Reed Davis

Let's make use of the fruit, vegetables, burgers and everything else that didn't get eaten before last night's fireworks. 

Max Bonem
July 05, 2017

Happy day after the fourth of July! While you’re now back at work, hopefully for the first time in five days, you undoubtedly have a selection of grilled leftovers from the holiday barbecue you hosted yesterday just waiting for you at home. However, simply reheating grilled produce or meats isn’t always the most exciting, or delicious, way to utilize leftovers from the grill. Instead, we suggest repurposing your leftovers into new dishes that will prevent you from getting burnt out on the same flavors you enjoyed yesterday. Here are five ways to use grilled leftovers from your Independence Day party.

Got burgers? Break them up for chili or Bolognese.

There are two burger situations that occur at most barbecues: Either you vastly underestimate how many people will eat burgers or you buy way too much burger meat and are left with an army of leftover patties. Unfortunately, leftover burgers don’t reheat very well, however, the meat itself can still be flavorful and delicious when used properly. Regardless of the leftover burger meat being cooked or not, you can use it to make a chili con carne or as the protein base of a Bolognese sauce. 

Got grilled fruit? Make a refreshing salsa. 

Fruit fares incredibly well on the grill, especially citrus, stone fruit—think peaches or nectarines—and pineapple. Due to the sugar content found in most fruit, it takes on a great caramelized flavor and allows for very easy grill marks too. One of the best ways to use any leftover grilled fruit, however, is to use it in a fruity salsa. Simply chop it up and add it into your favorite store bought salsa or make your own at home (seriously, salsa is super easy). 

Got grilled chicken or tuna? Turn it into chicken or tuna salad.

One of the great mysteries of the world is why chicken is so often passed over by most cookout attendees. When you have a bounty of protein options, grilled chicken can sometimes look a little boring. But Tuesday’s unwanted meats can easily segue into Wednesday’s delicious chicken salad (this also works great for leftover grilled tuna). Take whatever chicken you have left, remove it from the bone if need be, shred it and make chicken salad for lunch for the next few days. It’s a great way to stretch out the chicken’s yield and make it a little more exciting than simply eating plain leftover chicken.

Got grilled vegetables? Make a sandwich.

Sure, grilled meats are usually the stars of the barbecue show, but the grill’s secret strength is giving vegetables the inherent smokiness that we all crave. In particular, vegetables like peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onions and leeks all do great on the grill. Grilled vegetables reheat pretty well, but since it’s unlikely that you have enough of any one vegetable to make a meal out of. Should you have any leftover veg, we suggest putting them all together into a sandwich, maybe even a panini if you’re feeling crazy. Simple, delicious and possibly a little lighter than the mass of meats you enjoyed yesterday.

Got steak or salmon? Top your favorite salad with it.

We all know that most grilled meats don’t reheat so well, but if there are two in particular that you definitely don’t want to cook again the next day, it’s steak and salmon. Both of them can become severely overcooked very easily and it’s best to simply let the leftover steak or salmon come to room temperature and use it to top a salad. Let’s be honest, you probably didn’t eat a lot of greens yesterday anyway, let this be your excuse to double down on salad for the next few days.