Here Are a Few Tricks to Keep Your Grilling Both Fun and Safe

Summer’s here, time to forget about slaving in a hot kitchen and fire up the barbecue instead. Here are a few pointers to make sure that you have a fun and healthy summer grilling on the back deck.

This year, it’s all about the tapenade

Notice that’s tapenade with a lower case “t.” Tapenade is, traditionally, finely chopped olives and capers mixed with olive oil and used as a garnish or topping on everything from meat to crackers. Today, tapenade is an en vogue catch all term used to describe any finely chopped medley. Try this simple variation:

Finely sauté it in a pan until the mushrooms turn to a golden brown (ideally on a grill with a side burner, or in a pan over the grill itself if you don’t). The result is a tapenade that can spice up any of your grill meats. Spread it across a hot dog the way you would relish, or turn a regular hamburger into a shroomburger with the tapenade and a slice of lightly melted swiss cheese.

Plus, you’ll look sophisticated in the eyes of your friends when they ask “What’s this?” and you respond by saying “Oh, just a quick tapenade I whipped up.”

Use the grill for finishing

Nothing kills a summer barbecue quite like salmonella. Impatient grillers may have a tendency to undercook chicken, but there’s a sure fire way to prevent this from happening. Preboil your chicken (boil it in stock rather than straight water for added flavor), and then finish cooking it on the grill. You’ll end up with a more evenly cooked meat, but you’ll still be able to the smoky flavor and texture that a grill affords. Beyond that, you may not notice much of a difference, but you’ll feel safer about the food you serve to family and guests.

Branch out from meat

We tend to think of grills as good for hamburgers and hot dogs. Break out of this dull approach to grilling and start to think of your grill as a truly multipurpose cooking method.

Grilled vegetables are a great place to start. Try taking zucchini or yellow crookneck squash and cutting them in to long, thin strips of at least six inches in length and at least two thirds of an inch in thickness (overly thin strips tend to turn mushy too quickly). Periodically baste them with a mixture of olive oil, lemon pepper, and salt as you sear them on the grill. The result is a tasty and highly attractive addition to any meal.

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