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Summer Grilling Tips To Impress Your Family And Friends This Labor Day

Summer may be on the way out, but you still have plenty of days left to barbecue to your heart's content. And there's no better way to give summer the send-off it deserves than a Labor Day cookout. If you're planning on firing up the grill for your friends and family at the end of the season, here are a few expert tips to keep in mind for an out-of-this-world meal everyone will want to savor.

Clean off your grill first

No matter what you plan to grill — whether it's hot dogs and hamburgers, shish kabobs and corn on the cob, or salmon and veggies — you want the food to taste as it should. That means you don't want any other flavors to linger once everything hits the serving trays. The best way to prevent that carry-over is to thoroughly clean your grill beforehand. Ideally, you'll want to use a metal brush to clean off the grates after every time you grill. But if you forgot last time, take a few minutes to scrape it down before you light it up.

Don't flatten or move your meat

You've probably been tempted to flatten down your burgers to hear that sizzle or flip them multiple times to ensure they cook through. But it's actually better if you don't do either of these things. Squishing your meats actually makes them lose taste and moisture (the fat is what causes that burst of flames). Unless you're okay with a bland burger, don't flatten them. And one flip is optimal for most meats; fewer flips is better in general. If you're worried about your meat sticking to the grill, just let it cook a little longer. It'll automatically unstick when it's time to flip!

Don't overcook

Even if you have friends and relatives who like a well-done piece of meat, resist the urge to overcook. That's because meat does continue to cook after it's taken off the grill. Meat temperatures can actually continue to increase by up to five degrees after it's taken off the flames. So invest in a meat thermometer and err on the pinker side. You can always throw it back on the grill if a guest asks for it. Otherwise, you may be faced with dry or overly charred burgers on your guests' dinner plates.

Let your meat rest

Before you slice up your meats and serve them on your melamine trays, you've got to let them rest. A lot of grill enthusiasts skip this step, but unless you want your steaks and burgers to be devoid of juice, you can't afford to leave this one out. Meat should sit for five to 15 minutes after cooking before you slice it up and distribute it on your serving platters. If you do this, your guests will always be sure to comment on how nicely your meat is cooked.

Serve your meats beautifully

It's absolutely true that we feast with our eyes first. So make sure everything you grill looks as delicious as it will taste! While you don't have to go crazy with your presentation, contrast should be your friend. Colorful elements like vibrant vegetables and bold herb garnishes can be a great start. And don't forget to serve on white melamine trays, which can make any meal look even more appetizing. The global tableware market is projected to exceed $41 billion by 2020, which means most grillers are paying more attention to how they serve their meals. Not only will white melamine trays look great, but they'll be durable enough for any outdoor picnic or BBQ.

From meats and veggies to dinner plates and melamine trays, you'll want your last cookout of the season to look and taste amazing. And when you want to make a lasting impression on your guests, be sure to follow these tips. You'll be known as The Grill Master in no time!

Photo by The Pig and Quill

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