We all love traditional burgers, hot dogs, chicken and other grill fare, but there’s a wealth of fine protein sources outside this familiar bubble. To kick start your creative juices, we’ve selected a few alternative meats to grill up and some recipes to go with them.
Super-flavorful but somewhat pricey, young lamb is a killer meat to take a palate by surprise. This recipe for chops features a salty, garlicky Greek rub and the citrusy combo of lemon zest and lemon juice, for a bright, well-seasoned griller’s revelation. Grill to a medium-rare, and pair with a Greek salad.
Goat meat is popular in many parts of the world, due to its delicate taste and ability to flavor stews so well. This barbacoa-style goat recipe is a traditional Mexican creation. It can be cooked in the oven or on the grill in a deep, foil-covered roasting pan on the grill. Its guajillo chiles lend a spicy, fruity taste and a gorgeous red color to the sauce. Awesome to make tacos or burritos with, or as a platter with queso fresco, corn salsa, yellow rice and crema.
6. Beef Tongue
One of the most misunderstood parts of the cow is the tongue. As strange as it may sound, the tongue has incredible flavor slow-cooked down can resemble the flavor and texture of great pot roast. It’s very high in fat, so watch out for flare-ups. This recipe is for Japanese-style “Gyutan”, a Japanese BBQ favorite. Just tell your guests it’s beef, and leave out the tongue part.
5. Quail/Cornish Hen
Quails and Cornish game hens are basically just tiny chickens. Each one is the perfect serving size for one person, and they’re practically made for the grill. This recipe calls for some basics (olive oil, herbs, spices) to let the bird’s taste shine through – and it can be used for either bird. To get the birds to cook a bit more quickly with more uniform heat contact try grilling them al mattone, or Italian for “with a brick.” Or in this case, a foil-wrapped brick to place on top.
Buffalo burgers be damned, buffalo is sweet and tender enough to go full-on steak with it. But be careful, buffalo is particularly lean so it should be cooked with extra care to avoid overcooking. This recipe calls for red wine, onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper to complement its rich flavor.
Lean, delicate and tender, bison is another wonderful meat that goes untasted by so many. This award-winning recipe takes this alternative meat and reins it in for a more familiar Cabernet onion and Wisconsin cheddar cheeseburger preparation. Use great care when cooking, as bison can dry out fast. This is best served medium-rare or rare.
2. Beef Ribs
High marbling and levels of tough connective tissue mean beef ribs require low and slow cooking/smoking to open up their fall-off-the-bone texture and incredible true-beef flavor. Check out this detailed recipe for classic Texas beef ribs with an awesome spice rub.
1. Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Turkey
We eat turkey at Thanksgiving and in our sandwiches, but why doesn’t this versatile, flavorful bird get more year-round love? Turkey is lean and dries out easily, so this recipe calls for brining and bacon-wrapping to seal in its natural juices and ensure Thanksgiving isn’t the only time each year you get to eat awesome turkey leftovers.