Tops notes newer grill trends like pizza and desserts; provides simple tips for safe summer cookouts
With summer a mere days away, this is the perfect time to spice up the grilling season for those interested in more than the traditional favorites like burgers and hot dogs. Tops Friendly Markets has ideas to take a different spin on summer cookouts.
"It was a long and harsh winter for most of our customers, so we're sure most everyone is ready to welcome the warmth and kick grilling season into high gear," said Mark DeFazio, Tops' director of deli and Carry Out Café. "Grilling techniques and ideas evolve every year, and 2015 is no different. New trends this year have more people trying pizza or even desserts on a new grill without having to break the bank."
Pizza on the grill can be simple, easy and affordable, DeFazio said.
"Especially for those with kettle pizza ovens or charcoal grills, pizza provides a great spin on the traditional cookout and the recipes and combinations are endless," he said. "It provides a hands-on prep and cooking experience and allows others to participate in choosing the combinations used for toppings. And there's no special dough required. Dough you make at home or prepared dough we sell in stores all rise and bake great."
DeFazio stated that, while grilled pizza has been around for many years, better pizza stones and accessories have placed a new focus on its popularity.
Grilling fruit also is a trend on the rise, DeFazio said. Pineapple and peaches are great fruits to grill and add a tasty, healthy option to your meal.
"Grilled fruit can provide another slice of Americana to any cookout. Easy preparation and quick grilling of peaches or pineapples can provide a taste similar to warm pies and cobblers with much less time and effort," DeFazio said.
Topping off your meal with a delicious dessert can include the grill, too.
"Some of the favorites are still in play, including s'mores, and you can spice them up by adding Nutella and bananas. Grilling pound cake and topping it off with peaches and cream also is a great combination," DeFazio said. "Watermelon on the grill is also an idea worth exploring, and adding creamy yogurt can provide a refreshing dessert."
As for other 2015 grilling trends, DeFazio said it depends on the amount of flavor and type of grill being used.
"Trends are leaning to enhancing the charcoal or gas grill approach. Wood-burning grills and smokers definitely enhance the flavor and experience and offer many options. Even high-tech has reached grilling with remote thermometers and meat probes providing exact internal temperatures," he said.
DeFazio provided some basic tips to grilling success this season.
"If your main course will take 20 minutes or more to grill, it's always best to cook it using indirect heat or the upper rack of a traditional grill. If it's a quick cook, place the food on the main burner. And don't forget the importance of preheating the grill to warm it, prevent sticking to the grates and killing off any bacteria from the last meal you prepared," DeFazio said.
Safety should always come first when it comes time to grill. The National Fire Protection Association provides these suggestions to ensure your holiday cookout is safe for all involved:
•Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
•Place grills well away from a home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
•Keep children and pets away from the grill area
•Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill
•Never leave your grill unattended
•For charcoal grills, charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel
•If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid; never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire
•Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources
•When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container
•For propane grills, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose; a propane leak will release bubbles
•If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again
If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department; do not move the grill.
Tops Markets is headquartered in Williamsville and operates 164 full-service supermarkets - 159 company-owned and five franchise locations. With more than 16,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. For more information about Tops Markets, visit the company's website at www.topsmarkets.com.