Barbecue season is officially upon us! There's something relaxing about firing up the grill and cooking up a tasty spread for friends and family. If you're like us and invite people over to your house for grilling season, you can rack up a pretty hefty grocery bill if you aren't careful. Between the meat, salads, drinks and charcoal/propane, one meal can put a substantial hole in your pocket. If you're planning on holding a cookout soon, here's some tips to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck!
BYOS (Bring Your Own Stuff)
If you're hosting a party, you always have the option of letting your guests bring their own meats/salads to share and have a potluck style grilling party. This ensures that they'll have something to eat that they like, and will ease the strain on your wallet as well. If you are going to ask guests to bring a side dish, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have assigned dishes so you don't end up with 50 pounds of potato salad.
Know Your Meats
In a perfect world, we'd all be grilling Filets and Ribeye steaks, but the reality is that neither of those cuts of meat are on sale very often. Instead of splurging on the absolute best cut of meat, instead do some research and see what is comparable. Sirloin, chuck roast and other cuts of meat are often times on sale and much less expensive than your prime cuts. Not only that, but if you let them marinade for a little while, they'll break down and become more tender! So don't fret over the fact that you can't afford a filet...it's really not a huge deal.
Prep the Food Yourself
If you're a burger fan, we'd highly recommend that you invest in a meat grinder. Buy your meats in bulk and grind the burger yourself. You'll save money, and the meat will be fresher, leading to more tasty burger. Along the same line, instead of purchasing pre-made seasoning packets, create your own mixtures at home with what you have. Honestly, a little salt, pepper and garlic powder will go a long way in the flavor department.
Make sure you are giving your grill a little TLC every now and again to make sure it doesn't need to be replaced before its time. For instance, if you grease the grill before you put your meat/veggies on it, it will make it easier to flip your food, but also makes sure that you won't have to replace your grill grate due to rusting and an inability to scrape off the old food. If you have a garage, bring your grill inside when the weather isn't great (like the 6 months of winter). Rusty grills can disintegrate before your very eyes and before you know it, you'll be searching for a new one.
If you want to grill, but can't afford meat, try grilling up some of your favorite veggies (like a cauliflower "steak") or find a recipe for a tasty veggie burger.
-The Taconnet Team