As the weather gets warmer outside BBQ’ing, grilling and outdoor cooking become a little more enjoyable. I mean let’s face it – only the most hardcore grill-a-holics are willing to brave the ice and cold and put on their parka to make dinner. But longer days and warm spring sunshine make the prospects of hovering over the grill a little more enticing.
With this in mind, it’s the perfect time to take a look at some of the exciting new BBQ and grilling trends for the spring and summer of 2015 – and consider some of the exciting new wine options that come with dining – and cooking! – al fresco.
So here it is – our look at 2015 trends in outdoor cooking and the perfect wine picks to put a sophisticated and delicious spin on your BBQ’d meals.
1.) Meat from the Grill as a Component of More Complex Dishes
While steaks, chops and burgers are classic summer fare, we’re beginning to look to the grill for more than grilled hunks and chunks to satisfy are carnivorous cravings. More thoughtfully seasoned, sauced or marinated proteins can be grilled and showcased in interesting and novel “international” vehicles. From fish tacos, to sliced steak on pizza through to grilled veggies in sushi rolls, this interesting new trend offers limitless ways to showcase wicked smoky flavours from the grill and complex spices, seasonings and accompaniments.
Wine Picks: Mid-weight whites from Spain’s northwest (like Albarino or Godello) are perfect for this kind of fare. These wines are generally lightly oaked – or completely unoaked – but these grapes varieties offer up aromatic intensity with bright freshness, in equal measure, to partner perfectly with pizza or tacos. Sparkling wines (like a Loire Cremant) are also amazingly versatile and deliciously affordable – and add a certain gourmet feel that works perfectly with these kind of kicked up foodie creations.
2.) Weeknight Grilling
Grilling, BBQ’ing and outdoor cooking aren’t just part of weekend parties. More and more “Wednesday night” dinners are being cooked on the BBQ. From meat to vegetables and side dishes, it’s quick, easy and convenient to be able to toss an entire meal on the grill – and it saves you time on clean up on busy weeknights. Everything from BBQ classics like burgers, steaks and chops – right through to less “typical” BBQ fare like pizzas are making weeknights meals tastier and more interesting with a little love from the grill.
Wine Picks: Don’t get me wrong – I love beautiful fancy crystal glassware, but Wednesday night dinners cry out for humble wines served in equally unpretentious glassware. I love the small tumblers often used for wine in places like Italy and Spain – and fleshy, flavourful Grenache based-reds (from places like the Cotes-du-Rhone or Languedoc or southern Spain) offer exactly the kind of punchy profile, perfect for a casual weeknight meal.
3.) Smoking, Slow Cooking & Southern Flavours
While weeknight grilling and quick meals are more popular than ever, home cooks are experimenting more and more with smoking and slow cooking when they’ve got a bit more time on weekends, or while on vacation. The proliferation of Green Eggs and home smokers has opened the door to a whole new world of amazing flavours. And while southern American spices, sauces and seasonings are often perfect additions to this mix, creative condiments and sides (think homemade ketchup made with smoked tomatoes, or hot-grilled romaine hearts in a Caesar salad) are getting in on the action.
Wine Picks: Southern flavours from the smoker call for wines with big-time flavour so naturally my mind immediately gravitates to warm climate reds from places like Australia, or southern Italy. But why not think outside the box a bit with a delicious homemade fresh seasonal sangria? Simply mix up a bottle of good quality red table wine with splash of brandy and some fresh fruit juice and garnish each glass with a handful of summer berries, a few slices of apple and citrus fruit – and serve over ice. This is a perfectly sophisticated and unpretentious drink to enjoy alongside your next creations from the smoker.