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John’s “common man” approach, which strikes a chord with many overweight Americans, was honed during his 10-year career in the weight loss industry. As Mr. Bad Food, he warns you of fast food, restaurant and supermarket landmines.

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Mr. Bad Food

 
by John McGran, Food columnist

 
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May. What a great month. There's May flowers (and an end to April showers)... there's Mother's Day... there's the Indianapolis 500... and then there's Memorial Day.

And with Memorial Day comes that old familiar cry...

Ladies and gentlemen, start your grillin'!

While Mr. Bad Food tends to grill year round â€" through snow, sleet, hail and anything else Mother Nature can toss my way â€" I know Memorial Day Weekend is considered the unofficial start to the grilling season.

So, if you’re taking a break from your delicious home-delivered Diet-to-Go foods, it’s time to brush off the grill, clean out the ashes or swap out the ancient lava rocks, and get ready to fire up your appetite for yummy fire-roasted meats and veggies.

Enhance your grilling experience with these seasonal suggestions.

10 Juicy Grilling Tips

1. Marinating tenderizes meat and adds flavor. Rule of thumb is 1 to 2 cups of marinade for every 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of food. The marinade should completely surround the food. Cooked meat should never be returned to a cold marinade.

2. When grilling steaks, choose a cut that’s one-inch thick.

3. Trim steaks to 1/8 inch fat. This reduces grease drippings and helps lower your risk of flare-ups. If you like your hamburgers juicy opt for ground beef that is about 15-20% fat. Have fish fillets cut from 1 to 1.5 inches thick. Anything thinner will dry out too quickly. Pork chops should also be at least 1 inch thick.

4. Using a charcoal grill? Make sure there is enough charcoal to extend in a single layer 1 to 2 inches beyond the area of the food. Pour briquettes into the grill to determine the quantity, then stack into a pyramid for lighting. For indirect cooking, place food over a drip pan and bank the briquettes to one or both sides of the pan.

5. Watch out for carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Never barbecue indoors where these odorless, toxic fumes can accumulate and cause death.

6. When using charcoal, lightly douse the coals with starter fluid. Out of fluid? Use regular salad oil. Wad a sheet of newspaper and pile the coals over it, then douse the coals with the salad oil. Light the paper as you would with starter fluid.

7. When roasting or grilling with a BBQ pit closed, open a can of beer and place the beer over the hottest part of the fire. The beer will boil and saturate the air inside the pit with water vapor, beer flavors and alcohol. This keeps the roasting meats moist and flavorful.

8. Use tongs to turn the meat. A fork should NEVER be used as it will punch holes in the meat and allow the juices to escape, causing the meat to lose flavor and become chewy.

9. Turn the meat only ONCE during grilling. When grilling meat to a medium or greater doneness, be sure to close the lid. This will shorten the cooking time by applying heat to all sides of the meat at once.

10. Tomato and sugar-based BBQ sauces should be added only at the end of the grilling process. These bastes burn easily and are not intended as an internal meat flavoring.




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