Top 10 Tips for Grilling

With the 4th of July right around the corner, it’s the ideal time to share my top 10 grilling tips with you. Hopefully these will help you get started on a long term grilling adventure.

As always, if you have any questions, comment here, email me, or catch me on facebook.

Don’t forget to take loads of photos of your grilled creations so you can enter the Great American Vegan Cookout. The more you enter, the better your chances of winning. Good luck!

Preparing Seitan and Pepper Fajitas from Grills Gone Vegan

Top Ten Grill Tips

1.    Prep! You know that fancy pants “mis-en-place”? Well, it really works. The more you have yourself set up, the better off you’ll be. Cooking on a grill isn’t an exact science, so it’s very helpful to have your next ingredient ready to go. Timing varies.  Put the ingredients on a side table in the order you want to use them in, if possible, and you’re off to a fool-proof start.

2.    Preheat that grill! This is especially important if you are grilling food directly on the grill. The only way you’ll get those perfect grill marks is on a hot grill. Before you plan to cook, get the grill up to temperature. (Bonus tip: don’t move the food until you can see it’s getting grill marks. Most food will shrink a little away from the grill when it’s marked, but if not, carefully peek under it using a spatula.)

3.    Some food is less likely to stick if you oil the food itself. For example, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. For other foods, such as most vegetables, it’s enough to just oil the grill right before you put the food on it. I’ll admit to being a dare devil and sometimes using grill spray, but a better way is using tongs and an oiled paper towel.

4.    Marinate, marinate, marinate! For tofu, tempeh, and seitan, I like to marinate for a minimum of a few hours, or up to 3 days in the refrigerator in a covered container. Vegetables only need about an hour, while mushrooms only need 30 minutes because they soak up the flavor like sponges. Use the marinade to baste while cooking, too.  (Bonus tip: for sugary sauces, such as some barbecue sauces, only add them during the last few minutes as they can burn.)

5.    When grilling vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions and so on, it’s handy to grill extra for use later in the week. Grilled onions and pepper can take a sandwich to the next level. Eggplant and zucchini can be wonderful additions to spaghetti sauce. Get creative!

6.    Grill baskets can be used for grilling vegetables that fall through the grates too easily. They are ideal for foods like green beans or a cook “stir fry”. Should that be “grill fry”?

7.    Know your grill. If it’s a gas grill, and you have multiple burners, keep some on lower heat. Move the foods that might have gotten done quicker to that cooler space to keep them warm, but to slow their cooking. If your grill has an upper shelf, that can also be used for keeping food warm. With a charcoal grill, you’ll have cooler spots that can be used in the same way.

8.    For gas grilling, always have an extra propane tank on hand to avoid disappointment!

9.    Share the fun! It’s natural for people to gather around fire (or in the kitchen), and outdoor grilling draws people the same way. Don’t hesitate to pass the tongs to someone else, so they can have some fun, too. (Bonus tip: the right equipment is vital. Use long handled tongs, silicon brushes for basting, and an oven mitt.)

10.     When you’re done cooking, scrape the grates of the grill with the type of brush suggested by the manufacturer. It’s easiest to get the food debris off while the grill is still hot. If you prefer, you can clean the grill (after it’s hot) before you start cooking the next time.

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  1. Posted July 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Great tips Tami! I’m still on the hunt for a grill basket, I keep kicking myself for not having one when I need it.

  2. Posted July 4, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Maggie, if you have a Kohls or World Market near you, they’re about $15 to $20. Be sure to enter the photo contest, too. You have until the 8th.

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