How to Save on Grilling this Summer: BBQ Without Burning Meat or Money

Food, Wine, & Dining, Home & Garden, Seasonal & Current Events

For frugal summer fun, follow these tips to save money while grilling for all of your friends and family.

With summer right around the corner, many people have dreams of big backyard barbecues and grilling with friends for get-togethers on the lawn or around the pool.  Unfortunately, the bigger the party, the more expenses you rack up when grilling.  Instead of limiting the size of your party or sacrificing the quality of the food, plan ahead so that you can save money when you grill.  From the kind of grill you buy to how you shop for meats, there are plenty of ways to cut corners without cutting out the delicious savory taste of grilled food.  Here are some tips for you to get your summer started and to keep more money in your pocket:

Get the Grill That is Right for You
Whether you are looking for a gas grill or a charcoal grill, it is important to consider all necessary factors in your purchase, such as how often you will entertain, the taste of the food cooked on the grill, and how much space you have for the grill outside.  Gas grills are more economical for the long-term, especially if you grill often.  Make sure to shop the sales and look for coupons to get the best deal on your grill, and to get the right one for your lifestyle.

Keep Up on Grill Maintenance
If you want the best from your grill, keep it in tip-top condition by cleaning it thoroughly before and after you grill. Make sure you properly dispose of any charcoal ashes after they have cooled, or if you have a gas grill, change the catch-pan liner regularly.  To keep meat from sticking, rub down the grate with oil or cooking spray after each BBQ, and wipe up any spills after the grill has cooled to prevent corrosion.  Otherwise, you may find yourself having to buy a new grill sooner than you think.

Fuel Up Properly
Save money by using your fuel wisely this summer.  Using propane or charcoal can rack up quite an expense, so make sure to only run the grill when you are actually cooking.  For a charcoal grill, you will need about three pounds of charcoal to serve four to six people.  A charcoal grill should be ready to use after the charcoal has burned for 15 minutes, and turn off the grill as soon as you are done cooking.  If you use propane, shop around to find the best price on tanks and refills.  Once you turn on a gas grill, it should be ready to go in 10 minutes.

Buy in Bulk
If you want to host plenty of parties at your home, make sure to buy your meats in bulk.  Costco and BJs are great for this, as you can buy tons of burgers, chicken wings, and pounds and pounds of ground beef that you can separate into smaller bags to put in the freezer and take out at your own convenience.  Make sure you label each bag with its contents, weight, and date so that you stay organized and always serve up the freshest food.

Make Your Own Marinade
Just because you are saving money does not mean you have to skimp on flavor.  Instead of buying bottle after bottle of marinade, make your own using cheap ingredients from around the kitchen.  You do not need the most expensive vinegar or lemon juice to make your marinade, or pricy spices for a rub – shop the store brands and sales instead.  Just be sure to plan ahead and leave plenty of time for your foods to marinate.

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