Tablespoon bloggers served up their all-time best grilling advice. Read this before you grill this Labor Day weekend!
When it comes to grilling, a simple marinade can go a long way. Yogurt is one of the easiest (and most unexpected) marinades I love using for my summertime grilling. Whod’ve thunk, right? Well, I’ve got a great new recipe for you to try this Labor Day weekend that spotlights yogurt marinade.
But before we go there, check out our Top 15 Grilling Tips by Tablespoon’s awesome bloggers!
(Listed in random order; click blogger’s name to see more of his or her posts and recipes!)
1. The Great Skewer Debate
If you’re using skewers on the grill, wooden skewers are lighter and easier to handle. They’re more practical and they’re not burning hot when people touch them, unlike the metal ones. Soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.
2. Something’s Fishy
When grilling fish, the most important thing is to make sure your grill grate is properly oiled. If your fish sticks, it will fall apart. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil on a cloth or paper towel and rub the hot grill grate with it. For smaller seafood items like shrimp and scallops, use kabobs for grilling to make sure you don’t lose any pieces in the grill.
3. Rub it Right
Dry rubs are an essential part of grilling and BBQ, and I have three quick tips to ensure your success as you finish out the grilling season. First, grind your own spices. That 2-year-old powdered cumin in your spice rack probably doesn’t have much flavor. Second, use lots of rub and get it on the meat early. If a leg of lamb sits in the fridge overnight with a nice coriander thyme rub, the flavor will be that much more pronounced when it hits the grill. Third, have fun and don’t be scared to experiment with your rubs. I’ve made rubs that have anywhere from 3 to 19 different herbs and spices mixed in and haven’t really gone wrong yet!
4. Keep the Sugar Low
If there is too much sugar on your rub, you will set your chicken on fire. Not just a flame up, but completely and fully inflamed.
5. Beef it Up
Until you get the hang of grilling beef, I recommend starting with a forgiving and economical cut like flank steak. Rub it well with some olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Cook it over high heat for about 7-8 minutes per side for medium rare. Then slice it against the grain of the meat. It’s one of my favorite things to grill because it always turns out great and you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to make it.
6. Cast Iron Skillet Turned Panini Press
If you don’t have a panini press — use your grill! First, grill the bread before making your sammies. Then put the assembled sammies back on the grill, turn off the heat to keep the bread from burning, and top the sandwich with a heavy cast iron skillet to press it panini-style. Close the lid to keep the heat in and melt the cheese.
7. Veggie Advice
I toss veggies with a little olive oil, salt, pepper (and chopped fresh herbs if I have them on hand) and grill them up in a grill basket. I always try to make double what I think I need — the extras are great in pasta or quinoa salads, omelettes, veggie sandwiches … you name it!
8. Grilled Bread
Whether it’s grilled pizza, French bread for bruschetta, biscuits, or other breads — be sure to clean the grates and brush them with olive oil first to prevent sticking. Just dip a paper towel in olive oil and, using tongs, wipe the grates until they’re lightly coated. Then place the bread on the grill. It’s one easy step that helps produce better, cleaner (and less headache-inducing) results.
9. BBQ It, Don’t Burn It
One of the main grilling questions I hear from friends is how to avoid burnt chicken breasts. Often in pursuit of that perfectly juicy, yet thoroughly-cooked chicken, the outsides somehow get completely charred. So here is the news for avoiding burnt chicken — Don’t add any sauces to the chicken until the final 5 minutes of grilling. You can marinate or dry rub beforehand, but many sauces (especially if they include sugar, such as BBQ sauces) will burn. So just be patient, and apply the sauce at the end for your deliciously saucy chicken!
10. Let Your Pork Take a Nap
Most people don’t like “the other white meat” because they always complain about how dry it is. Make sure to let the pork rest for 10-15 minutes after taking it off the grill. You want the juices to redistribute so you get the juiciest pork!
11. Just Peachy
One of my favorite grilled desserts is grilled peaches. Just cut a peach in half, remove the pit, and brush it with oil. Grill cut side down until charred. Top with ice cream or mascarpone, a drizzle of honey, and some chopped pistachios.
12. Get Saucy
Thick and creamy Greek yogurt makes an excellent sauce for grilled chicken. Simply stir together plain Greek yogurt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some lemon peel, fresh herbs and a pinch of sea salt. Also, fresh salsa goes well with anything grilled — from burgers to bratwurst. Start by seeding and chopping fresh, ripe tomatoes. Add jalapeno or Serrano pepper, onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice and some sea salt.
13. Watch the Temp
I hate to pull the husband card here, but my husband does most of the grilling! In fact all the grilling because I’m slightly afraid of fire. That said, here is a tip from him: Gas grills are the way to go. Make sure to adjust the number of burners or temp based on what type of meat you are cooking. Don’t cook fish or chicken too high.
14. Grill your Cocktail Garnish
Putting a martini shaker full of your favorite cocktail on the grill is a bad idea. But, you can still get some of that smoky flavor and char by using grilled fruits as a garnish. The best to chop up and place on the grill is pineapple – the fruit holds the flavor of the charcoal really well and it goes with a wide variety of drinks, not just sweet ones. Place a long slice of pineapple on the grill (don’t make it too small or it will fall through the slats) and heat up each side for about a minute or two, just long enough for some grill marks to appear. Then, slice up the grilled pineapple into smoky cubes to place on the rims of your glasses. This adds some nice barbecue flair to your pina colada, or you can really lay on the smoke and make a traditional margarita with mezcal instead of tequila.
15. One-Minute Clean Up
Grilling fish? Try tossing it into a foil packet! Just spray one side of a large square of foil with nonstick baking spray, toss your favorite flaky fish (tilapia, trout, or codfish), a few of your favorite seasonings, and some summer veggies (zucchini, corn, chopped onions) and toss it all on the grill for great flavor, tons of nutrition, and a super easy clean up.
New Grilled Indian Yogurt Drumsticks Recipe!
A big thanks to our amazing Tablespoon bloggers for sharing those great tips and techniques!
Now that you’re all schooled up, it’s time to GRILL!
Just like Betty Crocker Taste Seekers said, yogurt-based marinades are fabulous! I used Yoplait Greek Yogurt for this awesome recipe.
My favorite spices for a yogurt-based marinade are inspired by Chicken Tikki Masala, a fave Indian food dish. My recipe for Grilled Indian Yogurt Drumsticks (below) is something you might want to try for friends and fam this Labor Day weekend.
Time to grill that chicken right up. Lick your chops. Tuck a napkin into your neck, and get ready to dig in and enjoy!