It’s Memorial Day, and chances are that you’re either looking forward to, getting ready for, or may currently enjoying the fruits (and meats and vegetables and… sorry, getting ahead of myself) of an outdoor barbecue.
Of course, before you put food to fire, the grillmasters here at Vann’s have a few tips to make sure your cookout is the hottest event of the year (rather than going up in flames).
Oh, and before I get to the tips, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind readers in the Bozeman, Montana area that they can stop by their local Vann’s store and enjoy some delicious food (and some great savings) today.
1. Make sure your grill is clean. If you haven’t cleaned in awhile, it may be time to replace your grates, otherwise take a wire brush and give it a good once, twice, or thrice over. If they’re of the smaller variety, you could even put a bit of oil on them and let your oven’s self clean cycle take care of them.
2. Make sure you’ve got all your gear ready to go before the first thing goes onto the grill. Nothing worse than reaching for your clean serving tray, and finding its not there. Oh, and don’t forget a fire extinguisher as part of that basic kit — while you probably won’t need it, I’m sure Mrs. O’Leary didn’t think putting that lantern near her cow was a bad idea, either.
3. Don’t reuse the same tray for raw and cooked meats. This may seem like basic sanitation, but I’ve been to more than one outdoor grill party where the threat of cross-contamination converted me to a vegitarian diet.
4. Keep your grill and food lubricated. A clean rag lightly soaked in oil can be a life saver in keeping your grill lubricated and clean; lightly is key here, because too much will cause your fire to flare up (possibly to the chagrin of your eyebrows). You still want to keep cooking fat on your foods, but lightly oiling your grill racks can help keep bits from sticking around.
5. Control your heat. You may be cooking over fire, but that’s no reason not to excercise a bit of heat control. With a gas grill, use those controls. If you’re a charcoal purist, take advantage of the early heat of your grill by cooking something that requires a quick high heat. Maybe a pizza?
6. Have a game plan in place for your grilling menu. While you can use your kitchen to cook some food, your grill is perfectly serviceable for a wide variety of foods beyond hamburgers and hotdogs. You can cook everything from appetizer to dessert without ever needing to turn on your oven. Plus, you get more time to hang out with your guests outside if you don’t have to pop back into the kitchen for every course.
7. Clean your grill! Once the party is over, and burgers and brauts are safely tucked away (in your stomach, of course), make sure to clean your grill while it’s still warm. Not only does it make getting the stuck-on bits easier to get off, it keeps you from having to panic on rule 1 the next time you have an impromptu grill party.
Keep these tips in mind to have a fun, safe, and delicious Memorial Day weekend. Have some other grilling tips? Let me know in the comments!