There’s nothing quite like cooking on the grill in the summer. Whether your summer staple is barbecue chicken, a nice juicy steak, or mouthwatering kabobs, cooking on the grill offers an easy way to prepare a tasty meal for friends and family. We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your grill this season -- including a key way to incorporate olive oil into your menu!
Know Your Grill
There are two types of grills: charcoal and gas grills. Depending on what your grilling goal is -- flavor versus convenience -- you can cook up a with one of these:
- Provides a distinctive flavor; sometimes smoky flavor
- Uses natural igniting ingredients like wood chips or coals
- Can be more difficult to ignite and maintain a level heat temperature
- Ignites easily and maintains an even temperature from start to finish
- Primarily uses liquid propane gas
- Are typically more expensive than a charcoal grill
- As the old saying goes: don’t play with fire -- and grills have plenty of it! It’s important to remember these key tips to keep your cookout safe:
- Always use your gas or charcoal grill outdoors, ideally 10 feet away from your home
- Place your grill away from your home, deck, and out from under leaves or branches
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area
- Don’t overload your grill with food, especially fatty meats
- Clean your grill to remove grease or fat buildup
- Remember to clean your grill, including the rack, before each use
- Never leave your grill unattended
- Keep a bottle of water or fire extinguisher handy
Now that we’ve gone over the basics; let’s dig into the delicacies. While meat is king when it comes to the grill, we’re going to focus on perhaps the less common but equally as delicious grill option: the vegetable!
Veggie Grilling 101
- Always place veggies like eggplant, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, summer squash and tomatoes raw on the grill.
- Use a grilling basket to save grilling space while preventing any fallen veggies
- While technically not a veggie, mushrooms are a grill go-to. Serving vegetarians? Portabellas are a great burger substitute, and button mushrooms go great with kabobs.
- Cook all vegetables directly over moderately hot coals or use the indirect heat method.
For Optimal Flavor
- Don't peel vegetables before grilling — you'll get more nutrients and a smokier flavor
- Pre-cook veggies to shorten grilling time and ensure the inside and outside cook evenly (this works for artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and winter squash)
- Grill until completely tender and lightly browned
Don’t Forget the Olive Oil!
What would our grilling guide be without mention of olive oil? Since olive oil has a low burning temperature, some experts advise when grilling to use an oil with a higher burning temperature like vegetable or canola oil. That doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate olive oil into your grilling recipes though. Many great recipes use olive oil as an ingredient for pre-grill rubs on meats, fish, and poultry.
Looking for some grilling inspiraiton? Try some of our favorites: