July 5, 2011

Naptime Summer Grilling Food & Tips {Naptime Simple Tips}

Grilling Meat & Veggies

It is officially grilling season. Some would argue it started last month, but the weather in the northeast doesn’t really perk-up until July which is when summer really begins in my world. To get you started with your grilling this season here are some of my basic grilling tips along with some awesome grilling recipes. You might remember a few of these recipes from my grillmaster brother, Uncle Will, I can guarantee he’ll be back this summer with some more grilling greats for us!

Naptime Chef Essential Grilling Tips: You don’t have to be a pitmaster to grill some basic good food. Trust me, I should know. Until last summer I was a city dweller and only grilled on the occasion I was visiting my parents. Now that we live in the ‘burbs my husband and I grill almost every night! I don’t rely on him to do all of the grilling, instead I asked him to teach me a few important tips so that I could grill for both of us. Even if all I do is get the grill pre-heated before he gets home it is a huge time-saver for him when it comes to cooking time.

Grilled Chicken

Just Like Brook's BBQ Chicken

Heating: Take as much time as you need to let the grill reach optimal temperature. I’ve made the mistake of throwing meat or fish on the grill too early and have paid the price. To help a grill preheat fully keep it covered with the lid and read the thermometer on the lid or use a handheld instant read thermometer.

Direct & Indirect Heat: If you are using a charcoal grill it is especially easy to set up direct/indirect heat. Move the coals to one side of the grill and consider the area above that your direct heat. The area without coals underneath is indirect heat. This enables you to move your food as needed: if the skin is caramelizing too quickly move it toward the indirect heat, vice versus if it needs to get crispier. Delicate meats, fish or vegetables often do better grilled over indirect heat. Sometimes even with a layer of aluminum foil on top of the grill. For a richer taste and caramelized skin grill your meat directly over the flame.

Essential Tools: There are three grilling tools that are worth investing in: long-handled tongs with teeth, a long-handled spatula, grill brush. We also have two vegetable grill baskets, one burger grill basket and a paint brush we use for basting, but we usually buy them and replace them each season. They get so dirty! Just buy good enough quality products so that they will last you one season. Some people swear by long grilling mitts and pronged forks, but they aren’t necessary unless you are grilling heavy, tough cuts of meat.

Maintenance: The key to delicious food is good grill maintenance. After each three or four grilling cycles in a charcoal grill be sure to scrape out the bottom in order to get rid of any food debris that hasn’t burned off. Following each grilling cycle let the grill stay heating until the food debris on the grate burns off or can be scraped off. You want to grate to be completely clean by the time the grill is cooled so it will be ready for the next meal.

Burgers

Uncle Will's Burgers

Naptime Chef Grilled Food Philosophy: Of course, it is next to impossible to grill your dinner at naptime, but a lot of the essential grilling prep can be done well in advance. Here are the things I like to do in advance when I know we’ll be grilling that evening:

1) Marinate meats

2) Making grilled/barbecue sauces

3) Slice and prep vegetables

4) Carve or cut meats as needed

5) If using, prepare meat and vegetables on skewers

 

Here are Some Great Naptime Chef Grilling Recipes, all of which can be prepared in advance:

1) Uncle Will’s Burgers

2) Uncle Will’s Chimichurri {Webisode}

3) Lemon-Rosemary Grilled Chicken

4) Just like Brook’s BBQ Chicken

5) Perfect Grilled Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish

Grilled Swordfish