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Grilling with Gusto

Grilling can be an easy and fun way to cook food, but that doesn't mean your approach has to be simple. With just a little extra effort, you can add great flavor to everything you grill. Here are some delicious ways to maximize flavor as you grill.

RUBS: Spice blends that are applied directly on the surface of meats, fish and poultry. Be careful to check the salt content of the rub, so you can estimate how much to apply. The more you add, the more flavor goes on your product. Try local favorites Rick’s Ragin’ Island Jerk Rub or Todd’s Bayou Dirt.

MARINADES: Liquid ingredients blended with spices and oil to add moisture and flavor. Most marinades contain an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, which will help tenderize tougher cuts of meat. Try new Todd’s Down & Dirty Marinades or Eddie’s Caesar Dressing.

BASTES AND MOPS: In other words, barbecue sauce. Brush these on meats, seafood and poultry as you grill. Be aware that high sugar content in the sauces will promote charring. The sweeter sauces should be brushed, or “mopped,” on the last 5 minutes of grilling. Try new Baltimore Barbecue Company Coffee-Infused Barbecue Sauce or Stonewall Kitchen Boozy Bacon Barbecue Sauce.

Feel free to use rubs, marinades and bastes together. First apply the rub, then brush on the sauce as you grill. To really heighten flavors, marinate your protein for a few hours, then mop with the sauce during grilling.

If you're feeling really ambitious, try these mouth-watering ideas for the ultimate cookout:

Grill lemon halves to yield the most juice and lend a subtle grilled flavor to your food. Perfect for grilling whole fish.

Place seafood and poultry on grilling planks. Soak planks in water for 2 hours prior to grilling. Planks impart excellent flavor and color to rockfish or salmon filets. Try this with Cornish game hens, as well.

Use skewers for fish, chicken and meats. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before grilling. Try using fresh rosemary sprigs as your skewer to get a taste of the Mediterranean.

Spice up your favorite side dish to complement your grilling. Try adding Todd’s Crabby Dirt to your potato salad, or Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce to your baked beans.