Nothing says summer to a Canadian like cooking dinner on the barbecue and eating in the great – and temporarily non-frozen – outdoors. But grilling steak and lobster every night is a quick route to the poor house. Here are some bbq savings tips for you to enjoy the goodness of the grill without breaking the bank.
Buy Cheaper Cuts
Yes, a nice porterhouse or T-bone is a tasty treat. But it really should be just that; a once in a while indulgence. Buy a cheaper cut like skirt steak or flank steak, pre-marinate them, and you’ll have everyone asking for seconds. (On second thought, maybe this isn’t a money saving suggestion!)
Most butchers will happily share tips on how to prepare and enjoy lower-priced cuts. And why pay a premium for dried out chicken breasts, when you can have a tastier thighs and legs for a fraction of the cost?
Also note that retailers charge extra for seasoning your meat. Buy unseasoned meats and make your own rubs and marinades. You’ll save money, plus be able to control what goes in and how much.
And remember that nutritionists recommend that the protein should only be a portion on what’s on your. A piece of meat the size of a deck of cards is a commonly used measuring guide.
With summer’s bounty upon us, you could save a small fortune by foregoing the meat altogether and serving up an all-veg meal. One of our favourites is to marinate some sliced peppers, zucchini, mushroom, and eggplant, then serve on grilled focaccia and top it all with some goat cheese. Just typing that makes me hungry. Looking for more options? Sites like Epicurious.com and CanadianLiving.com have searchable menus with hundreds of vegetarian recipes for the grill.
Prepare a Potluck
If you’re keen to host a barbeque bash, but reluctant to foot the entire bill, ask your guests to contribute. Most people are happy enough to get an invitation. If you provide the venue and main course, your friends can bring appies, sides, and dessert. Rotate houses and you’ll end up with a series of meals for a minimal cost each time.
Maintain Your Grill
Most people know enough to scrape the grill clean before and after cooking, but depending on how often you use it, you should give your grill a thorough cleaning once or twice a season. Set up an area with some newspaper on the ground and scrape and scrub both sides of the grills and the heat shields that sit over the burners, then scoop out any crud at the bottom of the grill. By doing this you’ll reduce the flare-ups that scorch your food, and prolong the life of the grill.
The electric lighter is usually the first thing to conk out on a gas barbecue, but it’s a $10 part you can easily replace yourself, or simply buy a long-nozzle lighter.
If the burners have started rusting away, you can also buy replacements (for about $25) and your barbeque will be as good as new.
Minimize Your Cleaning Bill
Here’s a tip: when using the brush to clean the crude off the grill, only apply pressure when pushing towards the back of the grill (as opposed to scraping back and forth). That way you won’t get charred flakes landing on your clothes.
Share Your Savvy (And Tasty) BBQ Saving Ideas!
Do you have a mouthwatering bbq dish that’s friendly on the wallet? Share your recipe with us, and we’ll include it in our upcoming Summer Savings list! You can send us a comment below, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.