What Did Your Dad Teach You About Grilling?

In the April issue, Food Insight published a feature in honor of Mother’s Day in which IFIC Foundation staff members shared what food and nutrition words of wisdom our moms and grandmothers shared with us that we still practice today.  Father’s Day is now approaching and with it, warmer weather. As we break out the grill for the first al fresco meal of the season, it seemed fitting to recognize all the dads, stepdads, grandfathers and other father figures for their influence on our grilling skills!

In fact, there are important food safety components to grilling, including cooking meat to a safe internal temperature, and properly storing and refrigerating leftovers. In addition, most foods that can be roasted or sautéed can also be grilled, including fruits and vegetables, adding new and exciting flavors to traditional grill fare.

This month, enjoy your first (or tenth) barbecue of the season and pick up a tip or two from the IFIC Foundation Dads. And, invite your dad over for a cookout on Father’s Day on June 21!

Liz Caselli-Mechael and her dad, Fahmy Mechael

Liz Caselli-Mechael: My dad taught me that a good marinade is essential for great grilling. My current favorite is a blend of onion, apple juice, and soy sauce, plus some (secret) spices!  (See the Food Insight blog post on safe marinating!)

Lindsey Loving and her uncle, Chris Bonsignore

Lindsey Loving: Although he may not admit it, my uncle Chris is a grill master! I have many fond memories of him manning the grill at our Memorial Day and summer cookouts. It can be difficult to grill food for a large group and have all of the food come off the grill at the same time, while still hot and not overcooked. My uncle taught me how to make sure everything is cooked perfectly, from which foods take longer to cook and need to go on the grill first, to when to move foods out of direct heat to avoid drying out. By planning ahead and checking on the food frequently, everything comes off the grill hot and full of flavor! 

Marianne Smith Edge’s father, Robert (Bob) Smith and mother, Jeannette Smith

Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA: My father was a dairy farmer, so cooking and grilling were not top priorities. He just knew how to produce food! But my father taught me the value of food production beyond the grill….a love for the land, the animals – for which he was committed to 365 days a year – and the joy of eating. For my father, weight was never an issue, so a meal was not complete without dessert. He only liked two types of pie – hot and cold! I may be a registered dietitian, but the first dishes I learned to prepare were desserts, as they always brought a smile to his face.

Dave Schmidt:  I grew up in an era before the convenience of gas grills, but my Dad taught me that the key to a great barbeque was getting the coals uniformly hot before putting meat on the grill.  I still miss that charcoal taste, which is a rare find these days.

Kris Sollid, RD: My grilling education came from my dad. We didn't have a gas grill or use lighter fluid to get the coals going – he swore by his charcoal starter. It was mostly just an exercise in patience, but the burgers always came out perfect!

What #grillingtips did you learn from your parent or grandparent? Tweet them to us @FoodInsight!