If nothing makes you happier than lighting up the grill on a summer evening, rest assured you’re not alone. In the United States, nearly 20% of people grill several times a week. And who can blame them? What smells better than a juicy steak on the grill? Or some garden veggies splashed with olive oil and sprinkled with spices?
Throw in some good conversation while the grill does its magic, and you’ve got a perfect summer evening.
While most of us focus on the yummy food coming off our grill, you’ll be happy to know that grilling is also a great energy saver. Yep, you read that correctly. When you don’t power up your oven, you’re saving energy and lowering your energy costs. In fact, cooking in your home during the hot summer months puts two of the biggest energy-consuming appliances—your oven and air conditioner—to work.
Grilling also comes with the added bonus of being a relatively healthy way to cook. Grease in grilled meats drips away during the grilling process, lowering fat and calories. You can also stick with lean meats like fish, chicken and lean cuts of beef and pork to keep calorie and fat intake down. Marinating meats before grilling has also shown to be of benefit. Plus, it’s yummy.
And don’t forget the veggies. Garden vegetables such as zucchini, sweet potatoes and corn on the cob are delicious grilling choices. Sliced up potatoes tossed in olive oil with onions, peppers and spices also make for an easy grilling option that goes great with any grilled meats.
It’s also fun to accent your grilled meats with toppings and sides. Take for instance this recipe from our Black Hills Energy Service Guard Cookbook. This mango salsa is a summery mix of sweet mangos, spicy jalapeños and tart lime. It’s wonderful on top of grilled chicken, pork and fish.
Now that we’ve established that grilling is awesome, it’s important to remember the fire risks that can come from grilling. Anytime you’re working with fire, especially on hot, dry days, it’s critical to keep fire safety in mind. The last thing you want is to turn a restful summer evening into a stressful fire situation.
Here are just a few fire-safety tips to consider when you’re grilling this summer.
- Only grill outside and keep the grill at least 3 feet from siding and deck rails.
- Wear appropriate clothes when grilling. Avoid long sleeves or pieces of materials that dangle and can catch fire easily.
- Keep a spray bottle and a fire extinguisher handy.
- Always open your gas grill before lighting it.
- Never step away from your grill. Keep a close eye on it whenever it’s lit.
- Clean your grill with a brush after each use to remove grease.
- If you’re using a charcoal grill, put the coals into a metal can once they have cooled.
So, what are you waiting for? Get that grill out, whip up a mango salsa and throw on some delicious- marinated chicken. Settle into the patio chairs while your supper cooks and enjoy your time with family and friends. It will make for the perfect summer evening, and you’ll be saving energy as a bonus. What’s not to love?
- 3-4 large, ripe mangos; diced
- 1 large red bell pepper; diced
- 1/2 cup red onion; diced
- 1-2 jalapeños; diced
- 3/4 cup cilantro; chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Peel the skin off the mangos. Cut the fruit off the flat pit and cut into cubes. Add cubed mango to a large bowl.
- Clean and remove the seeds from the red bell pepper and dice. Add to the bowl.
- Peel and dice a red onion. Add ½ cup of the diced onion to the bowl.
- Clean the seeds and ribs out of the jalapeños and dice them into small pieces. If you like heat, then you can leave some of the ribs and some seeds in the jalapeños. Add to the bowl.
- Chop the cilantro and add to the bowl.
- Squeeze the juice from the limes and add to the bowl.
- Mix well and add salt to taste.
Black Hills Energy Blog
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