Now that the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, is behind us, the grilling season has begun. Hooray!
I come from Los Angeles, where grilling happens year-round. So I miss it and, when grilling season finally comes to Napa, I’m excited to really relish in it.
(You might think that Napa, being part of California, would be hospitable to year-round grilling—but you’d be wrong. It gets cold here in the winter. Really cold. Fall and spring can be pretty nippy, too.)
(And—I know winters in Napa are nothing compared to winters in, say, Minnesota. But compared to LA, Napa might as well be Minnesota. Or at least it sometimes feels that way.)
But what’s so great about grilling, anyway? Let’s review.
It happens outside. Yay for that after a long, cold winter, right?
It makes for easy clean-up—no pots or pans to wash after dinner.
Around my house at least, it often happens in après-pool togs. You know, you’ve spent a couple/few hours in and around the pool, you’ve showered, and now you’re in your après-pool togs, which are soft and loose and comfortable in an I’m-relaxed-and-a-little-bit-sun-kissed sort of way. Anything that happens in après-pool togs is a good thing, and grilling definitely qualifies.
Grilling tastes good. It adds smoky notes, caramelization, and charring in a combination that can’t be replicated otherwise. Yay for that.
And then there’s that primal, fire-meat-cook thing which makes grilling so innately satisfying.
I always recommend eating in season—now, for example, during strawberry season, eat all the strawberries you can get your hands on, so that when they’re not in season, you’ll be so satiated that you won’t even be tempted by a sub-par variation.
So in that spirit, do what I plan to do. Grill your brains out. Enjoy it. Relish in it. Do it so much and so often that when fall comes around you’ll be happy to close up the grill and start cooking roasts and braises.
Unless, of course, you live in LA.
Ready to grill?
Try my Chili-Rubbed Pork Chops with Grilled Pineapple Salsa (pictured, a recipe I created for the National Pork Board)
Make one of Epicurious’s 21 top burger recipes
Enjoy this round-up of grilled salad recipes from the Kitchn
Or join me for Grill Once, Dine Twice, a hands-on cooking class at Ramekins in Sonoma on August 9