Upgrade Your Summer BBQ: Heart-Healthy Swaps for Burgers, Dogs, and S’mores

Ditch the hamburgers and hot dogs? Bid farewell to s’mores? Although this might sound like blasphemy, not everything from your grill has to be some cut of beef and/or slathered with barbecue sauce in order to taste good!

Start with traditional grilled Greek chicken for the main course and serve it with corn on the cob and a salad. Top everything off with grilled peaches, and you’ll have a fresh, light summer dinner that’s a nice change of pace from standard summer BBQ fare.

For the chicken, there’s no measuring; you can eyeball everything. You can also use the chicken marinade recipe with shrimp or mild white fish. For the peaches, you can use the proportions given below, or change them to suit your taste or diet. In the winter, you can bake the chicken and broil the peaches, because as Alton Brown points out, broiling is grilling upside down.

Before you start your summer BBQ, heat a gas grill to medium. If you’re using charcoal, start the fire about half an hour before you plan to grill and let the flame die down. You’ll know the fire is ready when the charcoal turns white.

Grilled Greek Chicken

Ingredients:

In a perfect world, you would use fresh lemon and zest it before squeezing, but feel free to use bottled lemon juice.

  • Chicken breasts (boneless and skinless if you prefer)
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried oregano

Directions:

1. Pierce the chicken pieces all over with a fork.

2. In a small bowl, mix approximately 4 parts lemon juice with 1 part olive oil. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano to taste. Pour the mixture into a ziplock plastic bag.

3. Add the chicken, close the bag, and let it marinate for 30–45 minutes at room temperature, turning the bag halfway through the marinating process.

4. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with a paper towel. Discard the remaining marinade.

5. Grill the chicken (if you’re using bone-in chicken breast with skin, be sure to grill it skin-side down) until lightly charred. Turn and continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.

Grilled Peaches

The success of this recipe depends on how ripe your peaches are. A peach smells like it tastes, so if it doesn’t smell heavenly, it’s not ripe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup port wine or balsamic vinegar
  • Coconut or olive oil
  • 4 large fresh, ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola (or other blue cheese), crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In a small pan, bring wine or vinegar to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until it’s reduced by half to a thick syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Brush the cut sides of your peach halves with oil.

3. Place the peach halves on the grill, cut-side down, and grill until brown marks have formed and the peaches have started to caramelize.

4. Turn the peaches over and glaze each half with a little of the wine or vinegar reduction. Sprinkle each half with an equal amount of the crumbled cheese, and close the top of the grill briefly so the cheese begins to melt.

5. Transfer your peaches to serving plates, drizzle them with remaining reduction, and serve topped with a little freshly ground pepper.

Be careful while you’re juggling platters, food, and utensils, and check out these summer safety tips for fall prevention.

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