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Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

    Memorial Day. July 4th. Labor Day. Heck, maybe even Thanksgiving if the weather is exceptionally balmy.

    In America, holiday weekends mean just one thing: time to grill! After all, It’s just not a party unless there’s meat sizzling over charcoal.

    But anyone can grill. It’s rarer to find someone who can grill like a master, who knows every tip, trick, and grilling hack in the book. If you want to dazzle your guests at your holiday BBQ, here are some pro tips you need to add to your repertoire.

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    1. Keep Food From Sticking to the Grill

    Left Eye has a quick, easy, and flavorful hack that helps to prevent food from sticking to the grill, while also imparting additional flavor to the meats or fish you are preparing.

    Left Eye’s advice specifically related to fresh salmon, but can be used for other foods as well: “Cut two pieces of a large onion and cook a small fillet between it. It will keep the fish from sticking to the grill without using a ton of oil. It helps keep the fish moist and tells you when to flip it — when the bottom onion is cooked through.”

    2. Avoid Carcinogens

    The website Healthcare Hacks warns fans of the holiday weekend BBQ that backyard grilling can be bad for your health.

    When red meat is cooked over high temperatures, this “results in the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA), which have been found to be carcinogenic in animal models, and may increase a person’s risk for numerous forms of cancer…When grilled meat is cooked to the point of char-broiling, it can lead to the formation of something even worse: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAHs are the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco smoke.”

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    So how do you avoid the formation of these carcinogenic compounds?

    Well, there are two schools of thought, but they both come down to added flavors.

    The team at Healthcare Hacks suggests that certain spices contain known antioxidants that reduce levels of HCA in cooked meats, sometimes by as much as 40% when they are added before cooking.

    “The spices in question include cumin, coriander seed, galangal, fingerroot, rosemary, and turmeric,” they explained. “The last three had the highest level of HCA-inhibiting activity, with rosemary being the most effective.”

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    Left Eye suggests that you “marinade any protein (meat, chix, fish, etc.) for at least 15-minutes before throwing it on the grill. A quick dunk in simple sodium solution will reduce HCAs — cancerous byproducts of searing by almost 90%.”

    A related article on Shine adds, “Marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). One study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that marinating red meat in beer or wine for two hours significantly reduced HCAs. “

    3. Give Your Grill Plenty of Time to Preheat

    You need to preheat your grill before cooking on it for best results; a hot grill will cook food faster and more evenly.

    The amount of time that you should be preheating your grill depends entirely on what sort of fuel you prefer. If you’re rocking a gas grill, 15 minutes should suffice. However, if you are using charcoal briquets or hardwood chips, up that time to a full half hour for best results.

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    Oh, and make sure you keep that lid on tight while you’re preheating. Otherwise, all the heat will escape.

    4. Don’t Squander The Residual Heat

    The grill is gonna stay warm for quite a while after you turn it off, and it’s a shame to not take advantage of that residual heat. One great tactic is to keep burgers, dogs, buns, and other nibbles on the covered grill to keep them warm.

    Another use for a hot grill is for making desserts. Try campfire favorites like S’mores (laid out over a foil-covered grill) or a banana boat: cut a banana (in the peel) lengthwise, stuff it with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil. Leave it on the grill, and 30 minutes or so later, you’ll have an ooey gooey treat that will get the kids out of your hair and take very little effort.

    Do you have any grilling hacks or tips? Share them in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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