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barbecue grilling tips

8 Barbecue Grilling Tips to Start Your Summer Off Right

by Cheryl Campbell

Here are some barbecue and grilling tips to get you ready for the upcoming BBQ season. I love the enticing smells that drift in on a breeze from neighbors that are cooking dinner outdoors. The mix of smokey bbq aromas definitely signal its arrival for me.

Most of us that love to cook outdoors and spend time preparing meals on the grill know that there is a difference between Barbecuing and grilling. Although they seem familiar in ways, they do have their differences.

Traditional barbecuing is done over a charcoal or wood fire and involve long cooking times with low heat. It’s the ideal method for cooking meats that are tougher and much thicker than your normal steak. Cuts of meat perfect for barbecue examples are big racks of pork ribs and beef brisket. The meats become tender and improve in texture during the slow cooking process because the collagen in it begins to breakdown and ‘melts’ into a rich liquid gelatin that has a wonderful rich flavor.

Grilling on the other hand, is done over a gas flame or hot coals, A high temperature is maintained long enough to sear or caramelize the food, sealing in the juices and intensifying the flavor. The high temps are maintained for various lengths of time depending on the items grilled. Tender cuts of meat are preferred when grilling because of the shorter cooking times.  You can also grill a variety of vegetables and fruits. You should try to stay  When grilling you should try to stay close by – they do require your attention so that the food does not get overcooked.

8 Barbecue & Grilling Tips to Start Your Summer Off Right

Here are some tips and tricks which you can do to make outdoor cooking fun for the whole family. Let’s start with a few to make outdoor cooking fun for your kids:

  • Young kids will enjoy food a lot more if you make it fun! Use cookie cutters to shape the food into interesting shapes and sizes. Kids will adore animal or letter shapes. You can also let your children choose which healthy toppings they can put on top to ‘decorate’ their food.
  • Are your kids bored with everyday suppers? Kids love surprises so take some of their favorite foods and “wrap” them up into little surprise packages for them to open and enjoy. This is super easy to do – just lightly oil or butter sheets of tinfoil and place small cuts of their favorite foods in the center; seal, cook and serve! Chunks of chicken and assorted veggies work well. I fondly remember enjoying my moms camping potatoes when I was a kid.  A little creativity will go a long way to turn boring meals into fun.
  • Since barbecuing is done over longer periods of time, plan on spending that time playing outdoor games instead of doing chores while waiting for the food to cook. This will contribute to quality family time and make meals both fun and memorable!

Now lets give some  barbecue & grilling tips that deal with the food itself:

  • Clean your grill thoroughly before and after use to avoid the residue from previous meals affecting the taste of  what you are currently cooking. One thing I like to do is heat the grill for at least ten minutes so residue can ‘cook’ of naturally, then I give the grill a couple of passes with a stiff bbq brush made for cleaning the grates. Once last thing I do is lightly oil the grates and let it heat up for another 4 or 5 minutes before cooking so that cleanup is easy the next time around.
  • For a new grilling experience, try to add a little smoke flavoring to your dishes. Pick up some applewood or mesquite wood chips and place them on top of your charcoal. The additional smoky taste and flavor is amazing. Experiment with different wood types, one of my favorites is cherrywood. When trying different types keep in mind that the region it comes from will also affect it’s flavor; applewood from the west coast will taste different from wood harvested in the south. This one simple tip can transform your food. If you use a gas grill just place the wood chips in a smoke pouch made specifically for this purpose like the one below, or take a small aluminum pie plate and poke some holes in the bottom. [easyazon_infoblock align=”none” identifier=”B008UFE364″ locale=”US” tag=”ctcub-20″]
  • Experiment with creating new sauces instead of using traditional style barbecue sauce. You can try using teriyaki sauce, hot sauce, honey, brown sugar and even rum or wine for a change. Be creative!
  • Marinate your meats overnight. This will ‘set’ the flavor of the marinade into the meat, locking in the flavor. By the time you cook it the following day the meat will be tenderized and deeply flavored. This technique works for a variety of meats but do not mariante delicate fish or seafood using this method.
  • When you research exact cooking temperatures to determine when food items will be done keep in mind that their temperature will continue to rise even after it is taken off the grill. For example, if I want to serve my pork tenderloin medium rare it will need an internal temperature of 145 degrees. To avoid overcooking it I will remove it from the grill at 140-142 degrees (depending on its size) and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. It comes out perfect every time!

If you enjoyed my 8 Barbecue & Grilling Tips to Start Your Summer Off Right you may also like to read some other articles featured in our grilling & barbecue tips section.

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