If there’s anything that makes a great party, it’s good food! With the weather heating up, it’s time to fire up the grill and develop some truly memorable flavors. Here are some great grilling tips to make your next outdoor party a success!

1. Choose Your Fuel- The age old debate of gas vs. charcoal seldom has a winning side. Choose your fuel based on your grill type and the flavors you hope to develop. Gas is more clean-burning than charcoal, and does not flavor your food. Charcoal, on the other hand, offers a rich smokiness to food that is a great compliment to steaks and burgers.

2. Heat It Up!- For best results, preheat your grill for 15-25 minutes before you even start cooking. A properly heated grill will sear the outside of your food, giving you beautiful grill marks, while keeping the inside tender and juicy. Preheating your grill also prevents food from sticking, making for an easier cleanup!

3. Brush It Off- Stuck on food and grease is easier to remove when your grill is hot. If you didn’t clean the grill after your last use, use a wire brush to scrape off excess debris after preheating. Scrape again immediately after use.

4. Grab The Grease- Lean meats such as chicken and fish have a tendency to stick to even a properly preheated grill. Using tongs, grab an oil soaked paper towel and rub it quickly over the grill. Never use cooking spray on a hot grill, as the can may explode and cause serious injuries.

5. Soak It Up!- For best flavor results, marinate your meat for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling. Some meat benefits from a longer marinade. Whether you choose to marinate for a few minutes or a few hours, a good soak in flavorful liquid will increase the tenderness of your meat while infusing lip smacking flavors. It’s finger lickin’ good!

6. Cook It Through- Under cooked foods are the quickest way to make your barbecue a real drag. The easiest and safest way to make sure your meat is properly cooked is to use an meat thermometer. This reads internal temperature, and a quick online chart can tell you whether or not your food is ready to serve.

7. Use A Basket- Annoyed that your vegetables and tofu keep falling through the grill rack? Invest in a grill basket! They are relatively inexpensive and hold the foods that are too cumbersome to turn one by one, as well as those that tend to slip through the cracks.

8. Tame The Flames- Grill flare ups may look pretty, but they don’t taste as good as they look! Trim off excess fat on meats prior to grilling, and keep a squirt bottle of water next to the grill to quickly douse any flare ups before they have a chance to taint the flavor of your food.

9. Let It Rest- Prior to cutting and serving meat, let it rest on a clean plate tented loosely with aluminum foil for approximately ten minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute themselves throughout the meat, keeping your meat tender and delicious.

10. Serve A Variety- Remember, not everyone likes burgers and dogs! Serve a variety of foods to keep all of your guests happy and make for a real crowd pleaser!

Preparing for an outdoor party is no easy task, and one that only a real grill master can accomplish. With these ten easy tips, your inner grill master is sure to be released, and your next outdoor party is bound to be a hit!

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