Grilling Guide 101

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Spring is here, and nothing ushers in the warm weather like dusting off your grill and cooking up a fun and tasty outdoor spread!

Don’t miss out on the fun of a family cookout or the enjoyment of a seasonal summer dinner, served alfresco, simply because you’re not comfortable using proper grilling techniques. Become a seasoned grill master, barbecuing dishes including fish, chicken, beef, burgers, and vegetables to perfection.

Grilling Guide 101

Fish

Always brush both your fish and the grill grates with oil before you begin to grill, in order to reduce sticking. Preheat your grill for at least 30 minutes, allowing it to get nice and hot. For larger filets, cut your meat into smaller portions to ensure that the fish cooks evenly. Place your fish either directly on the grill grates, in a grilling fish basket, or on a cedar or cherry plank. Cook your fish on one side for three or four minutes, and use a spatula to carefully flip it to the other side. After the other side has grilled for three to four minutes, remove your fish from the grill and enjoy! If you’re a beginner, you may want to stick with recipes that include precise cooking times for specific types of fish, until you get your sea legs! Try our fantastic Orange Glazed Salmon with Wilted Kale recipe.

Chicken

Chicken breasts are a choice for a beginner, because their cooking time is the easiest to predict. Begin by pounding the meat to a uniform thickness (about ½ inch for a chicken breast). Place the chicken on a preheated grill and turn your meat regularly to minimize flare-ups and to prevent burning. Cook on both sides for 10 minutes each. Once the meat has thoroughly cooked, removed from the grill and let it rest on a plate for a few minutes. For a new way to try your grilled chicken, check out our Grilled Chicken and Avocado Tacos with Cilantro Crema recipe.

Beef

Marinate your cut of steak if you like, and preheat the grill for 30 minutes or so. Next, sprinkle both sides of your steak with salt and pepper to taste and place it on the grill grates. Grill the steak, covered with foil, on medium-hot for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill using tongs, let rest for a few minutes, and then slice into thin pieces across the grain to serve. Since steak can be safely enjoyed cooked medium rare, medium, medium well, or well done, you can adjust your grilling time to suit your preference.

MORE: On the Grill: Crisp Rosemary Fries with Low-Fat Aioli recipe.

Burgers

Burgers are a classic American favorite worth learning how to grill. Begin by using fresh, lean ground hamburger meat. Organic, grass-fed beef will yield the best flavor without the unhealthy biproducts found in mass-manufactured meat. Season your meat using any sauces, herbs, or spices you desire, and shape the hamburger meat into 1/2 to 1/3 pound patties about 1/2 inch thick, and the diameter of a hamburger bun. Bring your grill to a nice hot temperature and brush the grill grates with oil to prevent sticking. Place the burgers onto the grill and allow them to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes before flipping them and cooking for 3-4 minutes. If desired, add a slice of cheese two minutes before burgers are done grilling. Remove your burgers from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes on a plate before assembling into buns with toppings. Looking for a delicious vegetarian alternative? Try our Portobello Burger with Savory Balsamic Marinade.

Vegetables

Grilled veggies are always a scrumptious side dish. Rinse, trim, and slice your vegetables, and brush them with a coat of olive oil to prevent them from sticking on the grill. Preheat your grill, and place your veggies either directly on the grill or in a packet of foil. Allow them to cook, uncovered, over medium heat for five to eight minutes. It’s important to watch your vegetables closely to prevent charring. Finally, remove and enjoy. For a new way to enjoy your grilled veggies, try our Italian Roasted Vegetables with Summer Basil recipe.

Now that you have learned how to grill a variety of meats and veggies, go ahead and invite family and friends over for a summer day to remember!

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