It's hard to believe July is already here... and celebration planning for the July 4th holiday are underway. Have you got any fun plans to celebrate during the long weekend ahead?! We're taking it nice and easy with some much needed rest and relaxation - at least that's my plan. After the crazy whirlwind of the past weekend, I need a full weekend of no plans and obligations! If there is one thing I am looking forward to this holiday weekend, it's doing a majority of the cooking on the grill. I'm sure I'm not alone and many folks will look to their grill to get their delicious holiday spread prepared.
In preparation for grilling season and the Fourth of July, Taste of Home—America’s largest cooking magazine—has compiled 10 easy grilling tips.
1. Clean the grill entirely—take out the grill grate, the burners and the grease trap. Check your manufacturer’s directions for the best way to do this.
2. Clean the grill grates to keep food from sticking. If you have a stainless steel or cast iron grate, preheat the grill and simply scrape with a wire brush. You can also place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the grate, turn the grill to medium, and close the lid. After 5 minutes, anything on the grate will burn off or scrape off easily with a wire brush.
3. When heating up your grill, leave the vents open; this actually creates higher temperatures because fire needs oxygen to burn. Be sure to close up the vents for actual grilling,
4. Know how hot your grill is. To determine the approximate temperature of your grill, carefully place your hand, palm side down, five inches above the grate and count the seconds you can comfortably hold your hand there.-- 2 or less: high (at least 450°)
-- 3-4: medium-high (400°)
-- 5-6: medium (350°)
-- 7-8: medium-low (300°)
5. Use tongs instead of a fork to turn foods. When grilling meat is punctured, the escaped juices from the meat could cause a flare-up (and you don’t want your hand three inches away when that happens!).
6. Resist the urge to press down on burgers while they’re grilling. By not pressing down on the burgers, you’ll keep all the juices inside.
7. If you’re grilling over charcoal, keep a spray bottle with water handy. A squirt or two directly on the coals should tame any flame.
8. Be food safe! Four smart ways to avoid cross contamination from raw to cooked food when grilling:-- Be sure to have a clean serving platter for cooked food at-the-ready—don’t use the one you used for carrying raw food out to the grill. -- Discard used marinade or always bring to a full rolling boil for at least one minute before using it to baste or as a sauce. -- Baste food only after it has been flipped once; this way if you’re basting with something like a sweet BBQ sauce, it won’t burn. -- Always marinate raw meat, poultry and seafood separately from produce.
9. Be sure to let meat and fish develop a seared crust before you try to flip them. Otherwise, you risk the food sticking to the grill and falling apart.
10. Try using unexpected ingredients—a quick turn on the grill gives items like leafy romaine hearts, pineapple slices, halved fresh peaches and avocados a great smoky flavor!
To get you thinking about what to put on your grill, here are 10 grilled recipes that would make for a delicious Fourth of July celebration! [Click on the titles below for the recipes!]