Grilling is unanimous with summer. As much as I love grilling with all of my heart, each summer I tend to get fatigued from the same burgers and hot dogs. I’m always thinking of ways to switch things up and try something new. Below are some tips to give you some variety to your cookouts as well as tips to make sure your grilling experience is a success. Also check out our barbecue recipe round up here!

 

Ways to Fire Up Your Grilling

 

Start with a Clean Surface

This may seem like a no-brainer to some, but a clean grill is a happy grill. Cleaning the grill surface before cooking helps remove excess dirt and leftover burnt food particles from previous use. A sturdy grill brush is a great investment to keep your grill clean. Non-stick cooking spray is also a good idea to help prevent sticking, but use caution with open flame. Also use handy aluminum foil to make foil packets which can prevent burning quick cooking items, such as fish and squash.

 

Marinate Your Meats

Marinating your proteins at least 30 minutes prior to grilling will increase the flavor of your chicken, beef, fish, and even tofu. Try making your own marinade at home instead of bottled, which can have high amounts of sodium and sugar. We recommend our Grilled Balsamic Chicken and our Salad Dressing Trio can also be used as marinades.

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Two Words: Grilled Veggies

The usual kebab veggies, such as peppers, onions, and potatoes, are great on the grill, but did you know romaine lettuce can also be grilled? That’s right, even leafy veggies get that nice charred taste from the grill. Even fruit, like pineapple or watermelon, get amazing flavor from some heat. Speaking of trying new foods on the grill, even sandwiches can be grilled! Try our Roasted Red Pepper Veggie Panini. Also check out our List of Unique Healthy Burger Alternatives!

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The Right Amount of Heat

It is easy and convenient to throw everything on the grill, but different foods require different amounts of heat. If you’re trying out grilled romaine for the first time, it will do better in indirect heat. Thick meats also do better in indirect heat to make sure it is cooked thoroughly and to prevent the outside from burning.

7 Unique Healthy Burger Alternatives: RD Recipe Round-Up

 

Food Safety

It can be easy to forget about food safety when you’re having a good time at a barbecue, but food-borne illness can easily happen if safety is not used. Below are some simple reminders of good food safety practices to keep the fun going:

  • Wash all produce before cutting. Also use separate cutting boards for meats and produce
  • Keep raw meats away from ready to eat foods.
  • Make sure you use a different, clean plate when transferring raw meats on and off the grill
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Foods like potato salad and other dairy containing foods should be kept on ice while out of the fridge. Warm foods should be kept in a warming dish or refrigerated after two hours.

 

Click here for more outdoor food safety tips from the FDA.

 

Happy Grilling Everyone!