling season in full force, Winne offers a few tips.

Go for a new cut of meat.
“In the barbecue world … they usually stick to their four categories: ribs, brisket and chicken, and pulled pork,” Winne explains. Instead, she suggests opting for less obvious choices like meaty tri-tip, which can be grilled or smoked. Fish and vegetarian options, like the Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger, are also great options.

Take advantage of your entire grill.
Placing items to the side of your pile of coals, away from the direct heat, is a great way to slow cook side dishes while grilling entrees. “We do a lot of grilling in aluminum packets. You can put potatoes in there, side dishes, even greens.”

Grill something you never grilled before.
“You don’t have to just [grill] steaks and hamburgers.” Outside of toasting your buns, try grilling different types of bread. “There is something about grilling Naan that adds to its flavor. It becomes sweeter and nuttier.” She suggests using grilled naan to make pizzas, tacos, wrap sandwiches and more. Winne also recommends grilling fruits like whole pineapples for dessert.

When in doubt, grill up a classic. 
“This season’s corn is so sweet,” Winne says. “You barely have to cook it to enjoy it.” And don’t be afraid to put a bit of a twist on it. “Elote is so popular right now, and you can have some fun with it,” she says, referencing the popular Mexican grilled corn dish.

No grill? No problem.
“Not everyone has a grill,” Winne says. In this case, you can get a little creative in the kitchen. She recommends utilizing a gas stove or another open flame source to roast vegetables like whole peppers — or marshmallows for a sweet treat!