Grilling Through the Fall

Don’t put that grill away yet!  Next week looks beautiful (or at least it did when I was writing this) and let’s not forget about all the tailgating going on this fall.  In fact, one of our favorite dishes on the grill hints of autumn, with sweet potatoes and thyme.  (Find the recipe in my July column.)

It’s time to switch up your meat options.  We’ve talked burgers, dogs, chicken and steak; now let’s talk turkey.  You’ll want to marinate your turkey breast beforehand, and prepare and drip tray for the grill.  Heat grill to medium and cook, covered, for about 2 to 2.5 hours, until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. 

For some reason, I associate fall with pork.  Perhaps it’s because pork goes so well with winter squash, sweet potatoes and apples.  (We’ll get to those shortly.)  After reading up on grilling pork tenderloin, I’m excited to give it a try soon.   You’ll want to remove any excess fat and the silver skin from the tenderloin, and then use a dry rub that includes salt and sugar—which gives it great crispy exterior.   Place over direct heat on the grill for about 12-15 minutes, flipping once to char both sides.  Place over indirect heat for another three minutes, until the internal temperature reaches about 145 degrees. 

Both turkey and pork are lean sources of protein and high in B vitamins.

For an easier but more ‘fall-like’ meat option, consider brats.  I always think of brats going well with a warm German potato salad, or the Sweet-Hot Cabbage Relish (find the recipe at, which scream ‘fall’ to me. 

As for vegetables, you can’t beat a good grilled sweet potato with cinnamon and a pat of butter.  Sweet potatoes are high in fiber (eat that skin!), which can lead to improved gut health.  They are also high in Vitamins A and C, and Manganese.  Beta-carotene, found in orange vegetables, is converted into Vitamin A and is good for eyesight.  Anthocyanins, found in purple sweet potatoes, have been found to have a protective effect for certain types of cancers, and also contribute to eye health.

Truly, any vegetable can be delicious on the grill.  Mesh grill pans make easy work of grilling veggies—either a mix of the last favorites from summer, such as peppers, zucchini and eggplant, or sliced winter squash—by containing the meleé while you give it a shake.  Hearts of romaine can be halved a grilled, and even cabbage can be thick-sliced and grilled, with a little olive oil.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

For dessert, take a cue for your kids’ teachers and serve up some apples! Thick-slices or halve apples, brush with melted butter, then grill for approximately five minutes per side.  Serve sprinkled with cinnamon, honey or maple syrup and vanilla ice cream. 

Perhaps we’ll put the grill away in October?  Until then, let’s enjoy all the mild-weather days we have!

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