Get Your Grill On: Entertaining on a Budget

It is Memorial Day weekend and it is time to get your grill on. But before you go throw your meat on the heat, you need to check your grill and clean it out.

What you need
Don’t fall for fancy grill cleaning equipment. In the end, all you need is steel wool and a stiff wire brush. Use non-toxic cleaners or mild dish detergent. Remember you are going to cook your food on that thing and you don’t want powerful chemicals messing up the flavor of your steak.

Where to clean

  • Grease traps
  • Burners
  • Check the hoses
  • Between the burner and the grate
  • And don’t forget the grate itself
  • Remember to replace lava rocks and ceramic briquettes
  • It doesn’t have to be sparkly clean, but a clean grill helps control blockage, buildup, and ensures that your grill actually fires up on the big day.

    Meat on the cheap
    Everyone is feeling the pinch these days and the last time we saw the price of a rib-eye, we wept. Here are some good cheap cuts of meat that will grill up nicely for you.

  • Bone-in chicken: Bone in chicken is cheaper than boneless and often darker meat like thighs and legs are cheaper still. Also, they grill up nicely as darker meats are more moist and won’t dry out.
  • Pork chops: Pork is pretty inexpensive right now and it will make a delicious meal as long as you don’t grill it too fast and at too high of a temperature. Pork should be grilled slower at a lower temp.
  • Flat-iron steak: Flat-iron is relatively cheap compared to its other steak counterparts. It can be pretty tender too if you let it soak in a wet acid (like citrus or vinegar) marinade.
  • Marinades and rubs
    Don’t buy your marinades or your rubs. Ever. There is no need. You can make simple delicious marinades and rubs at home. Here are our favorite recipes.
    Spicy Asian Marinade from

    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon dried chile flakes or hot chile paste
    1 tablespoon virgin olive oil

    Mix together and marinate!

    Tennessee Rub-Down from

    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 tablespoons ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons paprika
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1 1/2 tablespoons ground white pepper
    1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
    1 1/2 tablespoons salt
    1 tablespoon garlic powder

    Mix together and rub down your meat and let it sit for at least 8 hours overnight.

    The key to good grilling is planning ahead. Don’t rush it. Let your grill heat up and start marinating your meat the day before. Also, check out Epicurious’ Grilling 101 for more great grilling tips.

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