BBQ Blunders

bbqI’ve got some simple tips to protect your family throughout the summer BBQ season.

What’s more “American” than the traditional summer BBQ? And, if you’re like most folks, you’ve messed it up! It might be as simple as burning your food or as painful as burning your hand.   

Do you understand how to clean your BBQ grill (or have you ever cleaned it?)

I asked a local BBQ expert about cleaning your grill and was it really possible to have a piece of your grill brush get stuck in your food? He said that a surgeon came into his store last summer and that it’s a problem that he sees quite often-YUCK!

Here are his suggestions to clean your grill properly:

  1. Clean your grill when it’s hot. You wouldn’t leave dishes with food stuck on them all night on your counter so at least knock the food off of your grill when you finish grilling.
  2. The more food that stays “stuck” on your grill the easier it will be for piece of your grill brush to get stuck there.
  3. You get what you pay for with a grill brush. Plan on spending around $20+ and it will last you for a few years.

Unsure about picnic food safety? How long can you actually leave foods out and still be safe?

Keeping food at proper temperatures – indoor and out – is critical in preventing the growth of foodborne bacteria. The key is to never let your picnic food remain in the “Danger Zone” – between 40° F and 140° F – for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly, and lead to foodborne illness.

  • Just as with cold food – these foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours, or 1 hour in temperatures above 90° F. If food is left out longer, throw it away to be safe.
  • Take two insulated coolers (one for drinks and the other for perishable foods) so warm air won’t reach the perishables each time someone grabs a chilled beverage.
  • On your way to the picnic, place coolers in the coolest part of your air-conditioned car rather than the trunk. At the picnic location, keep coolers tightly closed in a shady area and add ice often.
  • Keep picnic food in the coolers until you need them; remove raw food only when you’re ready to put it on the grill. (If you’re grilling in batches, keep the food that’s not being grilled in the cooler.)

How to feed a vegetarian friend with your BBQ grill!

I have friends that are vegetarians and I want them to have just as much fun at my parties as my meat eating friends. I’ve created this Grilled Salad recipe that uses my favorite kitchen gadget, The Barbeque Basket from BBQ FANS (ADD LINK) This basket is amazing because can veggies (or even fruit) of any size and nothing falls through the cracks-so less mess and no wasted veggies.

This is by far my most favorite way to cook veggies and I actually make my Grilled veggies all year long.


In the summer, I usually use:

  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Radishes (try them, so good!)
  • Bell peppers
  • Snap peas

I drizzle the veggies with avocado oil (avocado oil has a higher smoke point for grilling) and add salt & pepper to taste. You can get very creative with your seasonings and add in chili powder or curry. I will share my “secret” flavoring weapon, Green Magic Seasoning from Market Spice in Pike’s Place (see the link below to Market Spice). A little seasoning goes a long way so go easy-you can always add more after cooking.

I turn my grill to high and place my basket on the grill. Once the grill is hot, I turn the heat to medium and toss my veggies into the basket. I prefer my veggies to still be a bit firm, so keep an eye on the grilling time. Mine are usually ready in less than 8 minutes.

Once the veggies are cooked, I pour them out onto a try, let me cool for about 5 minutes and then I toss them with my vinaigrette.

To increase the protein content add in toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds and a little feta cheese.


3 smashed garlic cloves (I use the already peeled Christopher Ranch garlic)

3/4 cup of olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon (adds flavor without calories)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar (I use the Costco Kirkland signature brand)

1 Tbs of Dijon mustard

Salt & pepper to your liking

I smash the garlic on a cutting board and toss it into a bowl. I add the remainder of the ingredients to the blender bottle (or bowl) and whisk, whisk, whisk! This will blend the flavors and make it taste great. Too tart? You can add a touch more oil or even some very mashed avocado.



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