Try These Grilling Tips from Market Manager Matt!

Summer is technically coming to a close with kids back in school this week. As we wrap up August, why not do it with friends in your backyard with food from the market that you throw on the grill? After all, the house stays cooler when you are cooking outside.

Market Manager Matt Macioge encourages us not to be intimidated by grilling with the reminder that it is one of the most primal ways to prepare food. Matt offers a few tips that you need to know to start down the road to master grilling. First, know your grill. Is it propane, charcoal, or are you channeling your ancient ancestors and cooking over a real wood fire? (We are not going to touch smokers in this newsletter…that’s a subject worthy of its own article.) Personally, I prefer the consistency of propane, but when I need that flavor only wood can give, I light up the logs in my fire pit and pull the grates across the top.

Let’s start with building your fire. Starting propane is as simple as turning on the gas and clicking a starter button, and adjust the burners to the temperature you want. But charcoal is another story. You can pick up a charcoal chimney at most hardware stores. Fill it with an easily combustible material like newspaper and add your charcoal. Light the paper and the flames will get the coals red hot shortly. A great suggestion from Matt to keep in mind is to always lay out your coals or adjust burners to have a cool spot. This allows you to rest your food if it is cooking too fast or do some indirect cooking where the flame is not directly below the food.

Now that you have the fire going, it’s time to clean the grill surface. Make sure the surface is hot, and use a wire brush to clean the grates. Oil them using some vegetable oil on a clean cloth, paper towel, or Matt’s favorite, half an onion. Slide it across the grates to oil them, which prevents sticking and increases the life of your grill. Next step – grab your tools!


There are hundreds of utensils and tools out there to make grilling easier and more enjoyable. They range from barbeque sets with spatulas, tongs, knives and even corn holders to electric rotisseries. But really all you need is something to move the food around on the grill. Just remember where and when grilling started; well before all of these fun gadgets and gizmos. That said, it never hurts to have some bamboo skewers for making kabobs and some heavy duty foil to make a heat shield or to tent your meat as it rests.


Now, how about the food? Most of us think first of that steak or chicken with perfect diamond shaped grill marks on it when we think of grilling. Sausages, hotdogs and hamburgers also come to mind. Or, try a good fish from Concha’s Salsa and Seafood. You can get them whole or filleted, but either way, cook them skin side down over a low heat on well-oiled grates. Matt described his most recent grilled seafood effort, “My last fish on the grill was a whole vermillion stuffed with herbs and slices of lemon,” and offers that “a fish basket for you grill is a great tool.”

Vegetables on the grill are a great option (and honestly it is easier to clean the grill afterwards) and you can use that fish basket for grilling vegetables as well. The vegetables at market now are great for this. Line your okra up in a row and thread them together with two bamboo skewer to make an okra raft. Roast these about the same time a good chicken thigh would take to cook. Roast your peppers over high heat until charred on the outside, put them into a paper bag to loosen the skin, then peel them to have the perfect roasted pepper. Slice your zucchini, squash and eggplant about ¼-inch thick, toss with olive oil and salt, cook quickly for some nice grill marks on both sides and let the vegetable’s natural flavors pop!


Still craving something more savory? Go see Chris Rios with Vegan Nom at SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown for some Tempeh charcuterie, add one of your favorite sauces and you have a great meal.

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Whether you are cooking up meat or veggies, think about grilling some bread as the last thing you do with the grill. It will pick up the flavor from the grates and look like you are the king of the backyard grill. Put some butter in a bowl next to the grill to melt (in the summer the heat alone will melt the butter). Slice a nice baguette in half lengthwise and spread the melted butter on the inside. Place it on the grill butter side down until golden brown. What’s that? You are gluten free? No worries! Go see Tim Elias with Gluten Free Yourself, our newest vendor at SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown. He will be happy to help you find the perfect bread for any occasion.

So hit the market and see Countryside Farm, Dewberry Hills Farm, Indian Hills Farm, IO Ranch, Peach Creek Farm, Richardson Farms, and Smith & Smith Farms for all of your meat needs and the rest of the market for everything else.