Summer called. It’s time for a cookout. Try our tips, tricks and recipes for delicious success every time you fire up the grill.

Sear-ious Benefits - Tempting Tastes Are Just The Beginning

Alfresco cooking offers the same natural benefits of any outside time — vitamin D, stress relief, better focus.

Grilling doesn’t call for additional fat, making it one of the healthiest ways to prepare meat for your family.

Variety is also on the menu. Grills highlight fresh flavors in fruits, vegetables and family favorites like pizza.

Grilling helps keep your kitchen cool by giving the oven and stovetop a rest.

The Beef with Grilling: Safety Tips

Cut food poisoning risks and fire hazards with a quick review of these safety tips.

Cool Storage — Meat should be stored at 40 degrees before and within two hours after grilling (or one hour if it’s above 90 degrees). Follow these guidelines for prepared salads, too!

Hot Tips — Have a meat thermometer handy to ensure you hit each of the Centers for Disease Control’s temperature recommendations:

• 145 degrees for whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal (stand-time of three minutes at this temperature)

• 145 degrees for fish

• 160 degrees for hamburgers and other ground beef

• 165 degrees for poultry and pre-cooked meats

Clean Prep — We should all be pros at this by now, but limit the spread of germs and contamination by washing your hands before and after preparing meat. You can also limit contamination by not allowing raw meat or used marinades to come in contact with other foods.

Fire Hazard — Scott Moody of Arkansas’ own PK Grills lists his top safety tips for keeping your cool around fire.

• Make sure your grill is properly assembled.

• Use your grill on a stable, non-flammable surface — stone or concrete — instead of wood decking.

• Avoid the use of flammable starter liquids.

• Gather tools like heat resistant gloves and a set of long tongs for moving hot coals or cooking grates around.

• Keep children away from a hot grill.

Up Your Grill Game

And now, the main event: Moody gave us his No. 1 tip for delicious grilling, every time.

He recommends using "two zones." This intuitive grilling technique creates a "hot zone" and a "cool zone" in your grill by pushing your coals to one side rather than leaving them right in the middle. That’s it! It works with steaks, brisket and wings!


Game-Changer Two Zone Wings

• Place wings on the “cool zone” to let them smoke and acquire flavor.

• When they come to temperature, flip them and keep them moving on the hot side to crisp the skin.

• Remove from the grill, add sauce and serve!


Barbecue Chicken

Try the two-zone method on this perennial crowd-pleaser.


• 8-10 skinless chicken drumsticks or 6-8 bone in chicken thighs

• 1-2 tablespoon olive oil


• 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

• 1 teaspoon EACH onion powder, garlic powder

• 2 teaspoons brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon EACH chipotle chili powder, dried thyme, pepper

Barbecue Sauce:

• 1 cup ketchup

• 1/4 cup molasses

• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

• 2 tablespoons seedless preserves of your choice

• 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons reserved spice rub (from above, in directions)


• Whisk together all of the rub ingredients. Remove 1 1/2 teaspoons to a saucepan to use later in your sauce.

• Drizzle chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and rub it all over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with half of the rub and massage into chicken. Flip chicken over and sprinkle with remaining spice mix (it will seem like a lot but use it all). Rub spice mix into chicken. Let chicken sit 30 minutes at room temperature OR you can cover and refrigerate up to overnight for best flavor.

• Add all of the barbecue sauce ingredients to a saucepan with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of spice mix. Mix together and simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors mix.

To Grill:

• Cook seasoned chicken on oiled and heated grill on high for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and grill about 3-5 minutes on each side.

• Baste chicken with barbecue sauce and cook for 1 minute, flip and cook for additional minute. Flip chicken and baste with barbecue sauce every 3 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees. Do not overcook. Check temperature often. Brush with more sauce after removing.

Recipe by Zara Abbasi. Mom of three, Abbasi is the pastry chef and recipe developer for Zara Made It. Follow her food adventures on Instagram at @zaramadeit.