Find out 7 reasons why you should grill more in the summer, when the days are longer and the vibes are more laid-back.
Though we grill out year round here in Georgia, summer truly is prime grilling season. Summer grilling sets the stage for taking advantage of the longer days and laid-back attitudes.
We host “driveway dinners” as often as possible, where friends or family come over and we hang out in our driveway for hours. We let the kids play in the yard and on riding toys or a kid pool, while the adults catch up in the shade. The night always ends with summer grilling, including a feast of meat and veggies. Oftentimes, we are outside until the sun goes down.
If that little scenario isn’t up your alley, there are plenty of reasons why you should embrace summer grilling and step up your grill game during these hot months. See if any of these reasons are enough to lure you into piling up the charcoal or buying another tank of propane.
7 Reasons You Should Embrace Summer Grilling
1. It Makes Food Prep Easy
Whether you’re marinating meat or prepping vegetables, summer grilling makes prepping dinner quick and easy. I often marinate my meat in the morning and stick it back in the fridge until dinner time. Then, just before grill time, I’ll quickly prep any veggies, which simply means slicing them and dousing with oil and spices.
2. It Keeps Your House Interior Cooler
I don’t know about you, but I do everything I can to avoid cooking for long amounts of time in my oven in the summer. Sure, I’ll cook the occasional batch of muffins, but those bake for less than 20 minutes. Meats, veggies and casseroles cook anywhere from 30-60 minutes in an oven. That’s a long time to be pumping hot air into an already-warm house.
Summer grilling allows you to keep the heat outside, where it belongs. This way, your house stays cooler and your air conditioning isn’t working overtime.
3. It’s Easy to Eat Healthy
Summer grilling naturally lends itself to healthier meals. Typically, you grill fresher often seasonal foods that aren’t processed. Meats aren’t fried and you can choose seasonal summer veggies, such as summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and asparagus to add to your meal. When grilling vegetables, they cook quickly, allowing them to retain many of their vital nutrients.
4. Everyone Gets More Outside Time
One great benefit to summer grilling is that everyone in the family—even the resident cook (aka Mama)—gets more outside time. My husband typically keeps the kids outside while I am cooking dinner, but if we are grilling that night, I get to spend outdoor time with the family, too, instead of being stuck in the kitchen. It’s a wonderful perk for me and allows me to kick back and relax a bit during a usually busy time of day.
5. It Makes for Less Clean Up
Unlike cooking a casserole (and I love to cook casseroles in the winter, by the way), grilling makes for much less clean up. When I make casseroles, I use multiple pans, pots and dishes, as well as cooking utensils. But with grilling, it’s much simpler. Just marinate your meat in BPA-free plastic storage containers or glass storage containers. Or, for super easy clean up, use a disposable gallon or quart sized plastic bag.
You can also create foil packets for grilling. These can include vegetable sides, such as a packet full of asparagus. Or, you can make individual meals in packets that include both meat and veggies, much like a campfire packet. Cooking and prepping them in foil means you simply transfer them to a plate when they are ready and trash the foil.
6. It Gives Better Taste and More Flavor
If you give me the option of baked chicken or grilled chicken, I will choose grilled chicken every single time. The grill—gas or charcoal—simply gives the meat better flavor. The same can be said about vegetables. Grilling seems to bring out more of the flavor. Nowadays, many people also grill fruit, such as pineapple, peaches, pears or bananas.
7. It Allows You to be More Social
If you’ve wanted to host a dinner for friends but are weary of the pressure of cooking for a group, grilling is the perfect option. So long as you use a thermometer to ensure your meat is not overcooked or undercooked, grilling is a fail safe. You can easily host a cookout and do the majority of the prep work ahead of time so you can spend your time catching up with your guests.
What is your favorite benefit of summer grilling?