6 Easy Grilling Ideas That’ll Take You on a Flavor Vacation

6 Easy Grilling Ideas That'll Take You on a Flavor Vacation

By this point in the summer, we’ve had our fill of the usual chicken, salmon, and corn, and are looking for the best new grill recipes. That’s why Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s new book, Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant (Pavilion/Rizzoli), couldn’t have come at a better time.

The husband-and-wife duo behind the restaurant group Honey & Co own three spots in London—the original Honey & Co, Honey & Spice, and the grill-centric Honey & Smoke—and have written three previous books, but this one is definitely the farthest flung. Inside it, you’ll find delicious ideas and tips they picked up on their travels through Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Greece, and Turkey. Warning: You’re definitely going to want to whip out your passport and hop on a plane to try dishes like the world’s best Adana kebabs for yourself.

But as Itamar told us, “You can travel through books, and you can definitely travel through food.” So fire up your gas or charcoal grill, or pull up a chair to the fire pit, and learn a few tasty lessons from this adventurous duo.

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Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around the Levant
Photo by Elyse Moody | Available for purchase at Rizzoli Books or on Amazon.

Sarit & Itamar’s Top 6 Grilling Tips

1. Grill Unsung Foods

Cabbage usually appears on American summer tables as coleslaw. Slice it in half and throw it on the grill, then add a little chili garlic oil, and it becomes an irresistible side instead of an afterthought. Sarit and Itamar also recommend brushing watermelon with olive oil and grilling it just until it has char lines to make it taste even sweeter.

Grilled Cabbage with Chili Garlic Butter
Photo by Patricia Niven (Rizzoli/Pavilion)

2. Prep Marinades in Advance

This is truly a next-level tip. Make your marinades and salad dressings an hour ahead of when you plan to use them, to let the flavors really develop and meld.

Grilled Watermelon and Prawns with Feta and Chili
Photo by Patricia Niven (Rizzoli/Pavilion)

3. Retain Fish’s Freshness

When grilling fresh-caught fish, throw it in a bucket of saltwater before cooking to re-create the ocean flavor. That’s something Sarit and Itamar saw fishermen doing in Greece. “The flavor really permeates the flesh of the fish, and firms up the texture a little bit,” says Itamar. “It also does something to the skin that gives it such nice, crispy skin.” You can also just brush or drizzle a brine solution on the fish while you’re grilling—that’s what they tend to do. They love to use kosher salt, because the coarseness is perfect for meat.

4. Get Yourself a Flat Grill Basket

It’s the ideal tool for chicken wings, fish, and small veggies that are annoying to flip individually on the fire, like green beans, asparagus, okra, and mushrooms. It lets you give them a nice, even char without losing any through the grates.

5. Clean the Grates With An Onion

Yes, an onion. “It seems like everyone does it back home,” says Sarit, speaking of Tel Aviv. Cut an onion in half root to tip, spear it on a grilling fork, dip it in vegetable oil, and rub it across the grates to remove any debris leftover from the last time you grilled. “It cleans the grates and gives them a little sheen to help keep food from sticking,” says Sarit. “Plus it smells amazing,” adds Itamar.

Whole Baked Red Onions with Sage, Honey, and Walnut Dressing
Photo by Patricia Niven (Rizzoli/Pavilion)

6. Keep the Grill Master Happy

This is something Sarit learned growing up from her grandfather, who’d ask for a beer, shandy, or lemonade with lots of mint while manning the grill. His recipe for a shandy? Super-light Israeli Goldstar lager plus Schweppes lemonade or Sprite.

Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer
Photo by Patricia Niven (Rizzoli/Pavilion)

Hungry for More?

To watch our full interview with Sarit and Itamar (aka @honeyandco), see some souvenirs from their travels (including a close-up of the best kabob-making knife in the world), and get a glimpse into their home kitchen, click over to Instagram. You’ll find the conversation on our IGTV channel @realnapalm.

@realnapalm and @honeyandco
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SIDENOTE. This post was last modified on July 1, 2021. However, we regularly update our content as we test more products and new models are released. We also listen to the feedback of our customers and make changes to our product recommendations based on their experiences. So don’t be surprised if you see some old comments below! Since reader comments contribute to the topic, we have decided not to delete them.

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