In a sea of fad diets, it’s easy to lose track of what’s realistic. The sensible solutions (think: a healthy, well-balanced diet) might seem bland, or too hard when you...
Welcome to summer! With the warm weather comes outdoor picnics and BBQs and the smell of char on the grill. Here at Foodsmart, we love this type of cooking because it's so flavorful and healthy. To get you prepped for the season, here's a quick list of our favorite seasonings for summer recipes and a check list to get your grill in tip top shape!
Rubs & Marinades: There are shelves upon shelves of marinades, rubs, and seasoning recipes at your local store. When you’re planning your next summer BBQ, how do you know when to use what? We’re here to help you figure it all out so you can focus on a delicious and healthy summer spread.
What’s the difference between a rub and a marinade?
Rubs Rubs are a dry blend of sugar, salt and spices. There are no liquids added and it helps to create a crust of sorts on the food item and locks in moisture. The ingredients often include things like paprika, brown sugar and salt, which add both flavor and texture. The rub can be applied up to an hour before cooking to amp up the flavor. A solid formula for making a rub is 1 part sugar, 1 part salt and 1 part spices.
Marinades: Marinades are a blend of spices with the addition of moisture from oil and acidic liquids like vinegar or citrus. The acid helps tenderize the protein and bumps up the flavor. Tougher or larger cuts can marinate longer, from 12 to 24 hours. On the flip side, smaller cuts of protein and delicate shellfish and fish should only be marinated for around an hour so the acid doesn't start to “cook” and toughen the final product. The rule -of-thumb ratio for marinades is 3-to-1, three parts oil and 1 part acid plus any spices or aromatics you'd like to add.
Should I buy store bought marinades and rubs or make them myself?
Common ingredients used for marinades and rubs like Italian dressing, packaged seasonings, and even soda are easy to reach for but can contain lots of unnecessary sodium and sugar. The good news is that most of the items you need can be found in your pantry! And as a bonus, you can control the seasonings, sodium and sugar.
Prep your grill: Before you fire up your home grill, use this easy checklist to make sure your experience with be flavorful and effortless!
- Check for leaks. Put soapy water on hoses, tubes, the regulator and the valves. Turn on the propane tank and look for growing bubbles. Try tightening the connections. If the bubbles still stick around, you've got a gas leak.
- Scrub the interior down with warm soapy water. Be sure to avoid oven cleaner- it can damage the grill
- Take off the grates and clean them separately with a soft wire brush.
- Dump used briquettes, ash and grease and clean the grease cup and replace it if needed.
- Wipe down the burners, making sure nothing is rusted. Replace any worn-out burners or burner tubes.
- Check the ignition pieces and scrape off any grease and residue with sandpaper.
- Check the burners' wires to see that they are not chewed through.
- Also scrub grease stains off the exterior. If the outside of your grill is stainless steel, use a cleaner made for that material.
- Do the tighten-up. check the bottom of the grill to see if any squeaky wheels or hinges.
- Make sure your grilling tools are in good repair and that you have everything you need for successful meal prep.