One of the greatest things that we've learned from you, Traeger Nation, is that there isn't much you can't do on your Traeger! And we do happen to have some lemons, so why not make some lemonade? There is no better drink to have in hand when the sun is bearing down, turning you into a toasted Pop Tart than a tall glass of ice-cold, freshly-squeezed grilled lemonade. All you need is a full pitcher, a hammock and a cool breeze.
GRILLED STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Recommended Pellets: Apple or Cherry
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
1 cup turbinado sugar (granulated sugar will work too)
16 lemons, halved
1 cup sugar, plus more as needed
1/2 cup honey
2 springs of mint (or more)
5 cups water, divided
1 cup of bourbon (optional)
Fresh strawberry slices, lemon slices and mint leaves for garnish (if you want some extra flair)
Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fire is established. Preheat to 400 degrees F with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Toss the sliced strawberries with 1/2 cup of the turbinado sugar and place them in a foil-lined ovenproof pan in one even layer.
Roast them for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberries soften and start to release their juices. Remove and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, dip the lemon halves (cut-side down) in the other 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar.
Mix together any remaining turbinado sugar plus the granulated sugar in an oven-proof dish along with the honey, 2 cups of water and the sprigs of mint. (We're making a simple syrup, which has equal proportions of sugar and water.)
Place lemons on the Traeger, cut-side down, and cook until they're soft and start browning, about 5 to 10 minutes. Also place the sugar/honey/mint pan on the grill and let it heat up until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Remove from grill and allow the lemons and the simple syrup to cool. (Discard the mint leaves.)
Grab a pitcher and squeeze in the lemons through a sieve to catch all of the seeds and pulp. You don't even need any gadgets because the grilled lemons are so easy to juice.
Place the cooled strawberries in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree until smooth.
Pour the strawberries into the lemonade pitcher. (If you don't want the seeds or pulp, just strain them.)
Add in the simple syrup and 3 additional cups of cold water and stir to combine. If it's been one of those days, add in the bourbon.
Taste the lemonade and add more sugar and water as needed. Some people like a good pucker, and the size of your lemons can really alter the sour-sweet balance, so taste it for yourself before you get carried away. (I ended up adding in an extra 3 cups of water and an additional 3 1/2 cups of turbinado sugar. I like it sweet, just like my mama made it.) Just as a guideline, the majority of folks like an equal balance of water, sugar and lemon juice.
Add in some ice and garnish with lemon and strawberry slices and a few mint leaves. Sit back and sip it slowly.