If you plan on inviting a large group of friends over for a grand dinner, have you considered doing it all on the grill in your backyard? This was the challenge which I took on last month, as we hosted for 24 people. Unlike the usually grill style cookout where you just fire the grill up, keep cooking until nobody wants more, this time I was looking for something more refined, whilst still using the grill. As it turned out, the entire evening was a great success and all of the guests left with full stomachs and smiles on their faces. I wanted to talk you through what I prepared for my guests in the hope of inspiring you to follow in my footsteps.
The first thing to mention is that you cannot prepare everything on the grill, and it makes sense to get ahead of time with things like rice, salads, pastas and other garnishes. If you so wished, you could cook the pasta and rice on the grill, but it would take up far too much space and it simply isn’t necessary.
For starters we decided to do some tapas style plates with stuffed chargrilled peppers, goes mozzarella sticks and calamari which had been prepared minutes before, and then fired on the grill.
Surf and Turf
I opted for a seafood and meat based dinner, so opted for surf and turf for the main meal. I would recommend that if you do this, you don’t simply grab whatever you see at the store and load it onto the grill, remember that you are doing a dinner here, and not a cookout. You can buy live lobsters online like I did, and then allow your guests to pick out which one they would like, before boiling, grilling and serving. When it comes to the meat I would recommend using something like wagyu, to really knock the socks off your guests.
When it comes to dessert you can have a lot of fun preparing this on the grill, and after much thought, we decided to cook bananas with a rich melted french chocolate filling, and praline nuts to decorate. In order to do this you simply need to have prepared ahead of time, wrapped the bananas in foil with the chocolate and then prepare when ready, the perfect end to a beautiful meal.
There are some things which you need to eep in mind when grilling like this, the first is that you are the chef, and you will struggle to also be the host, make sure that there is someone sitting at the table to keep things running smoothly. Secondly, if you are not using a gas grill, you must ensure that you have enough equipment to keep the heat in the grill for the duration of the night. Assuming you follow these simple rules, you will no doubt have a stunning meal which you will feel mightily proud of once it is all finished.