Green up Your Grilling
(Family Features) Most Americans plan to fire up the grill this summer, and a rapidly increasing number of these outdoor chefs are becoming health-conscious and curious about sustainable living. "Green" and grilling now go together more than ever before with a growing variety of options for grilling more natural foods, in a more natural way.
Food blogger Barb Freda highlights some of her favorite products to green up your backyard cookout.
- Burgers are the most popular food for grilling for good reason - they are inexpensive to prepare and super versatile. Start with sustainably produced natural meat that doesn't contain growth hormones or antibiotics, such as Laura's Lean Beef. Lean beef cooks nearly 30 percent faster than beef with a higher fat content. Searing the meat before grilling locks in moisture and flavor and makes a big difference in the final result.
- Consider investing in a fuel efficient grill like the Big Green Egg. Made with double-wall ceramics, the Egg looks just like it sounds. The Egg's inventive design retains heat for more accurate temperature control than most gas and metal grills. It cooks with the lid closed so foods don't dry out and meat undergoes little or no shrinkage, a real benefit with leaner meats. Inside, the heat burns off any grease build-up like a self-cleaning oven, making maintenance a snap.
- Use hardwood lump charcoal, which heats up quicker, burns hotter to ensure a good sear, contains no binders or fillers and produces less ash than its briquette counterpart.
- Switch from lighter fluid to an electric charcoal starter or fire starters made from sawdust and highly refined wax. They leave no residues or chemical aftertaste.
- Use natural hardwood smoking chips and planks to infuse your meat with magnificent flavors. Fruit and nut tree woods like apple, cherry, maple, pecan, oak and hickory are traditional favorites of famous pitmasters and backyard grill masters alike. Each type of wood reacts differently depending on the food so the flavor combinations are endless.
For more tips, recipes and a chance to win Laura's Lean Beef products and a Big Green Egg Grill, visit www.laurasleanbeef.com or www.facebook.com/laurasleanbeef.
- 1 pound 92% Laura's Lean ground beef
- 1 cup mixed herbs, such as basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Divide ground beef evenly to form 8 large flat patties.
- In bowl, mix fresh herbs with cream cheese. Spread the herbed cheese mixture to the edge of four of the patties. Top each patty with second patty and pinch edges to seal them closed.
- Grill 4 minutes; turn and grill another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve on whole grain buns with fresh, healthy sides like a mixed green salad, grilled zucchini slices and frozen yogurt with fresh berries for dessert.
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