It’s officially grilling season in Chicagoland—woo hoo! You know what that means? Easy prep and less dishes to do thanks to your good old buddy the grill. I know that there are many women who are intimidated by the metal beasts that await on their patios, but you don’t have to be! My no-nonsense tips will help you “Grill Like a Girl” in no time.
- Think safety first. Have a cute statement bracelet on? A dangly necklace? Take them off before you start working with the grill. You don’t want them to get hot or somehow get you in a painful situation. You can always put them back on when you go to eat, so you can still be stylish during dinner.
- Check your supplies before you start cooking. If using a gas grill, check the amount of propane you have. If using a charcoal grill, make sure you have enough charcoal and lighter fluid. It isn’t fun to have to stop grilling to make a quick trek to the store. Trust me.
- Get great grilling supplies. This means getting a thick oven mitt (not some cheap one from the Dollar Store). Temperatures on a grill can get extremely hot and you want to stay safe, especially if you are moving around different food and pans on the grill, where there might be open flames.
- Get a great grill cleaning brush—and use it. You should clean the grill by scraping off any excess food from previous cooking sessions both before and after your grill your food. We have had the same fantastic cleaning brush from Crate and Barrel for the last few seasons and it hasn’t let us down.
- Season and dry your food before slapping it down on the grill. Especially when working with meats, you want to dry them off by patting them with a paper towel and then generously seasoning them with salt and pepper. After learning this trick in a grilling class, my food has tasted so much better, with stronger flavors and a nicer texture.
- Get the grill HOT. Before you put any food on the grill, you want it to be hot in order to get a nice sear on whatever you are cooking. You can always turn the temperature down (on a gas grill) or move the food over to the cooler side of the grill (if using a charcoal grill) after getting some initial color onto your fruits, veggies, or meats.
- Smell gas? Then most likely your grill didn’t start correctly. Turn everything off and start over. You do not want any gas accumulating near an open flame, especially when the hood of the grill is closed.
- Having trouble getting your charcoal grill to keep a steady flame? You can add a small amount of lighter fluid. Remember, the goal is to have hot coals (after a while they will get hot and red), not have a flame.
- Teach your kids about grill safety. My boys know to never go near the grill, whether it is on or off because it is HOT HOT HOT. We also use a bench blockade in front of the grill whenever it is in use.
Grill Recipe Inspiration