Sizzling Summer Treat: Herbs on the Grill

Pluck herbs from your garden and toss them on the barbie for an uncommon grilling experience.

grilling herbs

Lavender Shrimp

Photo By Dawna Edwards

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There’s no better way to grasp that last straw of summer than by firing up the grill. There’s also no better way to savor the season’s herbs. Barbecuing with fresh herbs is easy if you know a few basic rules. Not only does it add a whole new dimension to open-flame cooking, it offers yet another way to enjoy your harvest.

The methods for grilling with herbs are as varied as the plants themselves. Toss them in marinades, thread them through skewers or pop them in foil packets. For a smoky flavor, add whole bunches of herbs, such as sage or rosemary, to hot coals. Soak them in water for a few minutes and after the flames have died down, lay damp herbs across the coals. Replace the rack, cover the meat and you’ll soon be enjoying bold, uncommon flavor.

To further infuse food with flavor, lay fresh herbs directly on the grate and place the meat on top of them. Woody herbs hold up especially well on the grill. Try thyme, lemon verbena or tarragon. Snip off a few sprigs, gently squeeze the leaves to release their flavor, and layer over chicken, fish or pork chops. Discard the sprigs before serving.

Softer herbs, like sage, mint, oregano and lemon balm, work better in a foil packet or marinade. For foil packets, I snip sprigs of whole herbs, gently rinse and dry them, then place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Then I add meat or vegetables or both, olive oil or butter and seal the ends tight before grilling.

Barbra Annino has been creating herbal recipes for more than a decade. She writes from her home in Galena, Illinois, where she and her husband are proprietors of the Huckleberry Inn. Visit her at 

What Goes with What?

Not sure which herbs pair with your favorite foods?
Refer to this chart for some hints.


Chicken, Pork, Potatoes


Pork, Duck, Sausage


Steak, Egg Dishes, Roasts


Tomatoes, Chicken, Sandwiches


Pasta, Pizza, Meat Loaf


Peppers, Steak, Chicken


Tuna, Zucchini, Pasta Salad


Lamb, Ice Cream, Tea


Chili, Stews, Roast


Turkey, Chicken, Eggs


Potatoes, Soups, Fish


Sausage, Cookies, Apples

Lemon balm

Lobster, Dressings, Berries


Potatoes, Burgers, Fish


Salmon, Dips, Potatoes