Spring is here, and that means that we can finally bring our barbeques and grills out! There are plenty of reasons to get excited about outdoor grilling; not only does it make cooking faster and clean up easier, but it is also healthier, can give foods a new dimension of flavour, and makes entertaining a breeze.

Grilling is a fantastic way to cut some fat out of your food. Compared to cooking on the stove or in the oven, cooking meat on the barbeque does not sear in fat, but allows it to drip off. It also preserves essential nutrients found in foods that are sometimes lost with other cooking methods. Even with these inherent benefits, there are still steps that you can take to make your grilling even healthier and safer:

• Clean your grill! After each use, you should remove any residue left on the grill. Not only does this help make grilling safer, but also ensures that food cooks faster and does not take on the flavour of whatever was cooked the last time.

• Trim the fat. Removing the skin from poultry and trimming the excess fat from meats has the obvious benefit of reducing fat and it prevents large flare ups that produce unsafe substances, caused by dripping fat. It is also recommended that you trim any charred areas on meat.

• Cook your meats properly. E. coli is a dangerous bacteria that is found in the intestines of various animals and can be harmful. It can sometimes make its way to the surface of meats, but can be eliminated by simply cooking the outside of meat. Ground meats, like hamburgers, should be fully cooked, as the bacteria can get mixed in. With poultry, there is the added risk of salmonella, which can be eliminated by making sure that the poultry is fully cooked, with no pink areas.

• Use separate plates and utensils for raw and cooked meat. Always transfer cooked meats onto clean plates using tongs that have not come in contact with raw meat.

• Marinate your meat. Marinades can inject a wealth of flavour into meats and tenderize them. Marinades with an olive oil or citrus base can also help to reduce the formation of cancer causing chemicals.

Marinades need not to be complicated or time consuming. Some of your favourite Summer Fresh dips make excellent marinades. Try some of these ideas:

Curried Coconut Shrimp – Toss shrimp and shredded coconut in Summer Fresh Madagascar dip. Marinate for 30 minutes, then grill. This marinade can also be used as a sauce for the shrimp after they are cooked.

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken - Use Summer Fresh Roasted Red Pepper Dip as a marinade for chicken or other poultry. Just leave to marinade for half an hour, and it’s ready to grill.

Lemon Dill Fish - Thin Summer Fresh Lemon Dill Hummus with some olive oil and use to marinate fish for a couple of hours. This marinade also works well with chicken.

Chipotle Pork - Summer Fresh Chipotle Dip adds a burst of spice and smoky flavour to pork. Just marinate for one hour.

Tomato Bruschetta Steak - Drain a container of Summer Fresh Bruschetta using a sieve to separate the diced tomatoes from the liquid. Marinate steak in the liquid for about an hour. Grill the steak and serve topped with the diced tomatoes from the bruschetta.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Vidalia Onion - Separate the stems from the Portobello mushroom cap. Toss the mushroom caps in Summer Fresh Fire Roasted Vidalia Onion Dip for approximately half an hour, and grill the mushrooms.

Barbecue Recipes

Recipe - Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Garlic Hummus
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
with Garlic Hummus

Recipe - Blue Cheese Mini-burgers
Blue Cheese Mini-burgers

Recipe - Vegetable Kabobs with Spicy Hummus
Vegetable Kabobs
with Spicy Hummus

Recipe - Chicken Skewers with Roasted Red Pepper dip
Chicken Skewers with
Roasted Red Pepper dip