Getting Creative with the Grill

Getting Creative with the Grill
Nothing says “summer” quite like firing up the grill. Backyard barbecue favorites like hamburgers, brats and kebabs often serve as staples on the menu—but these classics are only the tip of the iceberg. Thinking beyond what consumers normally prepare at home and getting creative with grilled dishes can serve to differentiate your offerings and deliver a crave-worthy experience that your patrons will love.

Chicken and beef tend to get the most attention when it comes to grilled proteins, but I have an idea that your customers are sure to gobble up. I’m, of course, talking turkey! This versatile bird is ideal for a variety of menu items that can be grilled to perfection—and today I’ll give you a few of my favorite tips and tricks for preparing delicious turkey dishes.

Sear-iously hot menu ideas

  • Think big! Giant turkey wings are incredibly flavorful and make for an impressive presentation. Slow-cook ‘em with indirect heat until tender, then grill-mark the wings when they’re ready to be served. Turkey wings can also be roasted or braised ahead of time and finished on the grill. Serve with a cranberry-cola barbecue sauce.
  • Turkey legs can be prepared in the same way as wings, but try adding wood chips to the grill or use a smoky dry rub on the meat before cooking. A fruitwood such as apple or cherry adds subtle smokiness and won’t overpower the mild natural flavor of the turkey.
  • Put a spin on your lunchtime offerings with a grilled turkey BLT. You can impart smoky flavor through crispy bacon, a chipotle marinade or a roasted pepper finishing sauce.
  • Reinvent the meatball sub with grilled turkey meatballs on a hoagie roll or hot dog bun, and serve with grilled asparagus, peppers and a chilled pasta salad.
  • Go hot AND cold with a charred turkey sandwich or burger paired with a crisp fruit and vegetable slaw. Apples, cabbage, dried sour cherries and honey-lime dressing would be delicious as a side or as a sandwich/burger topping.
  • Don’t forget about breakfast—a char-grilled turkey sausage patty will impress your guests and can be served on its own or as the star of a delicious biscuit sandwich.

A feast of flavor from West Liberty Foods

West Liberty Foods can deliver an impressive variety of turkey products to enhance your menu.

  • Turkey sausage patties
  • Turkey burgers
  • Turkey meatballs
  • Turkey wings
  • Turkey legs
Getting Creative with the Grill

Nostalgia is everything

Grilling and good times go hand in hand. By creating a multi-sensory experience with your signature grilled turkey items, you’ll help to evoke memories of tailgates, street fairs and family gatherings in every bite. Be sure to consider aroma, flavor and texture in all of your turkey dishes. Juicy meat, crispy skin, appealing sear marks and a complex, smoky scent can come together in truly unforgettable ways.

Contact me if you’re interested in adding more turkey to your menu for grilling season—or any time of year!
– Chef Aliza

Sources:
Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menu penetration growth 2014-2018.
Datassential, “Grilled: the SNAP™ food profile,” June 2018.
National Turkey Federation, 2018.