Summer, it’s the time when the heat rolls in, grass tends to die, and the backyard grill is rolled out of the shed and dusted off. Nothing beats a good BBQ, and for all home chefs out there, summer is the perfect time to show off your skills with the grill. The only question is what type of meat you want to cook first.

Beef is one of the most popular grilling options as it can be prepared in dozens of unique ways, whether you are looking to cook hamburger patties, beef tenderloin, or beef fajitas. If you are looking to add some flavor to your burgers, seasonings such as garlic powder or Lawry’s seasoned salt are great small additions. For home chefs looking to take burgers to the next level, mixing onions, worcestershire sauce, and/or soy sauce into the ground beef is guaranteed to taste amazing.

If it is beef tenderloin that you are looking to grill, the trick to perfection is to not dry out the meat, especially if you want it to be medium/well-done. Beef tenderloin tends to be very bland without seasoning, so make sure to use a healthy amount of salt or other preferred seasonings to allow for maximum flavor. Cooking tenderloin is best done in two parts: First, sear your cut evenly, but keep in mind that you may be required to fold the thinner end under itself and tie it together to accomplish this. Second, cook the tenderloin over indirect heat from anywhere from 15-25 minutes depending on the desired end result. Don’t forget to let the meat sit for a few minutes to allow for maximum juice retention!

Pork tenderloin is similar to beef tenderloin in that both are cut from the same section of the animal, but the preparation is a little different. The cut is usually fairly even and does not require you to tie one end. While you can lightly sear the meat before cooking indirectly, pork tenderloin will best keep its juices if you grill it over indirect heat for 20-30 minutes or until the thermometer reads 140-145 degrees. The real question is how to best prepare the pork tenderloin before grilling it. One option is to use your favorite steak rub and/or desired seasonings, which will be best if you are going to sear the tenderloin. If you choose to marinate the meat beforehand, especially with anything sugary like honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup, then it will be best to skip the searing and let your meat cook over indirect heat only as it is easy to burn off the flavor.

It is almost impossible to go wrong when grilling chicken, but there are always flavors that work better than others. Using chili powder and lime juice while cooking is a flavor that never gets old. While you could just squeeze some lime on the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder right before grilling, a good marinade never fails.  If you want to make some spicy, home-grilled chicken wings, grill the meat at a medium temperature with preferred seasonings. On the side, you can prepare a mixture of your favorite hot sauce with something complimentary (such as vinegar, honey, and butter), and then coat the wings in the mixture before doing a quick sear on the grill until crispy.

            For all home chefs who are cooking for a group, one of the best grilling options are making kabob skewers with a variety of meats and vegetables to cater to everyone’s taste buds. Taking your choice of meat(s), simply cube it into small portions, flavor as desired using the guidelines listed above, skewer, and grill to perfection. Just about any vegetable can be used on these skewers, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.. If you are looking for dessert, one favorite is grilled peaches with ice cream to top it off. Just remember: It’s all about flavor!