Girl on Grill: Take Over the BBQ
Growing up, I learned how to grill from my dad. It didn’t matter what time of year it was – could be in the middle of January, 2 degrees Fahrenheit and a foot of snow on the ground – and you could find my father on the deck in a parka, boots and a spatula in hand, with the tantalizing smell of grilled chicken, fish, steak and veggies wafting throughout the neighborhood. I made the decision to move to a much warmer climate but I still carry on that tradition. After all, grilling is almost fail-proof. You can cook just about anything, even dessert and pizza, and have it taste amazing within minutes and without a lot of clean-up.
The question is, why does it seem that many women are intimidated by the idea of cooking on a grill? maybe it’s because it’s traditionally a guy’s domain. Have you heard people say, “He can’t cook, but he can grill up a storm!” Listen, sisters, you can take that task on and own it. And if you have the right stuff, it sure makes it a lot easier. After all, grilling is almost fail-proof. You can cook just about anything, paleo to vegan, pizza to peaches, go around the globe with your spices or even an elegant 3-course meal including dessert, and have it taste amazing without a lot of clean up.
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It’s what I call the TTFF approach:
Here are the basics to get you started, and I’ve scoped out some of my favorite picks at the best prices for you:
Start with the right stuff
Guys love their tools and we know why. It’s fun to play with gadgets!
But Safety First!
Dirty, greasy grills with a buildup of meat juices and grease are potential storehouses of food borne illnesses. Even scarier, grilling creates smoke laden with potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which end up on the surface (as ash) of whatever you’re cooking, and can be absorbed back into your food. You know we’re sticklers for bad bacteria that can make you sick. E-cloth makes a great non-toxic scrubber and towel that cleans like a champ with just water, and removes over 99% of bacteria without any toxic chemicals! Works like a CHAMP. Pick up grease, grime and get the perfect shine and piece of mind knowing you’re making healthier decisions for you and your family. The non-stick scrubbing pads clean off burnt-on food, grease, marinades and the other build-up from Lord knows when the last time you cleaned your appliances and outside of the grill.
Cooking your food in a Grill Basket or in Aluminum Foil pouches is a great way to keep clean up easy and to prevent flare-ups. Select seasonal vegetables and wash them thoroughly with Eat Cleaner Fruit and Veggie Wash and mist your shrimp, scallops, fish, chicken and other seafood & poultry with Eat Cleaner Seafood and Poultry Wash to get the funk off.
E-cloth helps keep everything safe to start! Just add water and get the gunk off your grill and cutting surfaces. You can also check out the non-stick scrub pads for caked-on stuff without scratching. Use code MAREYA for 15% off through July 31st, 2018 at checkout with your E-cloth purchase!
- Cutting boards – Use separate boards for meat, chicken, seafood and vegetables so you don’t cross contaminate
- Marinating Trays
- Stainless Steel Tongs and Spatula
- Long-handled Fork with Thermometer
- Basting Brush
- Cleaning brush
Eat Cleaner Products, including Triple Action Fruit & Veggie Wash and Eat Cleaner Seafood & Poultry Wash for cleaning grill and food
Liners for the grill to avoid messes
Mopping brush for marinades
- Steel skewers – Perfect for making colorful kabobs
- Cedar grilling planks – Infuse food with a wonderful smoky flavor and add moisture and a delicious aroma. Grilled salmon has never tasted so good!
- Grilling baskets – You can find perforated aluminum foil trays that are great for grilling edamame, vegetables and shrimp
- Pizza stone – Grilled pizza is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. The smokiness of the grill adds a whole level of depth to the flavor. The stone helps to keep the cooking temperature consistent. You can also use a heavy bottomed cast iron skillet.
Avoid the char: The idea of just throwing food on the grill and cooking to a carbon pulp is not the objective. Using a moderate fire, avoiding flare ups and char is key to a healthy bbq. Make sure the grill has had at least 5 minutes to warm up before placing food and avoid walking away. Just make sure you have something good to drink in hand and keep your eyes on the prize! To avoid carcinogens from overcooking, place a branch of fresh rosemary across meats – the natural oils in rosemary work wonders!
Make it full of flavor: Grilling doesn’t have to mean traditional. It’s time for adventure! Let your bbq take you on a culinary journey with the right flavors. You don’t have to use exact measurements – just borrow the ingredient palette from different countries. For a taste of India, try a Tandoori style marinade combining nonfat Greek yogurt, pureed onion, crushed garlic, curry powder, black pepper and a meat of your choice. The yogurt also helps the meats cook faster. If you like Korean bbq, you can combine flavors like low sodium soy sauce, white vinegar, sesame oil, fresh garlic and ginger. I grew up with Middle Eastern-influenced flavors, which combines citrus, smoky herbs and a little heat to kick it up a notch. You can use a prepared harissa blend and add a little coconut or olive oil to marinate foods. A stand-by is just some good smoked sea salt, fresh garlic and lime – you can’t beat it! I like using the Marinating Trays to keep food safe and meats separate from veggies (you can pick those up at Cost Plus World Market, too). The longer your meats get to marinate and pick up those amazing flavors, the better.
Keep it lean and clean: Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or anythingatarian, grilling gives you a chance to explore all types of ‘clean’ foods. For a big splash of color, choose a selection of fresh veggies and add cloves of garlic, fresh lemon or lime and a touch of sea salt and pepper for a simple preparation. Bell pepper, zucchini, squash, eggplant make a flavorful ‘half the plate’ accompaniment. You can also cook pizza on the grill, using a pizza stone. Get a prepared whole grain or gluten-free crust and top it with fresh mozzarella and a lot of color and you are in business! I always recommend picking ingredients raised without chemicals, antibiotics or hormones and keeping meats like bacon nitrate-free. Opt for grass fed, free range beef, natural or organic chicken and wild caught seafood.
Remove husks from corn and boil cobs until tender. Wrap in nitrate free bacon and sprinkle with ground oregano, granulated garlic and pepper. Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil and grill until bacon is crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain excess oil and pat excess with a paper towel before enjoying to the fullest.
Believe it or not, these are meat-free!
There’s never been a better time to fire it up and get to master your own BBQ than this summer and now, that you’re armed with the trips and tools of the trade, it’s time to get grillin’!