Introducing: A Guide to Grilling Vegetables

I imagine that most people, both vegetarian and the rest of the world, think BBQing is really only good for meat. And six years ago, I would have believed the same thing. But my wife and I since we have known each other have collaborated on some of the best vegetarian BBQs - no, I dare say the best BBQs I have ever had. Last night's BBQ was so good that I was inspired to start a column about vegetarian BBQs so that others might be able to broaden their grill experience.

It just so happens that I am a Texan - and it is my belief that to a certain extent, BBQing is in my blood. I certainly learned a lot from my father who has taken to grilling almost every night (weather permitting). He taught me the virtues of making sure to turn your chicken constantly to keep it from charring, and he taught me the basics of creating a good BBQ sauce.

When I became a vegetarian, I must admit that I was a little saddened by the fact that I thought my BBQing days were over. I mean, you can grill vegetables, by why would you want to? How naive.

Bottom line, I couldn't let go. The inner-Texan in me refused not to BBQ. The first break-through was when I discovered a product called Veat. Veat was the first meat substitute I have found that holds up on a grill. It also has a very similar texture to chicken which makes it very suitable for a BBQ sauce. My meat-eating friends insist that it is nothing like chicken (no-duh), but to my vegetarian friends, they are always amazed.

Over the years, I have become more adventurous with my grilling - due largely in part to my wife, who is one of the most creative cooks I know. She got me onto the idea of BBQing pizza - which is easier than you might expect, and last night she stumbled upn the idea to make a form of BBQ potatoe chips.

So good was last night's BBQ, that I was inspired to start writing some tips on vegetarian BBQ. My first entry is of course this lengthy, run-at-the-mouth diatribe about essentially nothing so far. But I will conclude with my first recipe: grilled potato chips.

Grilled Potato Chips
To start, boil (or microwave) a batch of potatoes for about 6 minutes - the idea is to precook them a bit - you don't want to cook them completely, you just want to give them a head start. Then simply slice the potatoes into "chips." I like to use various thicknesses for the chips ranging from 1/4 inch, to 1 inch - it really all depends upon your taste, and that of your guests. To cook, simply brush them with olive oil, and put them directly over a medium heat. Cook them so that they turn a light to medium brown on both sides. Feel free to turn often and brush them lightly with additional olive oil. The oil is more fattening, but it helps to make the potatos crispier. I personally don't see the need to brush too much oil. Just a couple of times per side. When you are done, you can move them to the coolest part of the grill until you are ready to serve. This helps to keep them warm while the rest of the dinner is sizzle'n away.

Stay tuned for more vegetarian BBQ secrets. Including my BBQ sauce recipe, tips on grilling corn, and information on tools of the trade.

1 Comment

More detail on the "chips": I used a smallish light-skinned potato (about 3 inches long or so). I cut the ends off each potato and cut each potato in half crosswise. I boiled them in salted water for about 10 minutes, drained, and cooled them. When they were cool enough to handle, I cut each chunk into halves or thirds (I think the chips ended up being just shy of 1/2-inch thick). Then proceed to brush and season as Byrne describes. Bon apetit!



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  • More detail on the "chips": I used a smallish light-skinned potato (about 3 inches long or so). I cut the ends off each potato and cut each potato in half crosswise. I boiled them in salted water for about 10 minutes, dr...

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