As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, people spend more time on outdoor activities, including cooking. This is a great time to think about fun and tasty ways to grill foods safely.
If your grill has been under cover, take time to make sure it’s clean and ready for use before throwing on your favorite foods. Clean your grill by scrubbing it with hot, soapy water before every use. Many gas grills have removable components that can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
When you’re ready to cook, allow the grill to heat up sufficiently to eliminate potential bacterial problems. If using a gas grill, check the burners to make sure they’re clear of any deposits to ensure a safe ignition and even flame.
Once the grill is prepped for use, it’s time to decide what to cook. Many foods lend themselves well to grilling. All it takes is a little creativity. Try a few of these non-traditional ideas:
- Cook vegetables right on the grill. Cut thick slices of vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, summer squash or onions, lightly baste with oil, season with your favorite herbs and place on a hot grill until tender and brown.
- Grill a pizza. Add a delicious grilled flavor to your favorite pizza by cooking directly on the barbecue. Roll out the pizza dough to the desired size, and place on the grill until lightly browned on both sides. Add sauce, cheese and favorite toppings to the crust and grill until cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Don’t forget dessert. Grill fruit kabobs, pineapple slices or peach halves over low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Serve with a scoop of low-fat ice cream or angel food cake for a healthful and delicious dessert.
A NECESSARY ACCESSORY
When grilling all types of meats, it’s very important to use a meat thermometer. It takes the guesswork out of cooking and helps prevent foodborne illness by insuring food is cooked to the proper temperature.
Properly use by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Be sure the end of the thermometer does not rest on the cooking surface. Use the chart to be sure that whatever you are cooking reaches the right internal temperature.
For more information about food safety and summer grilling, call the Texas AgriLife Extension Service – Wise County office at 940-627-3341.
Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.