Most of us appreciate the idea of outdoor grilling and eating in the summer. Almost any type of food can be delicious straight from a grill, from hotdogs and burgers to chicken breasts and grilled veggies. On the other hand, meteorologists predict a hot summer for the U.S., so be sure you know how to stay safe when cooking outdoors.
Cooking outside when it’s hot — dos and don’ts
Standing in front of a fire or gas grill on a sweltering day can put the grill master at serious risk of heat-related health issues. In other words, it helps to plan ahead before you start grilling on those scorching summer days. Things to consider include:
- Do clean your grill ahead of time. You should be ready to go when it’s time to begin cooking. In addition, be sure to have the necessary supplies on hand, like a bag of charcoal or a full propane tank.
- Don’t get dehydrated. Make sure you drink enough to replace the liquids you’re losing to the heat. Water is best, but sports drinks can also help. Whatever your favorite beverage, be sure to have enough of it to replenish your energy and keep you thoroughly hydrated.
- Do limit your alcohol intake. Despite the massive attraction of an ice-cold beer, remember that alcohol is also dehydrating. You can drink more later if you like but take it easy on alcoholic beverages while you’re losing liquids over the grill.
- Do plan a menu that allows you to make some items ahead of time. For example, you can grill vegetables early, dress them, and serve them cold. In addition, you can prepare cold items like coleslaw and potato or macaroni salads the night before and bring them out just for serving. Try to avoid a menu where you have to grill everything, all at the last minute.
- Do put your grill in a shaded area. There’s no reason your grill needs to be in a sunny spot. Besides, the grill master will be likely be grateful for welcoming the reduction in ambient heat. Watch out for sun burn, too.
- Do use tools designed for a grill. Those extra-long handles on the griller’s toolsets are intended to help you stay away from the extreme heat of the grill itself.
- Don’t burn your meats. Excessive charring of meats creates nasty chemical compounds that can make you sick. Too much charring doesn’t taste well either.
Benefits of grilling
Assuming you’ve taken the precautions to avoid heatstroke, using a grill can be a healthy way to cook. For example, cooking on a grill lets you:
- Reduce fat content. Cooking on a grill doesn’t remove all the fat from your meats, but it does melt some of it away. The fat that melts off your meat and poultry falls harmlessly onto your flame or coals and doesn’t linger to keep basting your meat or adding to its calories.
- Retain moisture and nutrients. Using a grill sears your meats, keeping the moisture inside. In addition, you don’t boil away nutrients in a cooking liquid, ensuring that your food is delicious and nutritious.
- Cook creatively. Grilling is a versatile option that lets you cook veggie burgers, fish, fresh vegetables and even fruit, adding tasty and low-calorie treats to your outdoor meal. Take the opportunity to be creative!
Although there are definite advantages to grilling, you should consider and minimize the downsides that also come with it:
- Cooking on a grill isn’t all fun in the sun. As we noted above, it’s hot, and standing over a grill makes it hotter.
- Cleanup is messy. The grill gets dirty with cooking residue, and the grill master will likely need and want a shower afterward. Dealing with charcoal ashes are also part of the messy cleanup.
- Preheating time is long. With your stove, you turn it on and cook. With a grill, you need to wait for it to reach the proper cooking temperature.
First Centennial Mortgage can help
Need a shady spot or a flatter surface to ensure the best grill placement at your home? If you don’t have a deck or patio but want to consider one, First Centennial Mortgage can help you look into financing the add-on. Reach out to our mortgage loan experts today.