Grilling Made Easy
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 Seasonings. 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 Seasoning 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 Seasoning. 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 F, and poultry should reach 165 degrees F).
- 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:
Italian Steak Sandwiches are a great way to use up leftover ribeyes.
Tarragon Encrusted Salmon can be broiled or grilled. The recipe calls for Steak Seasoning, but try it with Seafood Seasoning, too.
Shrimp Skewers can also be broiled or grilled. The recipe combines asparagus, red pepper and large shrimp, dusted in Sweet Basil Pesto 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.)
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