Who doesn’t love a good cookout? Most Daytonians are elbow deep in grilling season this summer. From parties, to romantic dinners or family time, this is the time of the year to use that gas or charcoal grill. The Food Adventures Crew is here with some helpful tips to make your grilling experiences a success. The Big Ragu, Hungry Jax and Chef House share our MUST EATS an MUST DO’s.. Grilling out version!
— PREPARATION IS KEY: Prepare beforehand to make it easy on yourself. Marinade your meats and pre-slice veggies ahead of time instead of fumbling on the grill table. Ziplock bags work great to hold veggies doused in a bit of olive oil, and grill ready!
— MARINATE YOUR MEAT: A simple soaking can do wonders for tenderness and flavor.
Hungry Jax says “Marinade chicken in buttermilk! It makes it so tender!”
Big Ragu loves using Soy Sauce, Worcester Sauce, and Minced Garlic mixture for a simple steak marinade. For chicken, he uses a cheap bottle of Italian dressing or Olive Oil, Basil, Garlic Powder and Oregano.
— GET THE RIGHT TOOLS: Make sure your tongs and flipper are long enough, and that they work correctly. It will save you a few dropped sausages, or epic losses thru the grill grate.
— MEATS SHOULD BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE WHEN GRILLING: Take cuts of meat out of fridge 30 minutes prior to grilling, so they are not cold. It won’t contaminate the meat! It will actually help you grill the meat more evenly.
— MAKE YOUR HAMBURGER PATTIES THINNER IN THE MIDDLE than the outside. Always hand patty your burgers with fresh meat, and make them thinner in the center. This is because the middle swells when you grill the burger. This helps even the playing field, and prevents your burgers becoming undercooked meatballs.
— HIGH HEAT FOR STEAKS, ALWAYS: Grill that steak and let it sit until that final flip. The result is a juicy, seared steak with great grill marks.
— FISH, THE LESS FLIPPING THE BETTER: Cook fish about 75 percent then flip it once. Let the grill do the work. Wana see flipping seafood? Go to Benihana…
— DRIZZLE LIME OR LEMON JUICE OVER SEAFOOD RIGHT AT THE END OF GRILL TIME: This is always a great finishing touch of flavor.
— GRILL SALAD: Yes! Chef House says, Grill salad! It doesn’t always have to be about meat. Romaine, Belgium Endive and Radicchio are great together and hold up well on the grill. Wilt the greens and get some grill marks on there. Chop and toss with olive oil, vinegar and cheese. Chef House suggests sherry vinegar or a sweeter white balsamic with bleu cheese. Fresh herbs are always a nice touch too. Shout out to Miami Valley Spice Traders, who carries a great honey white balsamic vine
— GRILL PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS:
Chef House loves to marinate them overnight in orange juice, olive oil and garlic. So easy, and her family’s favorite.
The Big Ragu uses Worcester sauce, soy sauce and garlic powder for his Portabella Mushroom Grill Marinade.
— GRILL ASAPRAGUS: The Big Ragu uses Olive Oil and Garlic Salt when grilling these sticks of love.
Chef House marinates her asparagus overnight in her family favorite recipe of orange juice, olive oil and garlic. Is your mouth watering yet?
— GRILL PIZZA: Hungry Jax loves this summer twist on the ole pizza pie. Make sure you have a hearty crust. Medium heat and inventive toppings are the key to pizza grilling success !
— HAVE A LOCAL LUAU: Impress your family and friends this summer and have an entire grilled meal from local vendors.
Here are some supplier ideas from Chef House:
Keener Farms, one of the the area’s best butcher blocks for grass fed burgers and brats.
Ed Hill owner of Xenia’s HILL FAMILY FARMS has great Chicken available at Dorothy Lane Market.
— LEARN TO MAKE GREAT SAUCES: We love sauces to go along with grilled meat. Chimichurri is a huge favorite of Chef House and so versatile. Here is another tip from Chef House… www.Epicurious.com is a great site for new sauce recipes.
— GRILL CORN IN THE HUSK: Here is a quick, fun idea the kids and adults will love. Get some fresh corn still in the husk, cut it at the tip. Peel back and take out the silks. Pull the husk back up and soak in water for 20 minutes. Throw them on the grill wet and watch them steam the corn on the grill. Flip until the husks are brown on all sides, peel back and serve rustic style with salt and butter.
— OVERESTIMATE YOUR MEAT: Chef House says cook more meat than you need, so you have leftovers! Especially chicken, which can be easily made into some delicious tacos the next day.
— BEER ISN’T JUST FOR DRINKING ANYMORE: Get a tin pan, and pour in 1/2 of a beer. Add some sausages and sliced peppers and onions and let steam on the grill. Touch up the grill marks on the sausages just before you serve it. Serve it with the steamed onions and peppers too, with or without a bun ! Now you’re a hero.
— THROW LIVE CLAMS ON THE GRILL: Wana impress your friends easily? Throw a dozen live clams on the grill. When they open, they’re done. It is that simple, but your friends with think it is pretty darn cool.
— HAVE A GLASS OF WATER NEARBY FOR FLARE UPS: Just in case your juices or grease catch on fire, this keeps you and the fire, in control.
— SPARE PROPANE TANK: Make sure you have an extra, FULL, propane tank on hand. Nothing says “oh Sh*t” like an empty propane tank during grilling. You never know when you are gonna run out, so don’t! Keep a spare, full tank near to your grill, in cae you have to pull the “old switcheroo.”
— PLACE GRILLED FOOD INTO SEALED PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINERS: Especially at a cookout, flies tend to swarm to open plates of cooked meat. The answer is get some plastic lid containers and seal the cooked meats inside. Trust us, it works much better than fumbling with open plates and aluminum foil with open cracks.
These are the tips from the FOOD ADVENTURES CREW. We hope they help you enjoy some summer cookouts by spurring some ideas.
Do you have some grilling tips you could share with us?
Please feel free to let go some of your family secrets by commenting below. We would be grateful, along with a lot of Dayton’s grilling gurus.
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Below are more photos from our Food Adventures by the grill. Please feel free to browse them.