Make It Easy! Grilling Tips For Spring, Summer & Beyond

Warmer weather is heading your way if it hasn’t arrived already! And if there’s one thing I look forward to every spring, it’s the first evening where it’s warm enough to fire up the grill.

Grilling is a dry heat cooking method, and one of the easiest ways to quickly sear your ingredients for added flavor. If your mind immediately jumps to burgers or steaks, you’re on the right track. You can easily add vegetables to either option. But don’t stop there! Keep reading to learn how to incorporate as much produce as possible into your dishes.

Tips for Easy Grilling

If you’re new to grilling, try these suggestions as you get started. Even if you consider yourself a pro, these tips might help you become even more efficient.

  • Set up a workstation to stay organized. Just as you would in the kitchen with your mise en place, take a few moments to survey your grilling area. Do you have space nearby to set a cutting board or prep bowls? What about a hook or spoon holder to keep your tongs and spatula clean? Get creative with how you make your space work for you, especially if you plan to use your grill as often as possible this season.
  • Take some time to get to know your grill. With many options these days, from the simple to the high-tech, grills come with key features that can make cooking easier. Also consider if you’re more comfortable cooking with charcoal vs. gas, or a traditional grill vs. a griddle (flat top) option.
  • If you don’t already have a meat thermometer, now’s the time to get one. This helps you ensure you hit the minimum internal temperature when grilling chicken, pork, beef, or seafood. Stay safe with these food safety tips!

Tips for Easy Flavor

Grilling is a great way to infuse more flavor with minimal effort. And who doesn’t love to see those beautiful char marks? Maximize flavor and satisfaction with these strategies.

  • Get creative with the seasonings. Yes, there are many fantastic grill seasonings (both with and without added salt or sugar). But let your taste buds be your guide to experiment with different spice blends or create your own. You can draw inspiration from global cuisines, whether through fresh or dried herbs, ground spices, marinades, glazes, and more.
  • Pump up the produce and take advantage of what’s in season. Stack up the vegetables (grilled, fresh, or fermented) on burgers or chicken sandwiches. Roll them tightly in a burrito or wrap with pulled pork or pile them up on BBQ bowls. Or serve your steaks with a salsa or relish on top.
  • And speaking of burgers, one of my favorite ways to add more umami flavor is to include finely chopped mushrooms in my ground beef mixture. This also helps your burgers stay moist and juicy, and since you can include the stems it helps cut down on food waste.
  • Zucchini, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms are commonly included in grilling recipes. But try grilling potatoes, carrots, and even romaine lettuce for alternative ways to enjoy familiar favorites.
  • Don’t forget the fruit! Pineapple, peaches, and even watermelon add sweetness to your grilled meals. Slice and sear for just 1-2 minutes per side or until char marks form. Add to salads, side dishes, desserts, or as an element for salsas, sauces, and other condiments or toppings.

Tips for Easy Meal Prep

Grilling is one of my favorite ways to batch cook for the week. I can multitask and enjoy some time outdoors while cooking. Plus, no lingering smells in my kitchen! Follow these tips for a successful meal prep session at the grill.

  • Cook once, but don’t feel limited to just a single recipe. If you’re firing up the grill, take advantage of the hot cooking surface with a variety of proteins and vegetable options. This offers more flexibility during the week to help you avoid boredom with your leftovers.
  • When grilling vegetables, err on the side of slightly undercooking them. This helps them hold their structure without getting too soft or mushy. When you reheat them in a day or two, they should have the ideal texture without being overcooked.
  • If you’re worried about chopped or sliced vegetables falling through the grill grates, invest in a grill basket or reusable metal kebab skewers. Both options are dishwasher safe and can help you reduce waste.

With these tips in mind, I hope your grilling endeavors feel easier than ever! If you’re looking for some recipes inspiration, be sure to check out these links next:

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