One of my favorite things about summer is grilling out. Try my “go to” grilling tips the next time you BBQ:
1. Get equipped. Get tongs, mitts, non-stick spray, a meat thermometer, spatula, fork, vegetable basket and basting brush. Also, make sure you have a wire brush and aluminum foil on hand to keep things clean.
2. Don’t forget the wooden skewers. They’re perfect for kabobs. Soak the skewers in water for 20 to 30 minutes before putting the food on them — it will prevent them from charring when they’re on the grill. And it’s always a good idea to separate items that cook quickly from those that take longer to cook.
3. Use foil. It allows the flavors of the food to blend without anything dripping into the grill, and it keeps food extra moist. Take a piece of heavy-duty foil and create a packet for your food. Foil is also great for grilling mushrooms, onions, peppers and other small vegetables. Another favorite is sliced potatoes wrapped with butter, fresh garlic, onion and seasoning. Mmmm!!!
4. Add flavored smoke. Hickory, mesquite, oak and other types of wood chunks or chips can add some zest to the food you’re cooking. Note: Never use softwoods like pine, cedar or spruce, as they produce resins.
5. Keep it safe. Always keep raw and undercooked meat, which may contain harmful bacteria, separate from cooked food. Also, never reuse platters or utensils that previously held raw meat. When grilling, make sure you have a clean serving tray, plates and utensils. Always use a meat thermometer to make sure food is cooked thoroughly. As an added courtesy, ask your guests how they like their meat done so you can time it accordingly.
6. Keep it clean. Proper cleanup is essential if you want to continue using your grill for years to come. To clean a gas grill, first turn it on high for 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed. Turn it off and let it cool slightly before using a wire brush to loosen the residue. To clean a charcoal grill, first make sure it’s completely cool. Remove the grates and the old ashes, either by emptying the ash catcher or using a garden trowel to scrape them out. Clean the grill grates with an oven cleaner, wiping off the cleaner with paper towels after the grease is loosened.
For more grilling tips, how tos, recipes and pix, visit the Food Network online.