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Grilling 101: Everything You Need to Know to Feel Confident Behind the Grill this Summer from Jen Pinkston

Effortless Chic's bucket list included facing her fears and master summer’s favorite cooking medium. Here's her grilling 101 for grilled chicken and sweet veggies.

7 min read

I really love to cook.  I enjoy the rhythm of chopping, dicing, and sautéing; waiting while faint scents become tantalizing aromas that engulf a space, and the pleasure of knowing that friends and family have been nourished by food.  It’s like therapy.  (Is cooking therapy a thing? It should be!)  I can poach and chiffonade like a pro and have single handedly cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner, but for whatever reason, have always been intimidated by a grill.  Is it the open flames? The propane tank? I have no idea, but it was on my bucket list to face my fears and master summer’s favorite cooking medium.

I had my friend and grilling extraordinaire, Lauren Daniel come over and stocked up on all of the OXO tools(Opens in a new window) I would need in my arsenal.  Keep reading for the full step by step below, but, spoiler alert: it’s so easy! (We partnered with OXO on this post. Chances are you already own something that they make somewhere in your home!  They have everything you need for whatever you’re going to be cooking up this summer and beyond!  Their products make everyday living easier.)


Step 1:  Purchase a grill and don’t forget the propane tank!  According to my dad, don’t invest in a fancy one.  Because they sit outside, they all need to be replaced eventually when covered, and higher end models, in his experience, don’t cook better or last longer than the more affordable ones. Don’t forget the grilling tools!  We used these(Opens in a new window) from OXO.

Step 2: Plan your menu.  You can literally cook just about anything on the grill!  Fish, veggies, pineapple, chicken, burgers, quesadillas, pizza and beyond!  The only thing that can hold you back is your imagination.

Step 3: Marinate.  Just about everything will do better on a grill with a little oil, but it’s especially important to marinate meats.  Using a glass baking dish with a lid(Opens in a new window), marinate your chicken for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight. Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Marinade:

  • ⅓ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 tbsp. Coconut Aminos
  • 2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped

Whisk together all ingredients and pour over chicken.

For your veggies (we used sweet potatoes!), toss them in oil (about 2 tbsp. and seasoning (we used avocado oil, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper), in a bowl(Opens in a new window) and let them sit for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a baking sheet.(Opens in a new window)

Step 4: Preheat the Grill. Once connected to your grill, turn the knob on your propane tank to the left to open. Then press the ignition button on the grill while turning the heat dial to light the flames.  Leave the heat on medium and close the lid on your grill, giving it 5 minutes to heat up before beginning to grill.

Step 5: Once heated, brush your grill grates with oil so that food doesn’t stick.

Step 6: Place chicken on the grill.  Once it touches the grill, don’t try to move it or rearrange it immediately or it will stick.  Cook on the first side for 5-7 minutes before flipping.  Then cook another 5-6 minutes on the second side.  While the chicken is cooking replace the glass baking dish with the marinade in it for a clean platter. (Close the lid of the grill while cooking.)

Step 7: It’s super important to have a meat thermometer when grilling!  (Especially for chicken!) This OXO Thermocouple Thermometer(Opens in a new window) is amazing! It gives a digital reading in just a couple of seconds, so you’re not straining to read an analog dial.  Plus, it’s super accurate.  Chicken and other poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but keep in mind it will keep cooking once removed from heat.  Aim to get chicken to 150-155 degrees before removing from the grill.

Step 8: Remove the chicken and place on the platter.  Remove any excess meat still on the grill grates with a grill brush before adding new food to the grill.

Step 9: We didn’t re-oil the grill because the sweet potatoes had already been tossed in oil. We did, though, turn the heat down from medium to low for the sweet potatoes. Place on the grill and close the lid for 6 minutes.  Flip and cook for an additional 6 minutes with the lid open. You can pick them up and check to make sure they’re not getting overcooked (ours are a little on the done side!).  Remove from heat once they’re done.

Step 10: Finish with fresh herbs: I have been loving this manual food processor(Opens in a new window) for fresh salsas and rough chopping herbs.  We added two tbsp. avocado oil, ½ tsp. of honey, ½ a bunch of parsley and ½ a bunch of basil to the food processor to top the sweet potatoes with for an earthy, sweet finish.

Voilà! Dinner is done and your kitchen is still cool. Head to The Effortless Chic(Opens in a new window) for more information and photos.

Photography by Katie Jameson


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