barbecue grill? Sound strange? Well, itís certainly not your typical Easter dinner, but there are many familiar Easter foods that can be adapted for cooking on the grill. Additionally, during a season of rebirth and new growth, cooking your Easter meal outdoors might just prompt your family to start a new tradition thatís likely to be repeated again and again!
The Main Course
If youíre worried about straying too far from the traditional, be assured that the two perennial favorite Easter main courses can both be cooked on your barbecue. Both ham and lamb are yummy on the grill and the preparation and cooking arenít very difficult.
Ham Ė You can cook just about any kind of ham on the grill, but the experts suggest the pre-cooked, boneless kind, which really just needs to be heated and browned. Nearly any kind of grill works for this task, including both charcoal and gas models, and you wonít need an abundance of extra barbecue supplies to accomplish a good end result.
You can season the ham before it goes on the grill, just as you would before
putting it in the oven. A mixture of brown sugar and honey makes a great coating for a ham and it will get good and crusty while cooking on the grill.
Itís best to cook ham on indirect heat, so if youíre using a gas grill with two burners, light just one half. For a charcoal grill, simply push the coals over to the side after they are heated. While keeping the ham away from the direct heat, place it on the grill and close the lid. Cook for about 90 minutes or until heated through. To keep it moist during the cooking process, spritz it with lemon-lime soda or apple juice every 20 minutes or so.
Lamb Ė If your family prefers lamb, there are plenty of things you can do with that meat as well. Chops are easy. Just sprinkle them with salt and pepper, brush with a little oil, and cook for about 10 minutes or until they reach 160 degrees F.
However, if you prefer to do a roast, thatís no problem. Purchase a boneless, butterflied leg of lamb that weighs about 2 to 3 pounds. This can be cooked over direct heat and it doesnít take very long. Simply preheat your grill to about 350 degrees and season the meat as you normally would if you were cooking it in the oven. Place on a slightly oiled grill and close the lid. A 2.5 pound piece should take about 40-45 minutes to reach 160 degrees. (Check the temperature before removing.) Remove from grill and place on a plate or carving board. Tent it with foil and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.
If youíre cooking your main course outside, thereís no reason not to prepare your traditional side dishes indoors, unless you wonít have access to an oven. In that case, consider cold side dishes like potato salads, pasta salads, traditional green salads, cold vegetable casseroles, and the like.
And remember, itís not Easter without hard boiled eggs, preferably the colored kind. You can simply offer them as-is or include them in your salads.
When everyone has eaten the main meal, taken part in an Easter Egg hunt, and is now basking in the sun on your comfy outdoor furniture, itís time to fire up the grill again and offer some unique grilled dessert choices. Hereís an easy one that goes well with any kind of meal.
Grilled Pound Cake with Bananas and Chocolate Sauce (serves 8)
4 large firm bananas (not too green)
4 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP orange liqueur (like gran marnier)
3 TBSP orange juice
2 TBSP butter
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
10-3/4 ounce pkg frozen pound cake (like Sara Lee), thawed & cut into 8 slices
Peel bananas and slice each on a bias into 8 pieces. Preheat an old 8-inch cast iron skillet on the rack of an uncovered grill over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add sugar, liqueur, juice, and butter to pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes until butter melts and sugar begins to dissolve. Add the bananas, cooking for 3-4 minutes more or until bananas are fork tender. Stir in the nutmeg. Set skillet to the side to keep warm while grilling cake. Grill cake directly on rack for about 1 minute or until golden brown, turning once. Spoon bananas and sauce over pound cake slices and drizzle with chocolate syrup.
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