Grill-Master Mom (In Training)

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grillI am not opposed to grilling in the rain.  As soon as the weather starts getting nice, I am out on my deck whipping up a juicy grilled pork chop, grilled chicken breast for gyros with cucumber Tzatziki sauce, a fillet of blackened salmon, or even bratwursts with their snappy skin and mouthwatering grill lines.  I love the extra layer of flavor that grilling adds to my foods.  Plus, it’s so simple!  Even with my minimal seasoning of only salt and pepper, my grill can really pack a punch!

And have I mentioned, that my grill makes clean-up a breeze?!  I love grilling for supper because I don’t have to spend an hour washing pots and pans afterwards.  I already feel like I spend my whole life cleaning – if it saves me some time in front of the sink, I’ll grill every day of the week!

Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned while training to be a grill-master mom:

  • I have a gas grill so the first thing I do is light the burners.  I let it get good and hot before I do anything else. This makes cleaning easier but also ensures that I’ll have those gorgeous grill lines when I start cooking.
  • I use kitchen tongs and a wad of aluminum foil to clean off my grill instead of a grill brush.  It’s cheap and never leaves bristles behind!
  • I use the same kitchen tongs and a paper towel to coat the grill grates with cooking oil. This gets them nice and clean, and prevents foods from sticking.
  • Try to cut all pieces of meat to relatively the same size so they cook evenly.
  • It never fails, there will always be some pieces that are thinner or thicker than others. I make sure to put the thicker pieces of meat/fish over the direct flame so they will cook slightly faster than the thinner parts.
  • Rotate all of the pieces into and out of the direct flame to ensure they all cook evenly.
  • Put the food on and leave it for at least 3-4 minutes! Avoid the temptation to shuffle them around – you’ll mess up your beautiful grill marks.
  • My food thermometer is my best friend!  I temp everything to ensure that it is cooked to the correct level of doneness.
    • Tip: Beef/pork cuts don’t have to be cooked all the way to well-done (165F).  They can both be customized to your doneness preferences – we like medium at our house so I aim for ~145/150F before pulling them off to rest. BUT, all ground meats should be a full 165F for food safety reasons.
  • Be very cautious if you are grilling with higher fat meats because the drippings can make the flames flare up if you aren’t careful. Make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy – trust me!
  • In this post, I have been focusing on cooking meats/fish on the grill because that is primarily what I grill.  But, there are loads of delicious vegetables/side dishes that can be grilled as well.
    • Something I do from time to time is wrap my raw veggies in aluminum foil and toss it on the grill with my main dish.  It’s like magic; everything cooks together and is done and ready for a simple supper.
  • There are lots of non-traditional grill foods that taste amazing grilled!  We have tried quite a few at my house. Grilled pizza was good! I have even heard that grilled fruit is a thing–maybe we will try that next!

So, no matter how much experience you have with your grill, get out there and try something new!  I have no formal training on how to use my grill, but that hasn’t stopped me from grilling in the rain as I work towards becoming a grill-master mom!

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Things Heather loves: blue skies, green grass, trees rustling in the wind. Heather is a country girl through and through. She grew up on 10 acres of rolling countryside in SE Iowa. Over their 7 years of marriage, Heather and her husband (Ted) have lived in 3 different states. But Heather grew tired of the big, grey city so, in 2013, they moved to Rochester (Ted’s hometown) for some green Minnesota living. Fast forward a few short years and she now has two bustling boys – Everett (3) and Judah (14mos). Heather also loves food. Full disclosure - she eats ice cream nightly! She is a registered dietitian and is passionate about how she feeds her family. In order to stay home with her boys, only a year ago she became a licensed family childcare provider. She feeds her daycare family with the same enthusiasm. Her goal is to provide readers with practical tools so they may also feed their families well. !

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