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Is there anything that isn’t made better by the smoky sear of a grill? A good rule of thumb to follow this summer is that if you can eat it, you can likely grill it. So it’s a shame that when most people want to get primal, they stick to the usual suspects of chicken breasts and steak. From shellfish to seasonal fruits, it’s time to think of the grill as a versatile cooking medium that is ready to prepare all sorts of nutritious, runner-friendly grub. While you’re putting new recipes to the test this summer, these grilling basics will help guide you to tasty, savory meals.
Use the Right Tools
Runners are always looking for ways to eat more vegetables, and grilling is a tasty way to seriously pump up the amount of produce in your summer diet. An inexpensive vegetable grilling basket is an ideal way to hold kebabs or smaller chunks like cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes. You also want an oil that can handle the heat, such as light/refined olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola or avocado oil.
Skip a Sticky Situation
Food is less likely to cling to hot rails if you allow ample time for your grill to preheat. Once hot, scrub away any left-on food bits with a long-handled bristle brush. Then grease the grill grate by using a silicon brush or a paper towel dipped in oil that you hold with tongs. (Oh, and never use cooking spray on a hot grill unless you think singed eyebrows are fun.)
Avoid Tight Quarters
Crowding your grill makes it less likely everything will cook evenly and brown properly. Leave at least one inch of space between items on the grate, and don’t be too curious—opening the lid several times during grilling reduces the temperature.
Time it Right
How do you know when meat is safe to pull from the fire without overcooking it into shoe leather? A digital instant-read thermometer (we like this Thermopro) will tell you when poultry and ground meats have an internal temperature of 165 degrees, or steak and cuts of pork reach 145 degrees. Give meat a 3-minute post-cook rest, too.