Expert Grill Tips to Help You Master Your Next Cookout

Warm weather and fresh summer produce make me so excited for the summer grilling season! Born and raised in the South, I’m most excited about hot weather (no more snow)… and coming from a household with two professional chefs, "What’s for dinner?" is a common question in our house. The next questions are inevitably "Who’s cooking?" and "Who’s doing the dishes?" But magically, this conversation subsides when the grilling season is upon us, as flavoring, prep, cooking, and cleanup suddenly become super easy! We divide and conquer... I do the flavoring and prep and "Babe" perfects the heating of the grill and finishes the cooking. We tend to like traditional favorites such as beer can chicken, burgers (uh, Juicy Lucy, anyone?), cheesy potatoes, and veggies, but occasionally we try something new on the grill like this Grilled Romaine Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette. It’s a delicious and light starter, and it's sure to convert a non-salad-eater… it’s that good!

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With these tips you can become the master of your grill, with minimal cleanup. Grab a frosty beverage and cheers to summer-long grilling!

SPICE THINGS UP

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Have a plentiful spice rack! Variety and unique seasoning blends are a must for me. Might be a no-brainer, but spices are a quick way to impart bold flavor to your grilled meats and veggies. Don’t be afraid to season!

USE A MARINADE

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Marinate, if you have time. Allow your meat (or veggies) to marinate for better flavor in the end. Plan ahead and marinate overnight or over a lazy weekend.

ADD A LITTLE SMOKE

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Invest in a grill basket! It’s great to experience smoky flavor on summer produce when it’s cooked over an open flame. Using a grill basket allows veggies to soak in this yumminess, while not falling through the grill grates.

GET WOODSY

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Experiment with wood chips, cedar planks, or flavored wooden skewers to help flavor your food. They work wonders with fish and veggies. Many are sold in variety packs so you can experiment and decide what kind of "wood flavor" you like best imparted to your grilled food. Just be sure to soak wood planks and skewers in water at least one hour before grilling.

PREP WITH PAM®

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Use grilling spray. Be sure to spray your grill with PAM Grilling Spray BEFORE heating for no mess and easy cleanup.

TURN UP THE HEAT

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Make sure your grill is hot! This makes for an easier cooking experience. Chances are if you're experiencing sticking, this is the culprit. Create hot and warm zones to make sure food doesn’t overcook.

Rashanda Pruitt is a Culinary Product Specialist for ConAgra Foods.

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