Between 1880 and 1920, over 4 million Italian people made their way to America. These hard-working folks quickly got busy opening up shop and wasted no time introducing locals to the delights of Italian cooking.
Across the world, people love Italian food, and pizza soon became almost everybody’s favorite treat the moment it arrived in America.
The Italian culinary influence didn’t stop there either. Nowadays, you’ll find Italian influences in the most unlikely places, like around the grill.
Are you curious to discover more? Here’s the low-down on Italian grilling, so you can enjoy a taste of Italy in your backyard.
Italian BBQ Starts With the Best Ingredients
It might seem like Italian food centers around boiled pasta and rich sauces, but that’s not the case. Authentic Italian cuisine comprises foods cooked in the healthiest way possible — on the grill.
Fresh, top-quality ingredients are the secret behind all Italian dishes. So make sure you source only premium cuts of meat, tender vegetables, and the freshest fish.
Italian recipes rely on letting the real flavor of the food shine through, rather than counting on complicated marinades and barbecue sauces.
Embrace Creativity in Italian Grilling
Forget the hamburgers and hot dogs; Italian grill recipes center around almost anything else. Sausages, steaks, seafood, and vegetables are all fair game when it comes to grilling Mediterranean-style.
Some of the more exotic Italian grills include:
- Grilled polenta with mushroom ragù
- Fiorentina style T-bone steak
- Grilled chicory salad
- Pesca Alla Griglia aka grilled fish
Of course, pizza is another one of the most popular grill recipes. This type of pizza is different from anything you’ll find outside of Italy.
It’s like toasted flatbread drizzled with a bit of olive oil and cooked over intense, direct heat, but you can also enjoy it with any toppings you want.
If you’d like to try cooking pizza this way at home, simply start with a small thin-crusted pizza, add your toppings, and place it on the grill for a few minutes.
You should leave it there long enough for the cheese to melt and the crust to turn golden brown. It takes a little practice to get the pizza off the grill before it burns, so keep watch over it the entire time it’s grilling.
Easy-to-Eat Italian BBQ
Skewers, called Spiedini on the continent, are one of the most popular ways to cook and serve barbecue eats across Italy.
Spear a selection of cheese, vegetables, meat, or fish cubes onto your skewers and cook them over the flames. You can ask your butcher to prepare this or get creative with your selection of favorites.
If preferred, simply prepare bowls of ingredients and let your guests mix and match their meal.
One of the most delicious examples of Italian grilled meat is its steaks. Italy is home to some of the best beef cattle in the world, namely Tuscany’s Chianina cattle.
While these are few and far between around these parts, any good cut of beef will do when it comes to your Italian grilling experience.
Let the beef play the leading role by keeping your seasoning understated.
Olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper are about as complicated as it gets, no matter what you’re cooking. For example, here’s more info on brisket rub and how to keep it simple.
The oil coats the palate and livens up the charred proteins, while sea salt adds crunch and emphasizes the natural flavors of the meat. A few sprigs of fresh rosemary and oregano add a touch of Italian flair without detracting too much from the meat itself.
If you want to wow your guests, try preparing grigliata mista di carne. This elaborate-sounding dish simply comprises a mixture of meats prepared according to the above simple techniques.
The trick is making sure they’re all ready to eat at the same time.
Some top picks to include in this dish include veal, pork, lamb, chicken, sausages, and beef.
Cook the chicken over moderate heat first, then add the pork, sausages, and veal. Cook the steak last, searing it over the hottest part of the fire so it’s charred on the outside and medium to rare inside.
Let the steak rest for five minutes, then slice up all the meat into thick chunks and serve it arranged on a platter. A sprinkling of olive oil and sea salt adds the final touch.
Pasta Over the Flames
Okay, Italian cooking doesn’t usually involve grilling your spaghetti, but the grill is a great place to prepare pasta sauces.
For best effect, the grill flavor should infuse the sauce. You can do this by roasting tomatoes for your sauce over the grill or by cooking sausages over the flames and then adding them to a rich tomato sauce to simmer.
That’s about the closest thing you’ll get to Italian BBQ sauce in this simplistic style of cooking.
The Grand Finale in Italian Grilling:
Every Italian culinary celebration ends with something sweet. It’s not as complicated as you think to prepare a classic Italian sweet treat over the fire.
Grab some fresh fruits like peaches or pineapple, cut them in half, and place them on the grill. The flames will draw moisture from the fruit, leaving behind a delicious, concentrated flavor that’s intensely sweet and tasty.
If you simply can’t resist taking things further, a scoop of gelato is the perfect complement to this simple dessert.
La Dolce Vita
Italian cooking is one of the healthiest ways there is to prepare food. So, why not skip the conventional meats at your next summer barbecue and try your hand at Italian grilling instead?
You’ll amaze your friends with your culinary skills, and you can skip the guilt associated with overprocessed, over-salted BBQ meats slathered in sauce.
Would you like to discover more win-win ways to deal with everyday tasks? Browse our blog for the best tips and information.
Italian Grilling is a feature post