Suppose that tonight’s dinner menu called for grilled pork chops, new potatoes, and baby carrots. You could fire up the grill, season the chops with a nice dry rub, and bake the vegetables on a sheet pan in the oven. However, you might spend all your time running between the grill and kitchen to cook everything. Well, there’s a better way. Try packaging those vegetables in aluminum foil and placing them right on the grill. These grilling packets are simple to prepare and easy to cook.
To prepare packets, take a sheet of heavy aluminum foil large enough to fold over the food you plan to put inside. Place food in the center and fold up the ends. Make a double fold where the ends meet. Then fold up the sides to form an airtight packet. There should be enough room inside for the juices and heat to circulate. The idea here is that the food inside the packet will cook in its juices.
Because of how packets cook, it’s essential that there is enough liquid inside to create the steam for cooking the food. Water, wine, fruit juices, vinegar all work to create this steam. Choosing something flavorful is also a key component to packet cooking. Add dry spices to the packet, making sure you compensate with more liquid to keep it from drying out. When the packet has cooked the steam inside will be very hot, so open carefully one end or puncture the packet with a fork before removing the contents. Remember that steam can be considerably hotter than boiling water so it can burn you.
Once on the grill, keep a close eye on the packets. The direct heat of a burner is more than enough to burn food quickly, and since you can’t see inside, it’s best to be very careful. Packets need to be turned regularly and watched often. Charring on the outside is a good indicator of food burning inside. So, keep packets away from high direct heat. Upper racks and cooler areas of the grill are best. Take extra precautions with the way packets are constructed. Try layering sliced onions above and below foods to create a barrier.
Packets are perfect for more than just side dishes. Full meals can be put together, allowing for easy preparation and flavor blending. Try packing fish fillets, onions, lemon slices, and vegetables along with herbs and spices to make an individual meal. You can even serve them right on a plate to open and enjoy. Because of the sealed environment, you won’t have to worry as much about foods drying out, but be careful not to puncture the packets while they are cooking.