The Fourth of July is a federal holiday in the United States that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which was signed on July 4, 1776, and declared the American colonies’ autonomy from Great Britain. Today, people across the the country celebrate Independence Day by having parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches, ceremonies and watching incredible firework displays, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government and traditions of the United States.
One activity that has become an integral part of our nation’s traditions, especially during the Fourth of July weekend, is a festive barbecue, or cookout. The most important part of any barbecue is, of course, the food on the grill. So, listed below, you will find some surefire grilling tips that will make you the king or queen of your BBQ. Break out the watermelon, shuck the corn on the cob, fire up the coals and get ready to celebrate Independence Day in style. –christa e. jackson
♦ To prevent the meat from sticking on the grill, use clean racks and coat them with vegetable oil or a nonstick vegetable oil spray.
♦ Have a spray bottle full of water nearby your grill in case of flare-ups.
♦ Do you use charcoal briquettes for your grill’s heat? Then, light the coals about 30 minutes before cooking. If you’re using lighter fluid, make sure the fire is completely out before slapping the meat on the grill or else you’ll have the nasty fuel taste in your meat.
♦ Don’t leave the meat out in room temperature for longer than one hour. This will make bacteria grow at an exponential rate, plus it will make the meat less fresh. If you need to thaw out meat, do so overnight or all day in the refrigerator.
♦ Don’t piece your meat with a fork or prongs. The juices will escape, making the meat drier and less flavorful. Use a spatula or tongs to move and flip your food.
♦ The quick and easy way to grill large vegetables, such as potatoes and ears of corn, is to coat them heavily in butter, sprinkle on some seasoned salt, wrap securely in aluminum foil and throw them on the grill.
♦ To reduce the amount of browning or blackening of meat, only apply barbecue or other tomato-based sauces containing sugars during the last 10 or so minutes of grilling.
♦ Don’t rely solely on BBQ sauce to flavor your meat. Experiment with different types of marinades, seasonings and rubs to give your food unique and delicious tastes.
♦ Marinades tenderize meat (in addition to giving them some wild flavoring). If it all possible, marinade overnight but, if you can’t, try to give at least an hour of the meat soaking in the marinade sauce.
♦ Don’t add any salt until the meat is cooked to prevent it from getting dry and tough, as the salt will draw away moisture.
♦ While cooking, keep the top and bottom grill vents open. Close them when cooking is finished to extinguish the coals.
♦ The easiest way to clean a soiled grill is to scrub it with a stiff, wire brush while it’s still warm.