Great grilling tips and tricks of the pros


(BPT) - Across the country as weather heats up, so do the grills. You don't need to be a pitmaster to enjoy the fresh flavors that only come from grilling. A few simple tips and creative tricks will help you perfectly grill foods so juicy and delicious, you'll impress even the pickiest of palates.

Keep it closed: If you're looking, it's not cooking! When grilling, it's temping to constantly check your foods, but this mistake can cause items to cook unevenly. While some parts may be overdone, others could be dangerously underdone. A grill does its best work when closed, so let heat build up evenly to cook foods with all those fantastic smoky flavors. Peek in only when necessary to verify doneness or add sauces or oils.

Marvelous marinades: Marinades are a popular way to add flavor to grilled dishes and can be a fun way to experiment with different foods. However, experts caution not to marinade for too long. Two hours should be your max for most marinades when you're planning to grill. This is particularly important with marinades using pineapple as the high level of enzymes can make foods mushy. Additionally, marinading with citrus or vinegar for too long can toughen some foods.

Please with cheese: The smoky flavors of the grill are the perfect pairing to earthy cheeses like award-winning Salemville Blue Cheese. Crafted in the heart of Wisconsin, this cheese is known for its earthy flavor that perfectly accentuates burgers, chicken and steaks. To delight taste buds with a mingling of rich flavors, try making Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Burgers. The tangy cheese pairs perfectly with the savory burger and the sweet fig and caramelized onions. For more great grilling recipes featuring blue cheese, visit www.salemville.com.

Let it be: After grilling your choice of meat, remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes. If you cut into that savory steak or succulent chicken breast right after it's removed from the grill, those precious juices will erupt and end up on the plate. Just three to five minutes allows juices to redistribute throughout the cut and settle so that when served you get a main course just oozing with juicy flavor.

Creative sides: Think outside the box when it comes to grilling sides. For example, Buffalo Blue Cheese Grilled Corn on the Cob is guaranteed to add kick to your meal. Start by heating the grill on low. Then, peel and clean corn. Brush each ear with hot wing sauce and wrap in aluminum foil, being careful to fully seal corn in foil. Place on the top rack of the grill and close the lid, cooking until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from grill, carefully open aluminum foil and brush with additional hot wing sauce. Place on plates and sprinkle each ear with blue cheese. Serve immediately.

Grilled dessert: No need to turn off the grill come dessert time. Use that heat to transform fresh fruit into a satisfying dessert! Many fruits do well on the grill and offer a fantastic and healthy dessert alternative. If you've never grilled fruit before, stone fruits like peaches and nectarines are a good place to start. Simply cut in half, take out the pit, brush with olive oil and place on the grill cut-side down. Once warm, remove and drizzle and add a sprinkle of cinnamon or dollop of yogurt, if preferred. Other popular fruits to grill include pineapple, bananas, cantaloupe and even watermelon.