Summer Grilling Tips

Memorial Day marks the official beginning of backyard cook-out season – time to break out the grill! Here are some simple tips and hints to make this summer's grilling the best ever!

Gas or Charcoal?

Each method has its benefits. The temperature is certainly easier to control on a gas grill, but many consider charcoal to impart a better flavor. Regardless of which heat source you use, always apply a light coating of olive oil or cooking oil to the grilling rack before you place meat on it to prevent the meat from sticking.

Charcoal Grilling: Direct vs. Indirect Heat

Most meats will require a combination of direct and indirect heat in order to completely cook.

Direct grilling means that the food is placed on the grill directly over the charcoal. Most of the time, meats are placed over the coals first until the outside is cooked with the proper amount of grill marks on each side. After the meat is properly seared, it is moved away from the coals (indirect heat) and the lid is closed until the meat is almost done. Remember, meat will continue to cook for a short time after it is removed from the grill. Always let meat sit for 5 minutes or so after removing it from the grill to allow the juices to redistribute evenly. Cutting into a steak immediately will drain excess juice and result in dry meat!

Boneless chicken thighs are a great choice for beginner grillers because it is hard to overcook them and if you do burn a couple, it won't be a total disaster because chicken thighs are one of the cheaper cuts of meat! Here is an easy recipe for Grilled Chicken Thighs that will have your family fighting over the leftovers.

Avoid Flare-Ups

As meats cook, melted fat will drip onto the coals and ignite, causing flare-ups. The higher the fat content of the meat (such as chicken thighs, higher fat hamburger, sausage or marbled steaks) the more likely the flare-ups. You can minimize flare-ups by using leaner cuts of meat, trimming excess fat and keeping the lid closed as much as possible to limit the oxygen feeding the fire.

Expand Beyond Burgers and Steaks

Fish is also very easy to cook on the grill. More delicate fish can be grilled in a grilling basket (made for that purpose) or placed on greased aluminum foil (It helps to cut small holes in the foil to allow juices to drain through). Fish with a denser, meatier texture like swordfish fillets or fish with skin still on one side like salmon can be placed directly on the grill rack.

Grilling dinner on the back patio can keep your kitchen cooler, save electricity and lower your utility bill, plus grilling provides your family with healthier, flavorful options to mix up drab dinner routines. Using Tastefully Simple’s grilling recipes will draw your family back to the dinner table! Enjoy!
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