Backyard Bliss: How To Grill Almost Anything

And save on food with AAA Discounts, too!

Preparing beef t-bone steak on the barbecue grill iStock

Nothing says summer quite like food cooked on the grill. Use these grilling tips from AAA Discounts partner HelloFresh and make sure your culinary masterpieces are flawless. Then, get some grilling inspiration from other AAA Members.


How to grill salmon

Because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is known for its health benefits. It’s also delicious on the grill. Prep the fillets by coating them with oil and sprinkling them with salt and pepper. It’s important to grill salmon with the skin side down to prevent the fillets from overcooking. If your fillets didn’t come with skin, take some pieces of foil, poke a few holes in them, drip olive oil on the foil and then put the fish on top. The foil will protect the salmon by creating a barrier between the heat and the fillets. Let the salmon cook 10–15 minutes for 1-inch fillets over medium-high heat. Let the fish rest for a few minutes before serving.

How to grill steak

Steaks cooked to perfection are the grilled meat par excellence. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing steaks on the grill:

  • Take the steaks out of the refrigerator about an hour before grilling so they have time to warm up to room temperature. 
  • Salt the steaks liberally to make a dry brine, which will help keep the meat from drying out while grilling.
  • Establish a two-zone grill: One area should be hot enough to sear the meat, and the other area should be cool enough to avoid further searing while still cooking the meat.
  • Use a meat thermometer to gauge when your steaks are ready: 120–125 F for rare, 130 F for medium-rare, 140 F for medium, 150 F for medium-well and 165 F for well-done.
  • After removing your steaks from the grill, let them rest before slicing so the meat is soft and moist.

How to grill chicken

You don’t want to sear chicken on the grill. Instead, grill it at a lower temperature with the grill hood closed to create an outdoor oven. If you’re pressed for time or managing a large menu, consider using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Pound them before grilling, seasoning them generously ahead of time with salt and pepper. Don’t coat chicken with barbecue sauce until the meat is almost done cooking—this will keep the sauce from burning. Use a meat thermometer—placing it in the thickest part of the meat—to make sure the chicken has been cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 F.


How to grill corn on the cob

While it’s common to grill shucked corn either in foil with butter or directly on the grill, there’s a third method that can be a real timesaver. If you’re busy preparing a lot of dishes for your meal, try grilling ears of corn in their husks—skipping the prep time involved with removing the husks and silk. Cook the corn over medium-high heat, turning the ears occasionally, until the husks are thoroughly blackened and the kernels are tender—about 15 minutes.

How to grill caprese salad

Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are the stars of this light, summery side dish. To prepare it on the grill, make several partial cuts into each tomato and insert slices of mozzarella between the segments. Allow the cheese to melt gradually. Before serving, combine chopped basil and parsley, minced garlic, and a dash of olive oil. Put this mixture on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella to enhance flavor and add color.

How to grill sweet potatoes

With a crunchy outside and a smooth, sweet inside, grilled sweet potatoes make an excellent side dish for many entrees. Cut them into quarter-inch wedges, and then coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill covered until the sweet potatoes are succulent, with visible char marks—usually about 5–8 minutes per side.


How to grill brownies

Didn’t think you could make brownies on a grill? Think again. Just prepare them in an aluminum baking tray or cast-iron skillet, and, as with chicken, basically use your grill as an oven. Place the brownies in a covered grill and let them bake for about 25–30 minutes on low heat. Check the brownies often to make sure they don’t burn.

How to grill peaches

Cooked on the grill, this iconic summer fruit makes a sweet dessert. Cut the peaches in half and remove the pits. Then coat them with butter and position them cut-side down over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes—either directly on the grill or on heavy-duty foil. The latter results in less charring and softer peaches. Serve with Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream; add berries as a garnish, drizzle with honey or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

AAA Members’ Grilling Secrets

We asked AAA Members to share their favorite things to cook on the grill. Some of their answers just might inspire your next backyard cookout:

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