Grilling outdoors

Grilling outdoors is a fun way to bring family and friends together in a non-formal, relaxing type of atmosphere. It offers a nice change when it comes to preparing delicious, healthy meals.

There are a few safety tips one should consider before firing up the grill,

Food should not be thawed at room temperature. Marinate and thaw all foods in a refrigerator.
Meat will cook more evenly if it has been fully defrosted.
If you plan on using juices from raw meat or seafood to enhance flavor, always boil these juices for a full two minutes before using.
Keep poultry, seafood and raw meats separated from all other foods.
Do not use plates used to bring raw meat to the grill for serving. Use a clean plate to serve cooked meats.
Do not marinade your meat in plastic or aluminum containers as they are considered to be reactive.
Grilled food should not be left out for more then more then 2 hours. Food left out for over two hours should be discarded. If outside temperatures exceed 89 degrees foods should only be left out for one hour.
Always store left-over food in appropriate containers and refrigerate to prevent spoiling.

Depending on your lifestyle, there are several grilling options to best suit your needs.

A charcoal barbecue offers simplicity and is easy to use. It is also one of the least expensive ways to start your grilling adventure. Just add charcoal, light it and you are ready to start grilling. Burning charcoal produces a smoky aroma and enhances the taste of food without the need of adding smoking wood. There are many choices when it comes to purchasing charcoal. Most brands are easy to find, inexpensive and chemically produced to burn a long time. If you prefer to avoid chemicals and don’t mind the extra cost you may want to consider lump charcoal which does not contain chemicals and therefore does not burn as long but delivers clean, pure wood flavors. Coals need to be lit with some type of a charcoal starter. Lighter fluid is commonly used but many people prefer using an electric igniter as it does not require use of chemicals or flammables making it a safer and healthier choice. You will know when the coals have reached the correct cooking temperature when a layer of gray ash is evenly formed over the briquettes. This will usually take 30 to 45 minutes after lighting the coals. A good general guideline is to use approximately 30 briquettes per one pound of meat.

Another option to cook delicious meals outdoors is the use of a gas grill. This option is great if you do not have time to wait for coals to get hot. A popular and commonly used type of gas grill derives its heat by use of propane, though butane or natural gas grills are great options as well. Cooking on a gas grill is quick, simple and convenient. A single match is all that is needed to light a gas grill and you have immediate heat that is easily controlled with a turn of a knob. It’s operation is much like a gas stove so if you like to grill and run this may be a good option for you. If using a grill that requires propane, one important factor is knowing if you have enough gas to cook your meal. Propane tanks do not offer a gas gauge but there are is a quick method to find out if you are running on empty. Just tap the side of the tank. A solid thump sound without an echo indicates a full tank whereas an empty tank will lack the thumping sound producing only an echo. Working your way down the tank listening for the thumping sound will tell you how much gas is left in your tank.

Weather your choice is the use of gas or charcoal, grilling outdoors will have you cooking delicious, healthy meals while spending quality time with family or friends.

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