By Shelby Morrison
With the first long weekend and kick-off to summer behind us, grill season is in full swing. As we are hoping for some warm, sunny weather this weekend, we are also hoping for some good eats. Throwing some food on the grill can be as simple and quick as a weeknight dinner or it can be a relaxing gathering with friends on the weekend.
Cooking for a crowd can be quite expensive, but don’t let that get you down. You can still entertain and serve delicious food while remaining cost-efficient. Check out the top three ways to save money when putting together a summer BBQ.
1. Choose less expensive cuts of meat
A good piece of meat or poultry doesn’t have to cost you your entire paycheck. Of course, a nice juicy porterhouse is great once in a while, but there are ways to eat meat while staying within a reasonable price range.
Consider cheaper cuts of meat such as flank steak or skirt steak, which are still full of flavour. They are also perfect when eaten thinly sliced with some chimichurri sauce, or thrown onto a baguette as a sandwich. As for chicken, thighs and legs are less expensive, and are often found to be more flavourful and moist.
2. Think healthy
Instead of making tons of meat, consider going a bit lighter. Not only is it healthier, but it is lighter on your wallet too. There are plenty of delicious vegetables to throw on the grill such as peppers, onions, corn, zucchini, mushrooms and anything in season. The fiber in vegetables will help fill you up, while also not having to worry about portion size since they are typically low calorie.
As for dessert, a refreshing and budget friendly way to enjoy something sweet is to simply grill fruit. Grilled peaches for example are the perfect summer dessert since their natural sweetness is enhanced once on the grill. Paired with a little vanilla ice cream, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser without breaking the bank.
3. Make your own rubs and sauces
Not only are store bought rubs and sauces usually filled with sugar and who knows what else, they are also a waste of money. It is so simple to make your own version at home.
BBQ sauce and spice rubs can be tailored to your liking and level of spiciness and sweetness. Combine whatever you have at home such as paprika, cayenne and garlic salt or oregano, basil and fresh garlic, depending on what you prefer. As for sauces, ketchup makes for a great base, with add-ins such as Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, and whatever else you have on hand. Not only do you know exactly what is in your rubs and sauces, but you are saving money by using what you have.
Enjoy the summer weather by grilling and hanging out with friends. The last thing you want to worry about is finances during your relaxation time, so with these tips, you won’t have to. Get outside and get eating!