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Now that the heat of mid-summer has arrived, enjoy eating outside with your friends and family.  Dust off your grill and use these tips to make the perfect burger or steaks to impress those you care about!

1.) Marinate Your Meat

Not only does marinating your meat or seafood enhance the taste of whatever your cooking, it also can help prevent carcinogens from forming during the grilling process.  A good simple marinade consists of an acid (such as lemon juice or balsamic vinegar), oil (usually three times as much oil as acid), and all the seasonings you desire.  Experiment with different flavors, and spice combinations until you find one that suits your taste!

2.) Make Sure Your Grill Is Clean

Before you turn your grill on, make sure the surface area is clean.  Meat debris that is left on the grill can burn and create carcinogens in your future meals. Things left behind on the grill can also cause the grill to corrode, and no one wants to cook their food on a rusty grill. Removing cooked on food will help your food maintain its flavor and will keep burnt tastes at bay. Finally, a clean grill will leave those neat grill marks on whatever you cook making your food look as though it was cooked by a professional!

3.) Pre-Heat Your Grill

Before you ever put your food on the grill you should preheat it to a hot temperature to ensure even cooking, and to help prevent your food from sticking to the grill.  This will also enable you to get a good hard sear on the outside of your protein. Your grill should be hot enough that you cant hold your hand over it for more than two to three seconds.

4.) Hot Zone Cool Zone

When preheating your grill, make sure to establish a hot zone and a cool zone.  The hot zone should be used to sear the outside of your food on either side and create a bit of a crust.  Once the food is seared properly on each side, you’ll want to move it to the cooler side of the grill. When you have moved your food to the cool side of the grill, put the cover on to create an oven-like effect that will help your protein cook through.

5.) Leave Your Food Alone

When grilling, your food should only be moved twice.  Once when turning it to sear the other side, and once when moving it to the cool side of the grill.  Constant turning or moving of the protein continually reduces the heat being applied to it and causes it to need a longer cook time. Poking and prodding your meat will also keep it from forming a crust.

6.) Rest Your Meat

Before cutting into your food, let it rest for at least ten minutes.  This will help the juices redistribute throughout the protein and keep it from becoming dry.  Tent a bit of foil over the meat on the plate or platter to keep the heat in during the resting period.