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Our Ultimate Summer Grilling Guide

Amber Brandt  |  June 13, 2023

Nothing ruins an afternoon barbecue more than tough, overcooked meat, or blackened veggies. Even the best company of friends and family isn’t enough to redeem the taste it leaves in your mouth.

But good news – we’ve pulled together some tried-and-true tips and recipes to ensure any food you grill or smoke will be cooked perfectly every time, sure to please even the pickiest little eater in the bunch. Behold our Ultimate Summer Grilling Guide!

  1. Test with your hands. While a meat thermometer is always the most accurate way to test the temperature of your meat, the palm of your hand is the next best thing! Click here for a comprehensive list of proper cooking temperatures for beef, pork and chicken, as well as instructions on how to simply press your palm to determine the temperature of your cooked meat.
  2. Gas vs. Charcoal? While flavor preference, convenience and cost each play a role in which type of grill you own, there are a few other things to consider. Studies show gas burns cleaner because charcoal grills emit more carbon monoxide — but many people prefer the smokier taste a charcoal grill provides. At the end of the day, it’s up to your pocketbook — and tongue — to decide.
  3. Preheat and post-brush. Properly prepping your grill before you begin to barbecue is super important. By preheating roughly 15-25 minutes before you begin cooking, you’ll make sure to achieve the appropriate temperature, kill any bacteria and burn off remaining particles left from the last use. Speaking of which, it’s easiest to remove baked on remnants while the grill is still hot. Use a wire brush to scrape before you completely shut the grill down for the day or try this helpful advice from @brunchwithbabs to use some unexpected items from your fridge to clean and prep your grill the natural way.
  4. A tisket a tasket. Are you a happy herbivore? Don’t risk losing one precious spear of summer squash between the slats on your grill rack! Pick up a grilling basket to brown and caramelize veggies, fruits or tofu.
  5. Give it a break. Like humans, cooked meats are their very best after a little rest. Many people think cutting into a piece of cooked meat is the best way to determine whether it’s prepared to their liking. Unfortunately this allows juices and moisture to escape. Follow tip one, then give it 10 minutes’ rest before carving.
  6. Best. Burgers. Ever. Need we say more?
  7. Class it up. Who says hot dogs can’t be an impressive meal? Think outside the box with homemade ketchup, gourmet cheeses, and chutneys.
  8. Get out of the kitchen. Too hot to cook anything inside? Check out this link for completely grilled meals.
  9. Smoky mountains of meat. Have you made the plunge to purchase a meat smoker? They’ve gotten increasingly more popular over the past few years. Here are the top 10 tips for making your smoked meat the best it can be.
  10. Put a scoop on it. Everything’s better with ice cream, right? Here are 14 sweet dessert treats you can make on the grill.