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Chef Selwyn’s Recipes: Grilled Picnic: Get Fired Up Over Fresh Ideas

There’s nothing like sharing food in the great outdoors to give you plenty of reasons to smile.  Firing up the grill for a picnic usually brings on thoughts of hamburgers, hot dogs, and barbecued chicken.

That’s all dandy and certainly delicious, but wouldn’t you like your grilled food to stand out a little from the rest?  Perhaps there are ways to present old favorites on the grill in new ways, or even try something completely different.

Here are a few thoughts about new ways to grill up some summertime dishes:

Fish is a grilling favorite at picnics.  Use fish that is firm and solid, so it grills well and doesn’t fall apart or become dry.  Oily fish like salmon is perfect on the grill, but there are many other types of fish that work equally well.

Fish grills best when you don’t have to flip it with a spatula, that’s why you want to invest in a grilling basket which encloses the fish and you flip the basket instead of the fish itself.

Other seafood that’s perfect picnic food for the grill is shrimp, scallops, and lobster.  Shrimp can be grilled unpeeled to help keep them from overcooking.  Lobster can be grilled in the shell, as well.  Use a tray made for the grill with smaller slots to keep smaller seafood, like shrimp and scallops, from falling through.  Marinade the seafood in a variety of flavors for a different flavor each time you have a grilling picnic.

Sometimes, you need to rethink the way you prepare your main dishes at a grilling picnic to make serving simple.

Think shish-kabobs and you hardly even need to bring plates!  These bite-size pieces are a great way to cook, serve, and eat your favorite foods easily at a grilling picnic.  Alternate cut up meat, meat balls, poultry, or seafood with grape tomatoes, chunks of sweet onions, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, or mushrooms.

Some foods lend themselves very well to a tropical taste, too.  Include pineapple chunks or citrus with chicken or seafood for a taste of the islands.

As you can see, you can grill just about anything you want to serve at your picnic.  Even if you choose to serve sandwiches, why not grill them?

When you fire up your grill for your picnic, don’t limit the menu to hotdogs and hamburgers.  Use your imagination.  If you can cook it, you can grill it!


Citrus Sunset Jerk GrouperJerk Grouper


2 tablespoons favorite jerk seasoning

1 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup soy sauce

2 lbs. grouper, cut into 4 fillets   


Put everything except the fish in a large glass bowl and whisk together well. Add the grouper fillets to the jerk marinade, cover, and put in refrigerator to marinade for anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.  The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavor. Get grill set heating to medium-high heat. Take grouper out of marinade, and when grill is ready, put grouper on grill for 5 or 6 minutes, flip and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes or until fish is white and no longer transparent. Remove to platter and serve immediately with mashed potatoes or grilled plantain.

Selwyn Richards is an award-winning master chef. He is also the President and Executive Chef at The Art of Catering Inc. and is the author of “The Art of Cooking: Soul of The Caribbean”. Chef Selwyn can be reached at: selwyn@theartofcatering.com or by phone — (905) 619-1059.

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