The grill is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal for quick weeknight dinners. It cooks food quickly and leaves you with no extra pans to clean after dinner (just a swipe of a clean cloth to clean the grates).
Here's my secret to even easier weeknight grilling: I prepare a few things on the weekend (think: marinades for meats, sauces for vegetables) and then come home ready to grill any night of the week. Here are six things to prep on the weekend for weeknight grilling.
1. Marinate meats and vegetables.
Try this right when you get home from the grocery store — divide a package of chicken pieces or pork tenderloins and give each portion its own marinade (ditto for tofu or hearty vegetables like cabbage or cauliflower). Come Tuesday night, all you have to do is put those chicken breasts on the grill and they will be oh-so-juicy from your Sunday night marinade.
Get a few ideas: 5 Freezer Marinades for Chicken or Pork
2. Make a few sauces.
If there is a secret to better weeknight BBQ (or even just weeknight dinner in general) it is sauce! Sure, BBQ sauce is a must, but what about a creamy yogurt sauce that makes grilled vegetables sing or a quick vinaigrette to finish off kebabs too?
3. Thread kebabs (and freeze them).
My kids are kebab-obsessed, but I wouldn't waste a precious moment of weeknight time with them threading meat and vegetables onto skewers. Instead, I prepare a bunch on Sunday and either marinate them (see #1 again) or freeze them. Yes, you can freeze kebabs for future grill sessions — and you don't even have the thaw them before cooking!
- For the meat-lovers: How To Make and Freeze Kebabs for the Grill
- For the veggie-lovers: Bryant Terry's Grilled Vegetable and Tofu Kebabs
4. Prep all the vegetables.
Recently I started pressure-steaming about a pound of fingerling potatoes in my Instant Pot during Sunday's meal prep and then throwing them on the grill with a little olive oil and garlic midweek — the result is crispy, charred potatoes that are tender throughout. You can shuck corn, slice peppers or onions, or even par-cook potatoes or broccoli for faster grill cooking.
Get smarter about it: 5 Tips for Grilling the Best Vegetables Ever
5. Make some ready-to-grill dinner packets.
This is one of my favorite dinner techniques for those spring and summer days when everyone is coming home and needing to eat at different times. Prepare some packets on Sunday and then on Wednesday night heat up the grill and cook as many or as few as you need at a time. When other diners stagger home, put a few more on the grill and feed them a hot meal cooked just for them. Bonus for you is that this staggered meal strategy has virtually no cleanup.
6. Mix up pizza dough for the grill.
This summer I really want to master pizza on the grill, but I often forget to make the dough early enough on Friday mornings to be ready for dinner. If I was really clever I'd take my own advice and start prepping pizza dough on Sunday so Pizza Friday can be Grilled Pizza Friday.
Get the recipe: How To Make the Best Grilled Pizza