(Family Features) With warmer temperatures and sun-filled days arriving, there are few better ways to celebrate the summer season than by firing up the grill. Whether preparing a simple dinner at home or a backyard bash for a crowd, grilling is an easy way to add sear and flavor to your favorite meats and vegetables.
The perfect party, regardless of the number of guests, requires proper preparation, attention to detail and a few handy tricks around the grill to serve up delicious options for all in attendance. However, hosting a great get-together doesn’t have to be complicated.
To up your grilling game this summer, try these tips from Chef Rick Bayless of Macy’s Culinary Council, a national culinary authority featuring some of the nation’s leading chefs.
Use the Right Tools
Aside from fuel, there are several cooking tools that are essential for grilling, including a meat thermometer, long-handled spatula and tongs, grill mitts and a grill brush. Bayless’s go-to gadgets are a basket to prepare whole fish and a cast-iron grill grate to achieve marks and depth of flavor.
Get to Know the Fire
When grilling for a party, planning ahead is key, according to Bayless. It can be helpful to know the hot spots of the grill and the distance from grates to flame. Start early if roasting a larger piece of meat, while thinner cuts can be thrown on the grill after the party begins and your guests arrive.
Keep it Simple
Bayless recommends a simple menu that features tried and true flavor profiles nearly everyone loves. For appetizers, he suggests grilling vegetables and adding them to guacamole with bacon. Pair with wedges of grilled pita for dipping, which is an unexpected alternative to typical chips.
For a main entree, Bayless suggests making meat the star and serving up ribeye steaks marinated in garlic, chilies and fresh lime juice. To cap off the meal, his go-to dessert is grilled cornmeal pound cake, served warm and topped with ice cream, berries or whipped cream.