It's summertime, and the grill is fired up — often! While summer holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and Father's Day are conventional grilling days, the fact is that over half of us grill two or three times a week throughout the summer months. We have good reason, of course. Grilling is fun (think of all those grilling gadgets and seasonings), and — most of us agree — just about everything tastes better hot off the grill.
Great grilling is a bit of an art, but it's not hard or time consuming. With the help of a few spices and spice blends, you can transform a cut of meat or poultry, a filet of fish, a slab of tofu or tempeh, an array of kabobs, veggies, and even fruits into summer delicacies.
Here are some tips for grilling success without a lot of fuss:
- Before or during cooking, shake on ready-made flavor developed especially for the grill, such as our Grilling Seasons. These convenient blends can also be used as dry rubs: simply rub liberally on food before placing on the grill. A couple tablespoons of spice per pound of food is a good starting place.
- Infuse flavor with marinades. All you need is some liquid (flavorful vinegars, sauces or pastes, citrus juices, yogurt, soy sauce, oil, dressings) and seasonings (such as Steak Grilling Seasons or an ethnic blend such as Italian Seasoning). Whisk together your ingredients, pour over your meat, poultry, fish, etc., and marinate for 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator before placing on the grill.
- When grilling fish, don't marinade it for more than 15 minutes, or it will become mushy. And don't turn it too quickly once you place it on the grill; leaving it will allow a crust to form, making it more stable.
- Corn husks seal in nutrients and moisture, so don't de-husk corn on the cob before grilling. To prepare, soak the corn in cold water for about 15 minutes. Remove and shake off excess water. Pull back the husks, remove the silk, and brush with butter or olive oil. Sprinkle on some Citrus 'n Herb or Vegetable Grilling Seasons. Pull the husks back up, tie with cooking string, and place on the grill until done, about 15 minutes.
- Precook hearty vegetables before placing on the grill. Steam or blanch (until just tender) artichokes, beets, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and winter squash, for example. Then season and grill to perfection!
- Serve any grilled veggies with softened butter that you've sprinkled with a ready-made blend such as All-Seasons Salt or your own signature blend (ground chipotle pepper, ground black pepper, and sea salt are a good combo).
- To keep fruit moist, soak in cold water for about half an hour before placing on the grill. Include a bit of lemon juice to keep the fruit from discoloring. To season, also add a sprinkling of spice such as cinnamon powder, cardamom powder or Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- Consider firing up two grills if you're preparing food for vegetarians as well as carnivores. (The vegetarians will appreciate it.)
- For safety's sake, use different plates and utensils for raw and cooked poultry and meats. Also cook your meats and poultry to safe temperatures (beef and pork should reach 160 degrees and poultry should reach 165 degrees).
- To prevent them from burning, soak skewers for making kabobs in water for an hour or so before using.
- Turn food with tongs rather than a fork, to keep juices in the food rather than dripping on the grill.
- Punch up your favorite grilling fare by adding some unexpected spices. Include some Spicy Taco Seasoning when mixing your standard burgers, for example, or shake some Herbes de Provence on your grilled potatoes.
It's so easy to make delicious food at the grill that you really don't need a recipe — just great ingredients! But if you enjoy grilled foods, you'll probably also appreciate these recipes:
- Tarragon Encrusted Salmon can be broiled or grilled. The recipe calls for Steak Seasoning, but try it with Seafood Seasoning, too.
- Grilled Fajita Chicken Skewers can also be broiled or grilled. The recipe savory chicken coated with Greek yogurt and Simply Organic Southwest Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip Mix.
Once you taste the results, you may not want to limit your time at the grill to just a few times a week — or the summertime! (No matter -- you can always use your grilling ingredients indoors, too.)
We all know by now that grilling isn’t just for meats. In fact, grilling enhances the textures and flavors of just about any vegetable. Soft, juicy vegetables like squash, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms are especially well suited for grilling because they absorb oils and seasonings so well, but just about any vegetable can be successfully grilled. Try artichokes, eggplant, garlic, onions, zucchini, tomatoes – or whatever’s in season! Serve grilled vegetables as side dishes or the focus of your meal.
A while back, we decided to turn things over to our Facebook fans for some new ideas on grilling vegetables. We posed this query, and the responses that followed are downright mouth-watering...
- "Garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, and a little bit of water."
- "Marinate peppers in garlic, olive oil, basil & capers... then grill. Zucchini only needs a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Love to skewer asparagus, brush with oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan as it comes off the grill!"
- "Olive oil and Simply Organic Garlic Salt."
- "I use Simply Organic Vegetable Grilling Seasons on everything. I like to brush veggies with coconut oil and then season with your Vegetable Seasoning. Key is doing both sides!"
- "Lots of extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, and chopped shallots, plus whatever dried herbs mix compliments the rest of the meal -- e.g., Italian Herbs, Herbes de Provence, Fines Herbs, etc."
- "Simply Organic Ground Black Pepper truly makes a difference on all the roasted vegetables that I love to grill -- corn, tomatoes, squash, onions."
- "I put olive oil on mushrooms, squash, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and then usually I sprinkle with salt and pepper, but I have now discovered Simply Organic BBQ Ground Up!"
- "My favorite roasted veggies are sweet potatoes, zucchini, and yellow squash, with onions and mushrooms. I like to season them with a little olive oil and a little safflower oil to cut down on the burning, because we like them to be a little bit crunchy on the edges, like fries. I season them with several different varieties of seasoning, depending on the evening."
- "I frequently add fresh lemon juice and lemon pepper, or lemon juice and Tuscan-inspired seasoning, or lemon juice and fresh garlic, or lots of whole cloves."
Our certified organic Vegetable Grilling Seasons is superb with grilled veggies. It’s a versatile combination of onion, garlic, black pepper, sea salt, cumin, bell peppers, coriander, oregano, and cilantro. It’ll add just the right flavor to whatever you put on the grill!