As long as the weather is still warm we will be enjoying out grill. Food just tastes better having been over a flame. Veggies are tender, fruit sugars have caramelized, and meat is cooked to perfection!
But here is my confession: last week I ate my first hot dog in years.
Hot dogs? A guilty pleasure from my childhood that I put away once I started to learn what they were made of. Cheap, mystery-meat-sticks full of antibiotics and nitrites just didn't make my mouth water anymore. Yes, the ingredient list scared me off of the classic hot dog.
Last year we switched to nitrite-free lunch meats and I haven't looked back. My favorite brand, and one of the few to fit my requirements, was Applegate. I love their pre-packaged organic smoked turkey breast meat. It is perfect for making a big stacked sandwich!
So when I heard that Applegate had a new hot dog, I was excited! A big juicy hot dog was definitely in my future. Nitrite, hormone and antibiotic free, they create their dogs from healthy animals while using integrity in their farming practices. Made with real beef, water, salt and spices, it is what I think a hot dog should be. All fun and none of the extra stuff!
So with hot dogs on our grill, it was almost time for dinner. What do you like to serve up with your dogs? I love to enjoy my time on the back porch while my husband grills, so I keep our sides super simple, fresh and clean.
Here are my tips to get the most out of your grilling experience:
- Go Simple - Grilling is half the fun, so don't get too complicated. Grab some fresh fruit and vegetable for kebabs or to go straight on the grill to serve along with your hot dogs.
- Bring your grilling items to room temperature before grilling. Meat and veggies just a need a few minutes before going on the fire but will cook more evenly if not straight from the fridge.
- Grab a Mister - Mist meat or veggies with a little olive oil before grilling. A mister will save you money and excess calories.
- Marinade or Shake it up - for added flavor grab a marinade, rub or shake to add extra pizzazz to your grilled goodies. Herbs and spices can liven up your palette without all the extra sodium or fat from butter.
- Choose your Condiments Wisely - Check the labels on your favorite ketchup and mustard. We always search for the condiments that don't include high fructose corn syrup and have the fewest ingredients.
- Grab a Meat Thermometer - This is a must-have for all 'Grillers'. Black on the outside doesn't always mean the inside is cooked. Check to make sure your grilled meats have reached a safe temperature with a simple grilling thermometer. There are many brands on the market. I use one that can stay in the meat while cooking.
I just started a Summer Grilling board on Pinterest. Come check it out and let me know if you have a great grilling recipe or tip to add to it. Search under #applegate and #whatsinyourhotdog for more great grilling boards by other SocialMoms' bloggers.
I am excited to announce Applegate hot dogs are widely available in the Portland, OR and Seattle, WA area. You can use their product locator to find some for your next backyard bash.
Be sure to follow Applegate on Facebook for product announcements and promotions.