What’s great about grilling on your road trip is that you’re not limited to cold sandwiches and salads, making it even more likely you’ll take advantage of the beautiful parks and rest areas along your route to stop for a meal. These road trip recipes will help you kick it up a notch from the usual hotdog-hamburger-steak routine and add some variety to your meals.
I love the smell of charcoal and that charcoal-grilled taste, but it’s more likely you’ll have a gas grill as it’s more practical for your road trip. Charcoal is messy and cumbersome and takes too long to cool down after you’ve grilled. Make sure to pack enough gas for your grill as it’s not always easy to find on the road.
Almost all of these recipes will require that you take a few minutes in the morning to prepare a marinade. Remember to pack any tools you’ll need. Make sure you have enough space in your cooler to put the marinating meat. I always put it on the bottom of the cooler in a tightly sealed container to keep it from being in the way whenever I’m trying to get something out of the cooler all day.
If you’re planning on making these things more than two days into your trip, I recommend you pick up fresh meat at grocery stores along the way rather than trying to keep it cool that long. Once you have the meat, be careful about keeping your cooler cold enough.
Change out the ice every morning and evening and if there is a refrigerator available at your accommodations, move the meat there overnight before putting back in your cooler for the day. Also, once you’ve used a plastic container to marinate, do not reuse for something else unless you can run it through a dishwasher (on a hot cycle to sterilize). The plastic will be contaminated until you do that.
Road Trip Recipe: Beef Kebabs
3 lbs lean beef cubes (2 inches)
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
20 cherry tomatoes
2 green peppers, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
White button mushroom caps
1 Vidalia onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
Mix 1 cup of the olive oil plus the lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a large plastic bowl-shaped Tupperware-type container. Add meat cubes and toss well. Put in your cooler for the day, taking container out to shake (mix) occasionally to ensure all the meat gets marinated.
At dinner time, take the meat out of the marinade and string on steel skewers, alternating with the vegetables and packing tightly. Leave about two inches of space at the handle.
Light the grill and set it at medium-high. Brush the kebabs with the remaining ¼ cup of oil, concentrating on the vegetables. Arrange the skewers across the grill and turn often, brushing with the marinade to keep meat and vegetables from drying out. Cook kebabs for 9-14 minutes. Make a small cut in one of the beef cubes to check if it’s cooked to your taste. Remove immediately from heat to stop cooking.
I serve these kebabs with potato salad and a green salad. Garlic bread is also great with this – heat it up wrapped in tin foil on the outside edge of your grill and it will be nice and warm for your meal.
Road Trip Recipe: Grilled Garlic Shrimp
This is delicious –, especially on a hot summer day! Make sure to buy your shrimp that morning to ensure freshness. You will need skewers for this recipe.
2 lbs large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Mix olive oil, garlic, wine, salt, pepper, and parsley in a plastic Tupperware-type container. Add shrimp and toss well. Seal and put in your cooler for at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours.
Skewer shrimp and space well to allow heat to get to all parts of the shrimp. Light grill and set at medium heat. Place skewers on grill and cooks 5-7 minutes according to the size of the shrimp. The smaller the shrimp, the faster it will cook. Turn once and brush with marinade. The best way to tell if it’s done is that the shrimp are completely pink with no gray remaining. Don’t wait too long, though – overcooked shrimp is dry and rubbery.
This recipe is great with the grilled zucchini recipe in my no-cooler recipes and a rice salad. You can also make this at home before you go and serve it cold – it’s delicious both ways.
Road Trip Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken
This is a fantastic recipe and one you’ll make even when you’re not on the road. The best thing is that you make the rub before you leave for your trip and just marinate the chicken on the road – so you don’t have to bring any tools!
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 bunch scallions, cut into ½ inch pieces
Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeded
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup of orange juice
12 chicken thighs and drumsticks
Put everything except the chicken in a food processor and puree. You can also use a blender set to puree. Keep the marinade/rub in a tightly sealed container in your cooler until 24 hours before you want to make the chicken (the chicken will need to marinate for a while). This marinade will keep for seven days.
Mix chicken and the marinade/rub together in a large sealable container and make sure that all chicken is thoroughly covered with the rub. Put in a cooler for at least 24 hours.
Light grill and set on medium-high. Grill chicken for 12-15 minutes. Pierce chicken piece to see if done – clear juice running out indicates that the meat is cooked. I always cut the meat a little to check.
This is great with coleslaw and sweet potato chips.
Road Trip Recipe: Bar-B-Q Pork Burgers
This recipe incorporates one of my favorite store-bought sauces: Bone-Suckin’ Sauce! I like it hot, but if you don’t like spicy food, they also have a regular version. Most grocery stores carry it.
1 lb of ground pork
1 bottle of Bone Suckin’ Sauce
Small container ready-made coleslaw from a deli
4 Kaiser buns – sliced in half for sandwiches
When you’re ready to eat, mix pork with ½ bottle of the Bone Suckin’ Sauce in a metal bowl using your hands. You’ll want to have facilities nearby so that you can wash your hands thoroughly after doing this – and no, you can’t mix it thoroughly without using your hands.
Form patties from the flavored meat and brush the tops with more Bone Suckin’ Sauce. Light grill and set at medium-high heat.
Put pork burgers on the grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side, brushing with more of the sauce when you flip them. If you like your buns toasted, place them on the outside edge of your grill to toast.
Assemble pork burgers on buns topped with coleslaw and the other half of the bun. To make it a perfect barbeque, serve this with potato salad, pickles, and a three-bean salad.