For my family a great summer is all about outdoor fun and healthy BBQ grilling. I have always loved summer outdoor activities such as going to the beach or the lake which usually involves grilling. I used to be afraid of the grill and cooking in general but then I married a chef who taught me the basics and beyond.
I will tell you what I know about grilling and there is more info in our book Mediterranean Paleo Cooking now in Costco for a limited time (July 2016).
Since going Paleo about 6 years ago I found that Costco has all my favorite Paleo items. Seafood, chicken, steaks and chops are some of our favorite foods to grill and Costco makes it easy to stock up and have all the grilling essentials on hand to wow your friends and family.
Top 10 Summer BBQ Grilling Tips with Costco
Start with the Great Meat:
I often shop at the farmers market to get local and pastured meats but sometimes when I am cooking for a big group it can be cost prohibitive. Then I head down to my local Costco for organic ground beef, organic chicken and grass fed lamb all at amazing prices. We can stock up while I am there and have plenty in the freezer for the next get together. I especially love the boneless and grass fed leg of lamb and lamb chops from New Zealand. They have all the tasty accompaniments including spices and vegetables.
Spice it Up:
Costco has amazing spices for grilling. Paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, are must haves for your seasoning blends. Costco also has whole peppercorns and unrefined sea salt and Himalayan salt that is a must for making your steak great. Also dried herbs such as organic oregano and basil can be used to flavor your meat before grilling. I avoid many conventional seasoning blends due to artificial flavors.
My favorite is to make Kefta Kebabs with garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and fresh cilantro from Mediterranean Paleo Cooking, now in Costco. I also like to use Kirkland organic olive oil and Kirkland balsamic vinegar when prepping my meats because they help disperse the spices and herbs evenly. Make sure to marinade your meats for an hour or two before cooking for awesome flavor to wow your friends. An extra bonus is that when meat is marinated in olive oil, vinegar, wine or lemon juice it can reduce the carcinogenic compounds that can form when grilling by up to 80%. This makes marinating worth the effort and your tastebuds will also thank you.
Make Sure the Grill is Hot:
This is the key to getting a great sear on your meat which will lock in the flavor and make a nice crust. If you start with a cool grill or frying pan you won’t get the results you are looking for and the taste will be lacking. If using cast iron make sure to melt the fat and look for the hiss when you put the meat down.
Use a Healthy Cooking Fat:
When marinating or cooking meat always use a healthy fat. The best liquid oils for marinating meat are avocado oil or olive oil because unlike polyunsaturated oils they don’t go rancid before even being bottled. For solid cooking fats use refined coconut oil or Kerrygold butter to coat your grill or grill pan, if needed.
Cook Less for Success:
When you are cooking meat on the grill it is a good guide to touch it for firmness. If it is very soft it is still rare. When it gets more done it won’t be as spongy. I like a medium steak that is a little bit pink in the middle but usually when in restaurants it is over done because it they take it off the grill too late. Many people don’t realize that a steak keeps cooking when they take it off the grill so take it off a little early for best results. You can always cook it a little more but you can’t go back if you over cook it.
Skip the Over Flip:
Sometime when people are unsure of how to cook steak or just nervous they will flip meat to many times to the detriment of the taste. This will cause the meat to over cook, becoming tough and the succulent crust that people love will not build up.
When you cut steak right away after grilling the juices flow out letting the wonderful taste escape. Do yourself a favor and let it rest for 3-5 minutes before slicing and your senses will thank you. This is what all the top chefs, including my husband, recommend and I agree!
Fillet Chicken Breasts:
When cooking lean meat such a chicken breast it is best to fillet it, meaning cutting it into thinner pieces for more even cooking. To do this take the breast sideways in your hand and cut across as if it was a sandwich but don’t cut all the way leaving about 1/2 an inch uncut. Open up the breast and lay it flat then season to your liking. The meat will be easier to cook and more tender for slicing and chewing. A whole chicken breast is very thick and it will take forever to grill but by slicing it it will cook in half the time and still be tender for your guests.
Fat for Forgiveness:
Fatty meat is always more forgiving when it comes to being grilled, especially by a novice cook. Choose a fattier cut such as ribeye or ground beef that will still be good even if it is over cooked a bit. This is especially is true for grass fed meats which are naturally leaner anyway. Getting more fat from healthy sources may be unnerving if you are new to Paleo cooking but it will improve the taste and your health. Don’t worry fat from organic, grass fed animals is lower in inflammatory omega-6 fats than conventional beef making it more like eating seafood.
Add Great Sides:
Costco has a great selection of vegetables that you can throw on the grill for a full meal without heating up the oven. Eggplant, asparagus, zucchini, colored peppers and sliced onions, found at Costco, are all great tasting and easy options to grill. Wash and slice the produce into strips, if needed, and then just the marinate the veggies in some olive oil, salt and pepper before grilling . Everyone will be so impressed with your culinary skills and they will scarf up these tasty vegetables.
If you don’t have a grill outside, the oven can be just as good. We often use the oven for grilling in the winter time. The key is a good grill pan that is hot and well coated (we use this one) but they have a great cooking tools at Costco too. Also finishing in a preheated oven will take your dish from good to great. Make sure to never use a pan with high sides because it creates a steam effect that will make steaks chewy. Also dry your steaks with a towel before grilling because excess water will also make steam and turn your great meat into a rubbery mess. A dab of ghee on the top of the steak when serving will make it beautiful and tasty.
Herbs are a wonderful way to spice up your steak. One issue to be aware of is that fresh herbs will burn quickly so it is best to make them into a pesto or an herb infused oil for best results. Herbs are a great source of antioxidants and phytonutrients that support long term heath.
Sauce It Up:
Summer meats are made that much better with sauces that add flavor and nutrients. Some of the best ideas are found in Mediterranean Paleo Cooking are Hollandaise, pesto, babagahnous, tahini dipping sauce and dairy free tatziki. Also there is a dairy free ranch on my blog.
Eat with Your Eyes:
Also Costco has great deals on cookbooks such as my cookbook Mediterranean Paleo Cooking which has 423 pages of cooking tips and healthy recipes that will please every foodie as well as the beginner cook. Get it now for a limited time starting in July 2016 until.. who knows, but it will be over soon.
If you follow these tips your summer grilling will be the talk of the neighborhood. Costco can be your partner in culinary success for many tasty, healthy and affordable Paleo grill-outs.
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