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GRILL IDEAS FOR JULY 4
July 4th is synonymous with two things: fireworks and grills. Backyards, patios, and parks across America fill up with friends and family for the celebration of U.S. Independence with millions of lighted grills.
For many seasoned chefs, it’s just another day in the sun, but beginners and experienced barbecues alike can benefit from a few tips and tricks. Here are some ideas to make July 4th memorable and tasty.
GRILLING TIPS FOR JULY 4
Find the right grill for your menu and space
You cannot have a fantastic grilling experience without a high quality grill. Whether you prefer charcoal or gas, there are high quality options to choose from, whatever your budget. For small events, charcoal kettle grills deliver classic flavor for about a dozen guests. If you are planning a larger celebration, a larger gas grill provides more cooking space for more people.
Grill Tools and Accessories
To be a great chef, you need the right tools and accessories. There is a lot of grill tool sets available that offer the convenience of having all the essentials at your disposal. For DIY grillmasters who prefer their tools a la carte, be sure to include pliers, a grill brush and one spatula.
Before lighting the grill, there are other accessories that could improve your barbecue. If you cook meat, you need a safe and accurate way to track temperature, with either a wireless probe or one Instant Reading meat thermometer. It also doesn’t hurt to have a pair of grill gloves close at hand when the grill is on fire.
Defrost and season your meat
For carnivores, nothing spoils a barbecue like raw, poorly seasoned or overcooked meat. First of all, never put cold meat on the grill – give your steaks, ribs and burgers time to reach room temperature first. Second, take it easy on the seasoning. While chicken benefits from some complex seasoning blends and ribs pair well with a rub, steaks and burgers only need salt and pepper.
Add salt to your meats while they come to room temperature and cover both sides with a moderate amount of freshly ground pepper. Be sure to preheat your grill before throwing meat on the grates to ensure even cooking.
Finally, make good use of your tools and prevent your meat from overcooking. Don’t flip your meat too many times or you risk losing the tasty juices they create. Keep an eye on the temperature and remove your meat before it’s fully cooked – your steak or burger will finish cooking perfectly while resting.
Don’t forget the vegetables
There are two ways to cook vegetables on your grill: directly on the grates or in a roasting pan. Some vegetables are made to be cooked on the wire shelves, such as whole corn on the cob. You can also bake potatoes on the grill – just add oil and salt and wrap them loosely in foil.
For other vegetable dishes, a stainless steel roasting pan is the choice. Prepare a mixture of vegetables with oil and seasonings and roast them in the same smoky space as the rest of your food. Another good option is to cook vegetables on skewers. Peppers, okra, mushrooms, and zucchini all work well on vegetable kebabs.
Get creative with hot dogs
Hot dogs are one of America’s most popular July 4th foods, but there’s no reason for them to be boring. Different places in the United States offer regional specialty hot dogs with unusual and delicious topping variations. Consider choosing a regional staple to serve at your barbecue – Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta all have popular and unique varieties that are easy to prepare.
Another idea is to combine your dog with another favorite sandwich. A tasty hybrid is the BLT dog: a bacon-wrapped franc topped with fresh lettuce and tomato and dressed in mayonnaise. Use a cast iron cooking plate for sautéing onions and peppers on one side of the grill while the sausages are cooking on the other. Throw it all in a bun, dress in mustard and enjoy.
Don’t skip the dessert
Make your 4th of July unforgettable with grilled desserts. It might sound strange, but some candies are great on the grill. Grilled pineapple is delicious on its own; just cut one into slices and cook it directly on the grill. If you like strawberries, poke a few between pineapple wedges and create delicious fruit skewers. If you do not have stainless steel skewers, be sure to soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Another idea is to grill sliced pound cake on the grates, once they are clean. Add a little butter and toast slices on each side until you have grill marks and serve with your choice of fruit or ice cream.
Stay hydrated and refreshed
Keep everyone refreshed and hydrated while they enjoy your toasted feast. Make sure you have a high quality cooler it’s big enough to hold your cans and bottles, plus enough ice to keep them cool. Try some cool new canned drinks, like Sparkling water.
Consider a fresh summer punch, which your guests can spice up with their own alcohol. Try to mix ginger beer with fresh pineapple and orange juice before serving in a punch bowl full of strawberries, orange wedges, pineapple chunks and ice cream.
Matt Fleming is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a single mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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