Grilling Season Secrets & Tips

Grilling Season Secrets & Tips!

By Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

Grilling season is finally here! Start off the season right with these simple grilling tips that will have you headed in the right direction to a mess-free and tasty get-together!

Let’s get warmed up…

  1. Use a glass dish or plastic bag to marinate meats, fish, poultry or veggies.
  2. Beef and pork can be marinated overnight, chicken for several hours. Fish only requires 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meat should be fresh or completely thawed before cooking for proper flavor and even cooking.
  4. Cover your entire grill area with aluminum foil for easier clean up and to protect your grill.
  5. Marinate: Grilling meats creates carcinogens known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Marinating meats prior to grilling may reduce their formation. For the same reason, avoid charring or burning meats, which contributes to the formation of carcinogens.
  6. Food Safety:
  • Keep raw foods separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant and wash hand with soap and water often
  • Using a meat thermometer, make sure ground meats reach at least 160°F and poultry reaches 165°F.
  • Do not leave food outside in hot weather for more than one to two hours for the best food safety.

Eat Well Tip:
About 36 percent of foodborne illness in the home results from “cross-contamination”. That means contaminated cutting boards, counters or utensils are not properly disinfected or sanitized before preparing foods eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.

Piri Piri Grilled Chicken

Piri-Piri Grilled Chicken

Piri-piri chicken is a spicy Portuguese dish that was created in Africa by Portuguese settlers. The traditional hot pepper used in this dish is African Bird’s Eye Peppers grown in Africa. However, a variety of hot peppers are a great substitute in this recipe.

 Prep: 10 minutes

Marinade: 1 hour or overnight

Makes: 4 servings


For the Marinade:

  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 shallot, cut into quarters
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 4 bone-in Chicken thighs

 Piri Piri  Sauce

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper
  • 2 long green or red peppers (see note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped Cilantro
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Combine ingredients for marinade in a food-safe resealable bag – Lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and shallot. Add chicken, seal bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare Piri-Piri sauce. See note regarding red chilis before beginning.
  3.  In a food processor, add juice of one lemon, chili peppers, garlic, paprika, olive oil and cilantro. Process until smooth.
  4. Preheat outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade, season liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Using a pastry brush, brush Piri-Piri sauce all over chicken.
  6. Place Grill chicken over medium heat, cook for about 35 minutes, turning half-way through.


  • Before working with any hot peppers, wearing rubber gloves is strongly recommended.
  • Types of peppers you can use for this recipe: Long green or red peppers, chili peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, guagillo. However, the traditional recipe is prepared using African Bird’s Eye Peppers grown in Africa!
  • Which ever pepper you decide to use, remember the heat if found in the seeds, remove seeds to reduce the heat intensity of this dish if desired.

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN