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Appetite for Knowledge

Let’s Get Grilling!

May is National Barbecue Month, which makes it the perfect time to truly embrace the start of summer!  Barbecue month was created to observe and celebrate the wonders of the BBQ.  A great way of cooking meat, this age-old culinary technique is waiting for you to discover in May – if not sooner!

Since barbecuing is not a difficult method of cooking, this is a great month for you to try it out, even if you’re not really much of a cook.  Dust off the grill and invite your friends and family over for a feast.  Check out the internet for some great barbecue recipes and get that grill fired up again!


Barbecuing is a very popular method of cooking.  According to a 2016 study from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), there are many current trends in the barbecue category:

  • 75% of U.S. adults own a grill or a smoker.
  • The top 4 reasons for cooking out: 71% of grill owners say it’s to improve flavor, 54% for personal enjoyment, and 42% for entertaining family and friends.
  • The most popular days to barbecue are: 4th of July (76%), Labor Day (62%), Memorial Day (62%), Father’s Day (49%) and Mother’s Day (34%).
  • 31% grilled someplace other than their homes in the past year, including 24% who grilled while camping.
  • The majority of grill owners (63%) enjoy using their grill or smoker year-round. In fact, 43% cook at least once a month in the winter months.

BBQ Tips

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your barbecue experience, whether you’re a pro or just getting started:

  1. Barbecuing isn’t only for meat – try some veggie kabobs, or just mix up a variety of vegetables and throw them on the grill: zucchini, peppers, corn, and other summer vegetables make a great healthy entrée or side dish.
  2. Don’t rely only on BBQ sauce to flavor your meat. Experiment with different types of marinades, seasonings and rubs to give your food unique and delicious tastes.
  3. Marinades tenderize meat (in addition to giving them flavor). If possible, marinade overnight in the refrigerator; or try to give at least an hour of the meat soaking in the marinade sauce.
  4. Don’t leave the meat out at room temperature for longer than one hour. This will cause bacteria to grow at a very rapid rate.  If you need to thaw out meat, do so overnight or all day in the refrigerator.
  5. Whether you’re a beginner griller or an iron chef, you’ll need some tools to help you make the best food for your barbecue. Stock up on the basics, like a pair of tongs, a grill brush, and a long-handed spatula.
  6. Use a grill basket for foods that might fall through the grill rack or are too cumbersome to turn over one by one (vegetables, fish, fruits, etc.)
  7. Keep the lid of your grill down as long as necessary. While it’s tempting to keep checking your food, opening the grill lets the heat escape, which tends to dry out the meat.
  8. Prior to grilling, scrub the hot grate with a long-handled wire brush. This keeps it clean, and ensures neat grill marks.
  9. Prevent food from sticking by brushing the grill grate with oil.  Take a small wad of paper towels and use tongs to dip them in a bowl of canola or vegetable oil and rub lightly to evenly coat the grate.
  10. Don’t add any salt until the meat is cooked, to prevent it from getting dry and tough, as the salt will draw away moisture.
  11. Wash everything after handling raw meat, and don’t reuse the plate that you used for uncooked meat.
  12. Always use a meat thermometer and cook hamburgers to 160° and chicken to 165°
  13. Remember, it takes a lot of trial and error before you get really good at barbecuing. Experiment with different kinds and cuts of meat, flavorings and seasonings; types of grills and smokers; and cooking methods.  You just might stumble upon something you really like.

Happy Grilling!


Contact Our Expert!


Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Extension Educator:
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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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