Ultimate Tailgate: Zesty Grilled Vegetables

Tailgating: Avocados, pizza and more foods you never thought to grill

It’s halftime of the tailgating season—with six games to go in UGA’s regular season—and it may be time for a new star on the grill.

If you’ve spent the first half of college football season mired in the routine of burgers and hotdogs, you need to step up your game. Avocado, pineapple and even pizza can be new sweet and savory ways for you to score among your friends and family.

Put these tailgating tips and recipes into motion when the Georgia Bulldogs take the field against the Missouri Tigers this weekend, and you’ll be voted MVP of the grill.

Plan ahead

A hot grill should never be left unattended, so be sure to gather the supplies you need for grilling ahead of time. This includes fuel for the grill, cooking utensils, marinades and clean serving platters.

Sweet whiskey grilling sauce can be made in a pinch and pairs well with any type of meat. Want to kick it up a notch? Try this recipe for red hot barbecue sauce. Get creative and serve it with vegetable shrimp kebabs.

A marinade can bring out the flavor in your meat. If you’re a fan of balsamic vinegar, then start the previous night with this recipe for balsamic marinated flat iron steak. After that overnight soak, the steak grills in as little as 10 minutes on game day.

Try something new

There’s a world of vegetables just waiting to be tossed on a grill.

Did you know you can grill avocados? Simply slice one in half, remove the pit, brush with oil and grill it flesh-side down for about 3 minutes.

For a Tex-Mex feel, pair your grilled avocado with a grilled corn and roasted jalapeno salsa. For something a little lighter, try dicing your grilled avocado and adding it to a salad, such as this recipe for arugula, avocado and grapefruit salad. Make it a main by serving it with grilled swordfish.

Zucchini and artichokes have mild flavors that play well with most meat. Grilled zucchini with mint can add a taste of summer to your plate, and artichokes with grilled garlic bulbs will impress your guests.

If you’re not feeling adventurous enough for avocados and artichokes, corn is a long-time favorite on the grill. For chili grilled corn, shop for corn still in the husk.

If you’ve been baking potatoes on the grill, it’s time for a new playbook. Try slicing seasoned potatoes and onions, layering them in a foil packet and grilling for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Pizza party

You’ve tried grilled chicken and maybe even turkey burgers, but pizza also is great on the grill. It’s a portable dish that can make tailgate hopping a breeze.

Kids especially will love the simplicity of this cheesy grilled pizza. Since the Dawgs aren’t playing the Gators this weekend, you’re safe to try grilled Florida-style calzones, a barbecued twist on the Italian classic.

Grilling pizza can be as simple as topping it with pepperoni, but if you’re ready for MVP status, try a build your own pizza bar and allow your guests to top their own.

Bring along some peaches for a dessert-style grilled peach pizza.

Don’t forget dessert

No tailgate is complete without dessert, and there are plenty of fruits that go with your grill.

Take your party to the tropics with grilled pineapple. Look for pineapple that’s firm to the touch, because it may be too ripe for the grill if it’s soft. Serve it with make-ahead caramel coating for a real treat.

If you’re living in the Peach State, you’ve probably had peaches in cobbler, but have you tried them on the grill?

Bring some vanilla ice cream for Georgia grilled peaches. For a more savory dessert, pair those grilled peaches with blue cheese.

If you’re bringing ice cream, offer guests the option of grilled bananas or grilled apples instead.

For a not-so-fruity dessert, there’s always s’mores. Because you’re on the winning team, grilled s’mores in a cone will impress your friends with their gooey chocolate goodness and portability.

Don’t drop the ball in the fourth quarter. Plan ahead, stock up on new and creative recipes, and take your tailgating to the championship in style.