Summer Grilling Tips
by Jen Gustavson
Published April 28, 2010 | Updated July 17, 2015
Summertime is barbecue season. Warm temperatures and long days make the season perfect for backyard picnics and alfresco soirees. Even better, summer is full of occasions worthy of a delicious outdoor barbecue. You'll be ready to fire up the grill with the help of these outdoor cooking tips for every holiday and event this summer.
Grilling Tips by Occasion:
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- Memorial Day
The first holiday weekend of summer is the perfect time to fire up the grill and kick off the season. However, the first step to great summer food is a clean grill. If you forgot to clean the grill grates following last barbecue season, spray the grill with vegetable oil to loosen the residue and scrub away any buildup with a brass-wire grill brush. Once your grill is clean, you're ready to start cooking.
- Father's Day
During the warm summer months, any occasion is a good reason to fire up the grill. Give your dad a break from his master grill duties by surprising him with a grilled feast for dinner. If your dad is protective of his role as the family grill master, a set of stainless steel barbecue tools would be a perfect gift.
- 4th of July
By the time Independence Day rolls around, your grill may be a regular part of your meal preparation. For a traditional barbecue, stick with hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob. For a less traditional gourmet feast, grill up some teriyaki salmon and veggie kabobs. Cooking fish on a cedar plank gives it a rich flavor and is gentle on the delicate meat; make sure to soak your plank in water first. If for some reason you find yourself in need of a new grill, look for a convenient 4th of July sale for great deals and get the party back on track.
- Camping Trip
Don't limit your outdoor cooking skills to the backyard. It's amazing how your favorite home-cooked meals taste even better cooked over coals in the great outdoors. Bring all of your favorite ingredients to your next camping trip and cook them in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Top off the campfire meal with some roasted marshmallows or s'mores.
- Labor Day
By the end of summer, you've probably perfected the barbecue basics, so why not try something unusual? Grilling pizza gets a similar taste as cooking in a stone pizza oven; place foil under the crust, make sure it's not too close to the coals, and close the lid to capture ambient heat and heat the toppings. For a unique dessert, grill fruit and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Papaya, mango, pineapple, and peaches will all caramelize well over the flames, creating a tangy treat that's the perfect way to end the season.