Ah, yes, weather permitting (and even sometimes not), thousands (millions?) of grills across the country will be fired up to char something with family and friends.
My first tip for the grilling-minded is for barbecue chicken and it comes from Mom. She takes leg quarters and marinates them in Italian dressing (straight from the bottle into a large baggie and if you can let it sit overnight in the fridge, even better), to start, and then pre-cooks them a bit in the microwave. Now, don’t shriek, it’s actually an excellent idea since it’s SO tough to get the chicken to cook evenly on the grill without one part getting over cooked or it taking forty forevers. So you par-cook the legs in the microwave and THEN put them on the grill to finish cooking and get that lovely caramelized finish and a good brush with the barbecue sauce of choice.
Did you know that chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees? Now you do. Get out those meat thermometers and make sure the fleshiest bit is up to temperature before serving yourself or your guests. Pork should also always be cooked fully (no pink!) to reduce the risk of trichinosis. Beef and lamb can be cooked anywhere from 140 (rare) to 170 (well done) without too much worry (though why you’d want well-done lamb is beyond me!).
Most recipes suggest throwing out the marinade once it’s been used but you can actually use it for a sauce IF you bring it to a boil and keep it boiling for several minutes (5 is a good number) to “cook” any of the raw meat juices that are in there.
Finally, a true tale of grilling no matter what. It was my high school graduation party and the house was pretty full of guests. The plan had been to grill but the weather was atrocious: rainy and grey. But, the show must go on so Mom changed into her swimsuit and shorts and went outside with an umbrella to tend the grill as needed. Of course, if you’ve got the grill lid in one hand and tongs in the other, how are you going to hold the umbrella? In your cleavage, of course.
So don’t let a little water dampen your party this Memorial Day weekend.