The rest of the nation may celebrate National Night Out in the summer, but to do so in Houston would be a bad idea due to our heat, humidity and huge mosquitoes. National Night Out for our area is celebrated on October 6, and this day is the perfect chance to have the ultimate block party with your friends and neighbors by hosting a potluck-grilling event. By turning the event into a potluck, everyone can bring something he or she likes. This also reduces the effort and cost on your part as the host of the block party. All you have to do is provide the grill. Ask your neighbors to contribute their favorite foods for the grill, and you will have the things you need to prepare delicious meals for anyone, regardless of their dietary restrictions.
Houston’s National Night Out 2015 PSA reminder from HPD
The Houston Police Department reminds Houstonians to participate our area’s National Night Out, which will be held this year on October 6, 2015.
For Beef Lovers
Grilled foods for beef lovers are easily found and often require the least amount of effort in preparation. Hamburgers and steaks both need just a little bit of salt and pepper for flavoring before grilling. When cooking steaks and hamburgers, the process is not entirely fool-proof, and there are some tips you can use to make your hamburgers and steaks extra flavorful, regardless of the recipe you choose to use.
If you want to enhance the juiciness of your hamburgers, place a small ice cube inside each hamburger patty, and use light pressure when forming them. The ice will melt as the hamburger cooks, releasing steam, which helps to keep the patties moist as they cook. Using a light pressure when forming the patties will ensure that the steam isn’t trapped inside.
For the best tasting steaks, season with salt at least an hour before grilling, and bring the steaks to room temperature before you toss them over the heat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the proper internal temperature has been reached for your desired steak doneness level, and wait before you dig in after pulling the meat from the heat. Letting the steak rest for 10 to 15 minutes after cooking allows the juices to settle and the meat to reach its optimum flavor. For more tips on grilling steaks, check out Bon Apetit’s 10 Best Tips for a Perfectly Grilled Steak and this chart from HEB for grilling times and temperatures for steaks.
Grilled Steaks with Italian Tomato Topper from Ready Set Eat
Perfectly Grilled Steak from Bobby Flay of Food Network
For Vegetable Lovers
Just because someone does not eat meat or seafood does not mean that there is nothing to prepare for that person. Grilling vegetables can produce dishes that are just as delectable as steaks and burgers, depending on one’s personal tastes. There are many ways to enjoy grilled vegetables beyond the standard kabobs. Below are some of the more creative ways to add veggies to the grill.
Eggplant Involtini with Grilled Ratatouille from Food & Wine
Grilled Pineapple with Nutella from Giada di Laurentiis from Food Network
Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho from Food & Wine
For Poultry Lovers
For those who prefer to eat poultry, chicken and turkey are both great grilling options. Remember, when grilling any type of poultry, use a meat thermometer and cook it until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit. A meat thermometer is the best way to determine that you have fully cooked the meat for the best flavor and safety.
You don’t have to settle for dry chicken breasts when grilling. Turkey legs, chicken wings and burgers made from ground chicken or turkey are all options for when you want to grill lighter meats than beef. All of these choices are great for grilling, but if using white meat, be sure to add some extra seasoning and don’t overcook it to prevent the less flavorful breast meat from becoming bland and dry.
Asian-Style Turkey Burger for Two from Ready Set Eat
Country Fair Turkey Legs from Paula Deen of Food Network
Herbed Grilled Chicken Wings from Bon Apetit
For Seafood Lovers
As Houston is so close to the Gulf Coast, we have access to fresh, local seafood on a regular basis at local places like Airline Seafood Market. Why not take advantage of that bounty and grill up some shrimp or other seafood at your neighborhood event? At this time of year, you can also find flounder, oysters, blue crab and snapper from the Gulf of Mexico along the Texas coast, according to the Gulf Coast Seafood Coalition.
Mexican Grilled Shrimp with Smokey Sweet Sauce from Southern Living
Salmon Burgers from Cooking Light
Smoked Oysters with Olive Relish from Cooking Light