BBQ Besties!

If you listen closely, you’ll hear it…the BBQ grill calling your name. It’s that time again, and we see you die-hard barbequers out there planning your summer cookouts.

So with these dreams in mind, let’s talk about flavor (in terms of herbs and seasonings). After all, meat is really just meat until you start dressing it up in the finest herbs and seasonings. Every grilling connoisseur knows this and typically spends some time searching out seasoning blends in the hopes of finding the perfect flavor compositions.

Herbs and seasonings are the gateway to flavor, for sure. But some are better than others, and you avid Cook’n cooks know the “best” doesn’t come from a bottle. Fresh plants—THAT’S where the best-tasting herbs and seasonings come from! Simply put, they take your grilling to the next level.

Thus the question: Have you familiarized yourself with the fresh versions of common BBQ herbs? They are powerful! Powerful in flavor, yes. But also powerful in triggering the senses, due to their marvelous scents. Fresh herbs should not only be used for taste, but for a full experience of the senses.

If you are interested in using more fresh herbs on the grill, here are recommendations from TRUE LEAF Market. These folks raise garden seeds for gardeners world-wide spend lots of time experimentally cooking with what they grow. The following list gives their suggestions for the very best grilling herbs. They’ll likely become your BBQ besties!

THYME. This herb rounds out the flavors well and can add a lemony taste depending on the variety of thyme used.

PARSLEY. It’s so much more than a garnish or breath-freshener. It introduces bright and fresh flavor when added near the end of cooking.

BASIL. A powerful flavor contributor, basil is also easy to work with—it can be added at any point of the cooking process. And basil comes in several different flavors, depending on the variety. Most of us use sweet basil, but the other types offer some nice variety.

ROSEMARY. This lovely herb does double duty. It’s a balancer, in that it goes best with heavy or greasy flavors. And it works well with tough cuts of meat—it’s a natural tenderizer.

SAGE. Don’t you appreciate its fragrant aroma? And then there’s how it adds a warm, cozy taste.

OREGANO. Poultry wouldn’t be as inviting without oregano (say many professional chefs). Its mild flavor is perfect for basting chicken and turkey.

MARJORAM. It’s a pretty plant that accomplishes more than one thing when used. First, its citrus and piney flavor is ideal when combined with oil and brushed on during cooking. It’s also terrific when used as a rub. Lastly, as already mentioned, marjoram is pretty, so it makes a lovely topper when serving your finished product.

In closing, I’ll add my 2¢: Beyond the flavor factor, fresh herbs are always superior to dried, because of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and trace elements they add. A flavor punch and a health boost—sound reasons they are the grillers’ BBQ besties!


    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author!

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