As the days grow shorter and the air turns crisp and refreshing, there’s a distinct sense that autumn has painted its vibrant palette across the landscape of Portugal. While many might associate grilling with the soothing days of summer, there’s something uniquely enchanting about firing up the grill during the fall season. The aroma of wood smoke, the warm glow of the coals, and the promise of savoury delights—autumn grill sessions offer a unique opportunity to embrace the changing seasons through the culinary art of outdoor cooking.
In this blog post, we invite you to join us on a journey into the world of “autumn grill.” It’s a time when the grill takes on a new character, and the ingredients that grace its grates reflect the vibrant flavours of the season. From the rich, smoky notes of grilled pumpkins to the comforting sizzle of sausages, autumn grilling is a celebration of the harvest’s bounty and a salute to the cozy, inviting ambience this season brings.
Not only will we share mouthwatering recipes and essential grilling tips, but we’ll also delve into the intriguing curiosities that make autumn grilling a cherished tradition. So, gather around the grill, wear your favourite fall sweater, and prepare to embark on a culinary journey that captures the essence of autumn.
What to grill in autumn? Here are our Autumn grill favourites
Pumpkin and butternut squash. These autumnal staples are fantastic for grilling. Simply slice them, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle them with your favourite seasonings, and grill until tender and lightly charred. Check our Easy-grilled butternut squash recipe.
Apples. Grill slices of crisp apples to enhance their natural sweetness. They make a delightful accompaniment to savoury grilled dishes or can be used in desserts.
Sausages and brats. Autumn wouldn’t be complete without savoury sausages on the grill. Pair them with hearty sides like roasted vegetables for a satisfying meal.
Mushrooms. Wild mushrooms are abundant in autumn. Grill them with garlic, herbs, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a delightful side dish or burger topping.
Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes might be the quintessential fall veggie, and this smoked sweet potato recipe is super easy and irresistibly tasty. Its smoky flavour will help your sweet potatoes stand apart from the typical fall sweet potato casserole! Reach for these if you’re searching for a comfort food side that brings more excitement. Slice sweet potatoes into rounds or wedges, season with cinnamon and brown sugar, and grill until caramelised and tender.
Top tips for Autumn grilling
Preheat and clean the grill. Ensure it is clean and preheated to the right temperature before placing your ingredients on it. This ensures even cooking and prevents sticking.
Use seasonal herbs. Autumn is the perfect time to experiment with rosemary, sage, and thyme. They add warmth and depth to your grilled dishes.
Don’t forget to smoke. Consider using wood chips or chunks for smoking your autumn grilling creations. Hickory, applewood, and maple can infuse a rich, smoky flavour.
Embrace marinade. Marinating your ingredients before grilling can help infuse them with flavour and keep them juicy. Try marinades with warm spices and citrus for a seasonal twist.
Keep warm. As the temperatures drop, be prepared to keep your grilled dishes warm. Use a covered serving plate or a low-heat oven to maintain their deliciousness.
Pro Tip: Keep a spray bottle of apple cider or a similar fall-inspired liquid when grilling in autumn. Gently misting your ingredients with it while grilling can add a subtle, seasonal flavour and help prevent them from drying out, ensuring a mouthwatering autumn grill experience. 🍁
Autumn grill specials!
Preserve the harvest
Grilling fruits like apples and pears can be a way to preserve the season’s harvest and enjoy those flavours well into winter. Consider grilling in batches and freezing for later use.
Warm desserts – Make fall fruits sweeter
Grilled autumn fruits, like apples and pears, make for incredible dessert options. Top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce for a truly indulgent treat.
The heat of a charcoal fire or a gas grill caramelises the natural sugars in fruits, creating an appealing mix of complex flavours. So, why not make the most of the remaining heat (after you’ve fired up dinner) to create a simple dessert with pleasing fall fruits like pears or figs? Clean your grates (so dessert doesn’t taste like steak). Brush the fruit with enough olive oil to lightly coat and grill until lightly charred. Serve the fruit with something creamy and sweet (ice cream or whipped cream) and a crunchy topping such as toasted seeds, nuts, or granola.
Fire up autumn-inspired pizzas
Grilled pizzas are fun to prepare and easier than you might think. Few things are more enticing than a crispy and chewy charred crust drizzled with olive oil and scattered with seasonal toppings. Since they require high heat and cook in a matter of minutes, have your toppings ready to go before you start cooking.
Now for the grilling. Put the dough directly on the grates (they should be hot and well-oiled first) or on a pizza grill pan. Either way, grill one side of the crust until it’s lightly charred (this will only take a minute or two), then use tongs to transfer the crust to a cutting board.
Place a few toppings on the grilled side of the dough (say, a layer of fresh ricotta, thin slices of prosciutto or speck, red onion or a thin layer of tomato sauce, slices of fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of freshly chopped oregano,), then use tongs to place the uncooked side of the dough directly over the heat. Close the grill and cook until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom crust is charred and crisp (usually about 3 to 5 minutes more). You can also grill your pizza at home with a pizza oven.
Thanksgiving turkey on the grill
Some adventurous grillmasters cook Thanksgiving turkey on the grill, infusing it with smoky goodness. It’s a delightful alternative to traditional oven roasting. If you celebrate Thanksgiving, try grilling this delicious meat on your grill outdoors!
Autumn grilling is a culinary adventure waiting to be explored. With the abundance of seasonal ingredients and the cozy atmosphere this season brings, it’s the ideal time to fire up your grill and enjoy fall’s rich, smoky flavours. Whether grilling savoury sausages or caramelising sweet potatoes, autumn offers a world of grilling possibilities. So, gather your loved ones, embrace the cooler weather, and savour the flavours of autumn on the grill. Happy grilling! 🍂🔥