As summer begins to really heat up, many of us begin to think about heating up the barbecue too. After all, there is nothing more fun than gathering friends and family for a barbecue outdoors. However, you do not want to break the bank while hosting one of these spectacular gatherings. Here are ten money saving tricks to try out at your next summer barbecue.
Don’t Blow Your Budget on Meat
Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and How to Grill, suggests skipping the porterhouse steak in favor of a great, inexpensive flank or skirt steak, forgoing boneless chicken breast for a delicious, inexpensive legs and thighs.
Elevate the BBQ Staples
If you are sticking to the tried-and-true barbecue staples of chicken, burgers and hotdogs, add an inexpensive element that will elevate flavor. We suggest stuffing blue cheese, bacon or barbecue sauce inside the burger patties before placing them on the grill. Place your chicken in your favorite marinade overnight. The options are endless.
Make Extra (But Not Too Much)
When you are planning out your menu, be sure to grill enough for leftovers. By putting the charcoal or propane to work just one time to cook food for a couple days, you are decreasing your per-meal food cost. To reheat leftovers, sprinkle with a little bit of water or barbecue sauce, wrap in aluminum foil, and place on indirect heat for 5 minutes. Barbecued leftovers are delicious the next day and can even be reinvented.
Make Your Own Rubs and Sauces
Why buy sauces and rubs at the store when they take no time at all to make them at home? Rubs are essentially a mix of spices and most sauces start with a base of ketchup or tomato sauce. Most of the time you can make sauces and rubs with the ingredients you have at home. Find some recipes, and try them out next time you fire up the grill.
Don’t Go Over Board on Fuel
People tend to waste fuel while they are grilling because many of us pour too much charcoal in our grills. There is no need to dump the entire ten-pound bag of charcoal into your grill all at once; three pounds can cook any meal for four to six people. If you are cooking with propane, keep it on low and let the food cook slowly. Be sure to turn off your propane tank as soon as you are done.
Befriend Your Butcher
If you are looking to find out when the popular cuts of meat go on sale, make friends with the people that work at your store’s butcher counter. They are the ones that have the inside scoop.
Invest In a Quality Grill
You do not need to get a grill with all the bells and whistles, but you want to make sure you are getting one that will last longer than two years because replacing your grill constantly is not good for your budget. Be sure to buy enough grill for what your family uses; if you entertain a lot than maybe go for a grill with a bigger surface. Another key component when looking for a grill is having enough space to cook multiple things at one time (chicken on one side and steak on the other).
Treat Your Grill Well
You want your investment that you made on your grill to last as long as possible, so make sure you make maintenance a priority. Clean the grill thoroughly before and after each time of use, dispose of the ashes once they have cooled, and be sure to oil the grate before and after your grill.
Minimize Your Accessories
Do not go crazy stocking up on complicated grilling equipment. You only need two key grilling accessories: a meat thermometer and a good pair of tongs. We suggest getting an instant read thermometer to ensure that you are preparing food with the correct doneness.
Do Your Homework
If you are new to grilling, we suggest arming yourself with some knowledge before lighting up the grill. There are online videos that will offer step-by-step instructions on how to become a grill master. This will allow you to create tasty, grilled magic.
Check out more budget friendly ideas for a fabulous summer BBQ here!