Get your grill on!
As we enjoy fun in the sun, brush up on our outdoor safety, and head to the local farmers markets to stock up on the season’s best vegetables, one of our favorite things to gear up for this summer is barbecues! Firing up the grill is a great way to bring family and friends together to share a healthy meal. We’ve got a few ideas to help you get the most out of barbecue season.
Theme it up
One of the best parts of grilling outdoors every summer is the potential for a theme party! Whether you want to dress up your back yard as a carnival, an old-fashioned buffet or a luau, the options are endless for creating a fun environment for your guests. If you’re crafty, this is a great chance to head to your local craft supply shop and gather ideas (and maybe a few cute place settings!).
Dust off the ‘ol grill
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your grill is in perfect working order before you fire it up. After dusting it off, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe to use by cleaning the grates. After warming up the grill (but not so warm you burn yourself!), grab a stiff brush and scrape away any residue. Before you’re ready to cook, dip a towel into canola oil with a set of tongs and wipe down the grates until they shine—this will keep the food from sticking.
But wait! About those grilling brushes…
While it’s important to use a strong brush to clean your grill (the last thing you want is a fire caused by grease buildup!), take proper safety measures to avoid injury. The news has been buzzing lately with tales of injuries from grill brush bristles. After scrubbing down your grill, make sure no bristles get left behind, as these can become embedded in your food and cause some serious bodily damage.
Aside from brushes, you’ll want to be sure to avoid common injuries such as burns—whether it be from a grill or a campfire. Check out this article for a great guide to burn safety. And if you need a little extra help remembering the nitty gritty details of firing up the grill (like, what’s the proper length of time to let lighter fluid soak into charcoal)? Check out this resource to jog your memory.
Tell bugs to fly away home
We know you’re already a pro at general outdoor safety, but how are you at keeping out uninvited guests? And we’re not talking about your in-laws… We’re talking about insects! Buy a CDC-approved insect repellent and advise your invited guests to wise up and spray down before spending time around the grill.
Create a stellar menu
Head to your local farmers market and find a variety of seasonal veggies to throw on the grill. Depending on the density of the vegetable, cooking times may vary on the grill, so you’ll want to adjust the heat and length of time over the flame. Some veggies, like sweet potatoes and carrots, take longer and you may want to pre-boil these before grilling.
And get stylish with your veggies! Kabobs are a fun, easy way to create a healthy entree, but have you tried making flavor packets? This is an easy method that also doubles as a convenient “flavor saver” if you want to add a little pizazz to your main attraction.
Change things up with hot and cold entrée options. Take advantage of tomato season and make a quick Greek salad. Get Instagram-worthy photos and intrigue your guests with this tasty (and healthy!) cantaloupe soup. Keep it classic with a great potato salad.
Don’t forget about staying hydrated—but make it fun! Instead of offering unhealthy options like sodas and fruit juices with added sugars, why not make a few fruit-infused waters and iced teas?
Whatever your grilling ambitions are this summer, be sure to practice a little common sense and safety to make sure you (and your guests) can enjoy the bounty of your grilling labors. Enjoy your summer!