Tis the season for summer. Which means time for warmer weather, fresh farmers market ingredients and meals savored outside. And from picnics to barbecues to beach outings, firing up the grill becomes a very common cooking technique celebrated in this season.
Whether you consider yourself a grilling novice with your first electric or consider yourself an experienced expert who’s aced the charcoal, electric, gas and portable varieties, grilling as a cooking method can be a fun outdoor activity that is a hallmark of summertime.
Whatever your type of grill you have, you’ve got access to a unique cooking method that can involve everything from vegetables to meats to fruit. While each food group has its own techniques and tricks for grilling perfection, becoming a grill master yourself can be a helpful skill to learn that can really impress your friends and family and amp up your regular cooking routines.
And when looking for ingredients to add into the mix to perfect your grilling practices, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar can transform the experience even more.
To help you get started in growing in your grilling mastery, here we share five tips and tricks you can use to amp up your cooking skills the next time you fire up the grill.
If you don’t have a grill yet and are on the hunt for the right one for you, do some research before deciding which type works best for you and your living situation and cooking needs.
Gas grills tend to be the most common grill type and come in a variety of sizes to meet your cooking capacities. You’ll need to keep it stocked with a propane tank and have a lighter nearby to fire it up. Charcoal grills give you an added smokey flavor that is often celebrated with grilled cuisines. This type tends to be somewhat less expensive than gas grills but is much more challenging to control the temperature. Electric grills are great for those who live in areas where charcoal or gas grills aren’t allowed or don’t want to deal with keeping propane tanks and charcoal. A portable grill is ideal for those camping trips and outdoor barbecues where other types aren’t really options. As you grow your grilling skills, be sure you have a grill that meets your needs and suits your lifestyle.
When you’re ready to add your dish to the grill, be sure you heat up the grill first. Just like a saute pan should most often be heated up before putting your food in, so should your grill be sizzling before adding your meat, veggies or fruit. Having a hot grill ensures a proper cooking process, helps kill bacteria and sears food to perfection. This is particularly important for meat that must reach a certain temperature for safety reasons.
If you keep your grill outside, it’s easy for dirt and other debris to accumulate on the grill surface. Keep that out of your food and clean your grill with a wire brush after preheating and before putting your food on the surface. Once you’re done cooking, use the brush again after removing the food from the grill to prevent food residue to stick on for next use.
When grilling smaller ingredients like sliced potatoes, carrots, asparagus spears, diced peppers or onions and more, use a grill basket to keep your ingredients from falling through the grilling grates. A grill basket makes it easier to keep those small foods together, also allowing you to drizzle your favorite EVOO on them prior to cooking to prevent sticking to the pan and to enhance the flavor.
Once you have the meat, veggies, fruit or other ingredients you want to put on your grill, you’ll also want to prep those ingredients for optimal cooking. When it comes to grilling meat, marinating your protein before grilling prevents it from sticking to the grill and enhances the overall flavor. Your easiest marinade? Let your meat soak in the flavors of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cater your flavors to the type of protein and what kind of cuisine you’re serving up. Just stick your meat in a ziplock bag and add in your balsamic and oil, and any other seasonings and flavors you want to add in.
When it comes to marinades, your possibilities are endless. Some of our favorites include Garlic Oil and Peach Balsamic with chicken. Try a “drunken” marinade by combining dark beer, Maple Balsamic and Espresso Bean Balsamic with chicken. Amp up your salmon’s flavor with Maple and Sicilian Lemon Balsamic with a cedar plank on the grill. Add some heat to your pork with Aji Verde Olive Oil. Get creative and try your own marinade combination with your favorites.
Summertime is a great time to roll out the grill and give your inside oven and stovetop a rest. Spend time outside on the patio, deck or just on a block of concrete in the outdoors and celebrate this seasonal cooking method. With practice and a desire to learn, you can enhance your grilling experience and talent in no time.
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