(my favorite burger: Grilled Bacon and Blue Burger with a Blue Cheese Aioli…. holy yum. I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week!)
Grilling is just easy. Of course, most of that ease comes from the fact I married a pyromaniac, but even if I was doing all the firey work myself, it would still be a simple meal option. This easy factor is why grilling is always my number one “go-to” when it comes to having guests over for dinner.
The strength of grilling lies in two places: seasoning and heat temperature. That’s it — nail those two things and you have one mouth-watering meal, regardless of what it is.
With just a few ingredients and a little fire, you can create dishes that leave your guests in awe of your seasoning and grilling prowess. Meals that make your own mother impressed with you — so much so that she will praise you right at the dinner table. . . mouth full of grilled corn, grilled onions and grilled pineapple, she will speak her amazement that “for someone who never cooked till high school, you are REALLY a good cook.”
Thank you, Ma’am.
(Grilled Sweet ‘n Sour Kabobs with homemade Sweet n’ Sour Sauce. The recipe that left my mother stealing bites from my Kidlets.)
For my grill-centric dinner parties, I like to keep it simple but make it delicious. Here are few ways I make sure every bite is easy, yummy and keeps everyone having fun.
Five Tips for Party-Time Grilling
1. Choose the best you can afford.
Regardless if you are grilling fruit, vegetables, pork, seafood, chicken or beef, take the time to inspect what you purchase and get the best quality your budget will allow. You will get better flavor and better texture later in the grilling process if you start with great produce or meat.
2. Not all temperatures are created equal.
Some people seem to think everything needs to be charred beyond belief to qualify as “grilling.” For the love of all that is good and holy, NO! If you want your guests to be smacking their lips with each bite, learn what temperatures work best with what foods. Some ingredients turn into miraculous meals with a low, slow heat. Others need a hot and furious flame to turn into mouth-watering goodness. If you don’t know the best cooking temperature for your recipe, head to the internet and find out! I promise the info will be there.
3. Invest in a cooking thermometer.
There is nothing worse than serving your guests undercooked meat — and in the case of chicken and seafood, it isn’t safe! If you can’t yet tell when various types of meat are done simply by look and feel, get a meat thermometer. They aren’t expensive and it will save you from serving undercooked food.
- Pork, beef, lamb and veal should all be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, and then allowed to rest (off the heat) for 3 minutes.
- Poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees
- Ground meats need to have an internal temp of at least 160 degrees.
It’s all about keeping your guests safe, folks.
4. Plan and prep ahead.
I despise still being in the kitchen, working, when my guests arrive. Does it happen? Of course it does — I have three children who like to create disasters right before guests ring my door bell.
But, if when I remember to spend a few minutes early in the day prepping recipes, I can avoid the rushed, panicked moments of trying to do everything while guests stand around hungry.
My favorite ways to save time?
- Chop or slice any vegetables and store them, refrigerated, in zip lock bags till you’re ready to use them.
- Rely on marinades. Mix them up in a large bowl or zip-lock bag and toss in your meat. They can marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours, creating all kind of yumminess. Then, when it’s party time, remove the meat, discard the remaining marinades, and get to grilling. No worries about trying to season everything — it’s already done!
5. Make it a pot-luck!
Grilling is so easy that it lends well to a casual, back-yard dinner party. So, let your guests help and create a communal meal. Simple salads, seasonal fruit, and great bread will be easy additions for guests to handle.
Share Your Tips and Win
These are just a few of my tips for grilling while also being the host. I would love if you would share your tips with me!
One of my lucky readers who answers below will win a $25 Sears Gift Card!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sears. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.