Community center

Get fired up for cookout season

Memorial Day is the undisputed kickoff of summer. That means a whole season of flame-broiled fun starts now. Lots of our Neighborhoods have an apartment grill (or few) centrally located and easy to use. You can also reserve one if you know you’re planning a cookout and don’t want to be without. Just be sure you clean up after yourself like a good Neighbor, and leave the grill ready for the next grill master. But it doesn’t have to be all blah burgers and dogs. This season, we’re keeping our eyes on what’s hot on the grill, trend-wise. As you’ll see, there’s plenty of barbecue tips get fired up about.

Start your day right: Grilling doesn’t just have to be for dinners or lunch. Grilled eggs don’t need any special equipment other than foil or maybe a muffin tin. They’re also good for indoor grilling, since you can pop them in the oven for the same effect. Another indoor grilling breakfast is French toast that you can prep right on your griddle in your kitchen, or take out for a quick sear on barbecue grates.

Veggies grill, too: You can love barbecue even if you don’t do meat. Luckily, there are more interesting ways to enjoy greens on the grill besides predictable veggie burgers. Try romaine spears, portabella caps filled with cheesy spinach or red peppers stuffed with goat cheese.

Welcome the unexpected: Here’s a barbecue tip will give you permission to take more liberties with your apartment grill. We hadn’t heard of grilled spaghetti, but it turns out you can do that. You’ll need a grill grate to keep it all from spilling out, but it’s not as hard as it seems, and you’ll get points for creativity.

Spice it up: Everything was sriracha-infused for a while, remember? While that’s not quite played out yet, other spices are edging their way onto the grill, too. Try gochujang, a Korean chili paste that brings heat without being oppressive about it. Harissa, a Tunisian chili sauce, is popping up in grilled favorites, too.

A good char won’t scar your dish: Here’s some great news if your grill skills are still developing. Flavors that incorporate char, sear or burned parts are popular. You can do those things on purpose now and be right on trend. People are deliberately charring everything from tomatoes (to make salsa or soup) and corn (husks and all) to cocktails.

Finishing touches: Grilled desserts can range from simple s’mores (wrap up the ingredients in foil and get it all gooey on the grill), to a little more fancy. With peach season coming, try these grilled peaches and cream. The peaches get a nice caramelized coat, and you’ll finish on a sweet note.