Tips for Grilling Vegetables

Grilled vegetables can be delicious when prepared properly. They can also be kind of gross or a bit
of a mess if you don’t use the right approach. It’s ok if you’ve only used your grill to cook meat in the past. Maybe it’s time to expand your horizons and broaden the options on your dinner table. Here are some tips for grilling vegetables that will produce the best results.

Types of Vegetables that are Ideal for Grilling

The good news is that you can probably grill just about any type of vegetable. Grilling releases the food’s natural flavors and can put nice “char” on it that gives it an additional kick. Some of the favorites that work well on a grill include:

  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Yellow squash and zucchini
  • Corn
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Mushrooms

Cutting Your Vegetables to Get them Ready for Grilling

The trick to successfully grilling vegetables is to avoid cutting them too thin. Thicker cuts won’t cook too quickly or fall through your grill’s grates. Here are some cutting tips for those popular vegetables:

  •  Onions — Grilled onions are deliciously sweet! Peel them first and then either quarter
    them into small chunks or cut them into ½” thick rounds.
  • Potatoes — Cut large potatoes into ½” cubes or leave small fingerling potatoes as-is.
  • Bell peppers — Either cut your bell peppers into long ½” strips or simply cut them in half.
  • Yellow squash and zucchini — Squash and zucchini have a lot of water content, so they
    can be easy to overcook. Cut them into either ½” rounds or long ways using a mandolin
    with slices at least ½” thick.
  • Corn — Shuck your corn cobs, and they will be ready to place on the grill!
  • Brussel sprouts — Cut off the ends and remove the outer leaves. Then, cut them in half.
  • Mushrooms — Grill portobello mushrooms as-is. Smaller mushrooms can be cut in half.
    Seasoning Your Vegetables for Grilling

Most vegetables could benefit from some simple seasoning before you place them on the grill. One
recommendation is to lightly coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder. You can also add some other fun seasonings like balsamic, street corn seasoning, or different marinades according to your tastes.

How Long to Cook Vegetables on the Grill?

The cooking time for your veggies will vary depending on how thick they are sliced, how you are
grilling them, and your level of heat. That said, here is a rough guideline for some different types of vegetables:

  • Onions — Quarters should be grilled for about 15-20 minutes, but round slices will only
    take about 8-10 minutes.
  • Potatoes — Potatoes will usually take about 20-25 minutes to cook on the grill.
  • Bell peppers — Grill ½” strips for about 3-4 minutes per side and halves about 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Yellow squash and zucchini — Grill these veggies for about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Corn — Corn takes about 15-20 minutes to cook on the grill. Make sure you are rotating it.
  • Brussel sprouts — Depending on how you cook them, brussel sprouts will cook in 10-20 minutes on the grill.
  • Mushrooms — Mushrooms take about 8-10 minutes to cook on the girl and will require flipping.

Different Methods for Grilling Vegetables

What types of vegetables you are cooking and the materials available to you might determine how
you approach your meal preparation. Here are several options for grilling your vegetables:

Directly on the Grill

Large veggies, like corn and large chunks of onion or bell pepper, can be placed directly on the grill. Season them first and cook for about five minutes over medium to medium-high heat before flipping.

Foil Packets

If you have small vegetables, like mushrooms or brussel sprouts, foil packets are an excellent option for grilling. Preheat your grill to medium or medium-high and then place your foil packets on the grill for about 20 minutes. Poke a few holes in the top.

 Grill Basket

Similar to foil packets, a grill basket will protect your veggies from falling through the grates. Preheat your grill to medium or medium-high, and then cook your veggies for roughly 20 minutes, stirring or flipping them about every five minutes.

Vegetable Kabobs

Finally, a favorite way to grill vegetables is by making veggie kabobs. Make sure you combine
similar-sized veggies on your kabobs and then turn them halfway through cooking.

Choose Nick’s of Clinton for Your Grilling Needs

Now that you know how to grill delicious vegetables, it’s time to go shopping. Nick’s of Clinton offers the highest quality products at the most affordable prices in the area. For over 50 years, our family has offered the community a family-oriented shopping experience, a unique alternative to the massive chain stores.

We welcome you to come in and check out our fresh produce, high-quality meats, and signature
seasonings and sauces. We’d be happy to help you with product selection and provide preparation
tips if you need them. Visit or contact us today!

Planning Your July 4th Cookout

With the 4th of July right around the corner, it’s time to start planning for the perfect cookout.
Whether you have watermelon or burgers (or both!) on the mind, Nick’s of Clinton has you covered for all of your cookout needs. Visit our store or give our team a call today to learn how we can help you to prepare for the perfect day.

Fourth of July Menu Ideas

The Fourth is a time to celebrate our country, rejoice over freedom, and spend time with family and friends. While there are a number of traditional Fourth of July foods that you can certainly serve during your cookout, you can also deviate from the norm and try something a bit more innovative. Some of our favorite 4th of July menu ideas include:

  • Pasta salad. When it comes to pasta salad, don’t hesitate to get creative. While a traditional pasta salad is always yummy, there’s also the option for Mediterranean pasta salad, Caprese pasta salad, chicken ranch or buffalo pasta salad, or even a Mexican pasta salad! The options are endless.
  • Potato salad. Like pasta salad, potato salad can be traditional: potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, mayo, mustard, red onions, and celery. But there’s also the option to mix it up by adding different spices, herbs, meats, cheeses, nuts, etc. A German potato salad is also a great alternative!
  • Burgers. Burgers are a great thing to grill for the 4th of July—always a crowd pleaser. Burgers are simple, easy, and can be dressed up for everyone’s preference. If you’re serving picky eaters, a burger bar with various topping options is recommended.
  • Kabobs. A fun Fourth of July favorite are kabobs. In addition to meat kabobs, consider some vegetable kabobs or even fruit kabobs—you can put these together to be red and blue and dipped in white (whipped cream) quite easily.
  • Ribs. If you have a bit more time to prepare, consider deviating from the traditional burgers and hotdogs and prepping some ribs instead. Ribs make for great grilling and are always a favorite.
  • Watermelon. Many people would agree that it’s just not the Fourth without watermelon! Rather than just cutting up the melon fresh, consider a fruit salad, watermelon, feta, and mint (or basil!) salad, or even grilled watermelon, which is quite delicious.
  • Salad. Adding some greens to the mix on the Fourth is an easy way to get some vitamins while keeping things tasty. There are dozens of different salad options to consider, so don’t limit yourself to just lettuce and ranch or a plain old Caesar.

In addition to your main dishes, don’t forget about dessert! For the Fourth of July, we love homemade ice cream, cookies, brownies, and strawberry shortcake. A berry cheesecake that shows off America’s colors can be a beautiful option, too!

What You Need on Your Shopping List

In addition to planning the perfect food menu, don’t forget about small appetizers and drinks! On your shopping list, you’ll surely want:

  • Cheeses
  • Meats
  • Fruit
  • Main dish ingredients
  • Buns/breads
  • Chips
  • Sparkling waters/non-alcoholic beverage options
  • Wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverage options + mixers
  • Desserts—either ingredients for a dessert or a premade dessert
  • Disposable plates (opt for compostable!)
  • Napkins
  • Utensils
  • Tablecloths

Other Considerations for Planning the Perfect Cookout

When you’re planning the perfect cookout, remember that it’s not just about the food. Sure, the cookout is important, but there are many things that can contribute to or detract from a wonderful time. Consider the setting, and make sure your grill is ready to go before it’s cooking time. While sun is likely, remember that rain is possible, so a contingency plan (perhaps large tents or umbrellas?) is a must. Also, consider that planning some games or other activities for guests to enjoy can lead to a more enjoyable get-together. And finally, remember that you don’t have to do it all! You can also host a cookout that’s potluck style and ask different attendees to contribute different menu items.

Visit Nick’s of Clinton for All of Your 4th of July Cookout Needs

The Best Way to Prepare a Steak

Cooking the perfect steak involves more than just taking the meat out of your refrigerator and tossing it on the grill. It involves choosing the right cut of meat, properly preparing the meat and selecting the right cooking method. Here is the best way to prepare a steak to get the results you and your guests will love.

Start With the Right Cut of Meat

When it comes to cooking any good meal, the ingredients you start with are vital. You’ll want to find the highest-quality cut of meat, which means heading over to the butcher section of your favorite local grocer. Our meat department offers not only the best cuts of meat, but we also provide the best service of any meat counter in Southern Maryland. Our experienced butchers with work with you to make sure you go home with the right cut of meat for your meal.

You can choose from different cuts of beef for steak, depending on your preferences. A leaner cut will produce a blander, drier steak. At the same time, a cut with some extra marbling and fat will tend to taste a bit better. If you’re unsure where to start, you cannot go wrong with a ribeye as an easy-to-prepare steak.

Prepare and Season Your Steak

Sometimes, simple is better. You can create a light crust on your steak with a mixture of fresh pepper and sea salt. Use just a bit more than you think might be necessary. You can also coat your steak with olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and crushed garlic. Or, you can use our seasonings to bring out the flavor in your steak – Nick’s All Purpose Seasoning or Nick’s Blackened Seasoning.

To Marinade Your Steak or Not?

Marinading steak isn’t necessary to bring out the meat’s natural flavors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it and produce some delicious results. If you want to create a steak meal that is a bit different than your typical steak on the grill, you can opt for a marinade. Marinading steak is also an excellent way to tenderize the meat and ensure it remains juicy if you don’t plan to consume it all in one sitting.

You can marinate a steak anywhere from five minutes to 24 hours, but it’s not a good idea to go longer than 24 hours. Here are a few options:

  • Simple Ribeye Marinade – Mix olive oil, Worchestershire sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Marinade your steak for up to eight hours.
  • Strip Steak Marinade– Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour over the strip steak on a pan and cover. Let sit for up to 30 minutes.

Cooking Your Steak to Perfection

Where and how you cook your steak is a matter of personal preference and the availability of different options. Most people choose the cook their steak on the grill, which tends to produce the best results.

It’s a common practice to brush some oil or butter onto steaks just before cooking them. Doing this prevents the meat from sticking to the grill and adds another layer of moisture to the meat.

No matter where you cook your steak, monitoring its internal temperature will ensure you get the perfect cut of meat that satisfies your tastes. It’s a good idea to pick up a digital meta thermometer so that you can get the job done right. Simply insert the thermometer into the edge of the steak to the center.

These are your target meat temperatures:

  • Rare125 °F
  • Medium rare130°F
  • Medium140°F
  • Medium well150°F
  • Well done165°F

Note: The internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise after you remove it from the cooking source. So, you should remove it from the grill or pan when it is about 5 °F below your target temperature.

Condiments and Sauces to Compliment Your Meal

If you marinaded your steak or seasoned it, you may not want anything additional when you serve it. But many of us love a decadent sauce with our cooked or grilled meat. And there are tons of options.

We provide two sauces for your steak: Nick’s Barbecue and Nick’s Steak Sauce. Of course, you can pick up the tried and true A1, Lea & Perrins Bold, or Heinz 57 steak sauce at the store. You can also create your own steak sauce at home. Some popular choices include Bearnaise, Garlic Herb Butter, Red Wine, and Blue Cheese sauce.

Get the Best Cuts of Meat at Nick’s of Clinton

No matter what type of steak you decide to cook or how you choose to prepare it, you’ll want to start with the right cut of meat. If you’d like help choosing the perfect cut, feel free to ask our butchers for assistance. We are always happy to help customers find the ideal choice for their next barbeque, family meal, or event. Visit our store today or call us at (301) 843-4825.

Tailgating – The Best Things to Grill While Tailgating

Whether you’re cheering on your favorite high school, college, or pro team this season – or a bit of all three – you’re probably going to work up an appetite. Knowing this going in, most sports fans fuel up for the big game with a tailgate party that includes plenty of delicious food.

When you unpack your grill for your next tailgate, what are you going to cook on it? If you need a few ideas, we have a few suggestions for you. Here are some of the best things to grill while tailgating for any event.

Grilled Burgers and Hot Dogs

Let’s start with the tailgating basics – burgers and hot dogs. Kids and adults alike love and probably expect to see these staples at any tailgate event. But, instead of making them an afterthought, you can make your burgers and dogs memorable.

One way to ruin these tailgating mainstays is to assume they require the same cooking heat. They don’t. No matter how you prep them, you want to grill your burgers over medium-high heat and your hot dogs over medium-low heat.

Your burgers are ready to be flipped when they are easy to move. If you’re struggling to scrape them up, it’s not time yet. You are looking for an internal temperature of between 145° (medium rare) to 160° (medium well). With your dogs, keep them rolling often on the grate to get them heated evenly.

Grilled Chicken Wings and Drumsticks

Grilled chicken wings and drumsticks can be made quickly, are delicious, and complete crowd-pleasers for any event. They only require a few ingredients and are ready in under an hour. Here are the steps to take to prepare them:

  • Set up your grill for two-zone grilling with a target of about 375-400 degrees F for the direct heat portion.
  • Season your chicken wings and drumsticks thoroughly with a mixture of garlic salt and pepper.
  • Place your chicken on the direct heat portion of the grill and cook for roughly 30-35 minutes, flipping about every 5 minutes. The internal temp should reach about 165 degrees F.
  • Once cooked, move your wings to the indirect heat side of your grill and baste them with your favorite sauce (BBQ, Teriyaki, Buffalo, etc.).
  • Grill the chicken for an additional 5-10 minutes, so the sauce begins to caramelize and set. Once the internal temp of your chicken reaches 175 degrees F, they’re done!

Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Sure, they’re a bit messy for a tailgate. But baby back ribs are so delicious that no one’s going to care. Traditional BBQ ribs don’t need to be precooked before grilling. But they will need to sit on the grill for a few hours, so plan your time wisely.  Here are the steps:

  • Buy about 2-3 racks of pork baby back ribs and your choice of prepared BBQ sauce. (set aside).
  • Create a dry rub in a bowl from these ingredients:
    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon chile powder
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
    • ¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Remove any sliver skin from the back of the ribs using a sharp knife. Then, coat each rack of ribs evenly with the dry rub. Wrap tightly with 2-3 layers of aluminum foil.
  • Preheat your grill to medium heat and cook the ribs over direct heat (covered) for about one hour, turning twice. The grill temp should be about 350-400 degrees F.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill for 10 minutes to cool. Take them out of the foil and place them directly on the grill (bone side down). Using a brush, baste the ribs with your choice of BBQ sauce for about 10 minutes until glazed. Flip the ribs several times while continuing to baste.
  • Remove the ribs from the grill and let them sit for several minutes before serving.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

If you’re looking for something fast to grill that will also be a crowd-pleaser, shrimp skewers might be just the ticket. You can prepare them at home by first peeling and deveining them. Then, marinate them for up to two hours in your choice of lemon and herb dressing on wooden or metal skewers.

These skewers need just a few minutes on the grill. Cook your shrimp until it is a pinkish-orangish color, usually about 2-3 minutes tops.

Visit Nick’s of Clinton for All Your Tailgating Needs

Now that you’re ready to cheer on your home team, let Nick’s of Clinton get you prepared for that ultimate tailgate party. Nick’s full-service meat counter is the centerpiece of its store. We take pride in offering the highest level of customer satisfaction as well as giving customers a wide variety of fresh meats at the most affordable prices. Visit Nick’s today for all your tailgating needs.

Grill Care – How to Properly Maintain Your Grill

Not much is better than a quality cut of meat or a juicy pork chop cooked to perfection on your outdoor grill. Most backyard bbq’ers spend considerable time researching the best way to grill a burger or how to grill a salmon steak, but few spend time researching the best way to take care of their grill.

Poor grill maintenance can have a negative impact on your grilled food, but it can also have a negative impact on the longevity of your grill. So, if you’d like to avoid replacing your BBQ grill every season, it’s a good idea to keep it well-maintained. Having your grill in top shape is a necessity if you want your food grilled to perfection every time.

So, how do you properly maintain a BBQ grill? Fortunately, it’s not hard. Here are some of the things you can do each time you grill as well as periodically to care for your grill, whether it is a charcoal or gas unit.

Grill Care – Before You Grill

Some of the steps you take before you grill can make your grilling area safer, improve your experience, and reduce your maintenance time later. Here are a few to put on your list:

  • Create a foundation – Place a grill pad or splatter mat under your grill. This is a naturally heat-resistant pad that will protect your patio or deck from drips of grease that might escape your grill.
  • Place your grill properly – Any grill, gas or charcoal, should be placed at least 10 feet from your home and in a well-ventilated space. Keep your grill away from dry leaves and other combustible surfaces. And make sure the grill is on a firm foundation.
  • Use safe practices – Make sure you store propane outside and never overfill your tanks. Always open the lid before lighting a gas grill. And never substitute anything else for lighter fluid in a charcoal grill.

Grill Care – Every Time You Grill

Create this simple routine every time you use your grill to keep it in top working condition:

  • Each time you turn on your grill, make sure you thoroughly preheat it. This disinfects and cleans the grill.
  • Get a clean cooking surface by brushing the grates to remove any residue.
  • After you remove the last of your grilled food, turn up the heat to high. This burns off all the residual grease and drippings on the grill.
  • As soon as the grill has completely cooled, cover it up. It’s a misconception that a grill cover leads to rusting.

Grill Care – Every 10-12 Uses

About every 10-12 cookouts, spend a little extra time on these BBQ grill maintenance tasks:

  • Remove the cooking grates and thoroughly clean them on both sides.
  • While the grate is off, brush out the inside of the grill and send debris into the drip pan.
  • Clean the rest of the area in your grill that is below the grates and above the burners.
  • Pull out your drip pan and either clean it out or replace it.
  • Put your grate and any other removed parts back in your grill and light it. Let it heat up for several minutes until there is no (or very little) smoke coming from the grill.

Grill Care – Once Per Year

Once per year, maybe when you’re getting ready for the spring season or cleaning up in the fall, perform these annual BBQ grill maintenance steps:

  • Remove your grill’s cooking grates and soak them in soapy, hot water.
  • Also, remove the grill’s barrier and soak it in soapy hot water.
  • Take a brush and clean out the interior of your grill. It’s ok to leave a greasy film on the inside as this protects the metal on your grill from deterioration.
  • With the grates and barrier removed, light your grill to see how the burners are working. If the flames aren’t even, you should clean the burners. You can remove the burners from the grill and clean them with a small wire or a pipe cleaner. Once complete, reinstall and test your flames again.
  • Next, remove your grease drip pan and clean it out.
  • Wash the exterior of your grill, similar to the way you would a vehicle.
  • Reassemble your grill’s cooking grates and barrier.
  • Light the grill one more time to test everything and dry the internal components.

If you plan to store your grill after this service, you can disconnect the gas supply. Otherwise, it’s ready to fire up again and cook your next meal.

Make Sure You Have the Best Meats for Your Next BBQ

Now that you know how to care for and maintain your grill, it’s time to schedule your next BBQ. Nick’s of Clinton has a 40-foot full-service meat counter that is the centerpiece of our store. We offer only the highest-quality beef, chicken, and seafood as well as daily-prepared gourmet entrees. Visit us today, and one of our highly skilled butchers would be happy to help you select the best product for your next meal or BBQ.

Pork Chops or Steak – Which Goes Better on the Grill?

If you’re torn between grilling pork chops or steak, there are things to consider. The first, of course, one is pork and the other is beef. Aside from that obvious thing that sets them apart, there are a few similarities. Here is what you need to know to make the right choice for your next barbeque as well as the best way to grill each of these delicious meats.

What’s the Difference Between Pork Chops and Steak?

Interestingly, steaks and pork chops have a lot more in common than people think. First, they both come from the same parts of the steer and pig. Pork chops come from the long area down the center of the pig’s back, called the loin. Steak comes from the same area of the steer. But, instead of calling it the loin, those beef cuts are divided into four different prime cuts: sirloin, short loin, rib, and chuck.

The second way that pork chops and steak are the same is that both are delicious. Cooked with the right technique on the grill, you are sure to have a meal that you’ll enjoy and one that will impress your family and guests.

Choosing The Right Cut – Focus On Center Cuts

If you are going to grill pork chops, you’ll generally find center cuts to be the ones most available at your local grocer’s. They have a T-shaped bone and look like a traditional pork chop. All of the meat along a pig’s loin is also classified as pork chops, but it has different shaped bones so those cuts will have a different appearance.

A ribeye steak and a center-cut pork chop are taken from the center of the loin. These two cuts of meat are high-quality and will give you some of the best results when grilling. Some other options to consider are the center-cut loin pork chop and the T-bone steak, which is actually made up of the filet mignon and the New York Strip steak.

The Best Ways to Grill Pork Chops and Steak

If you’re trying to choose between pork chops and steak for the grill, you can’t go wrong with either. With the right preparation and grilling technique, you’ll create a delicious meal that you’ll want to put on your regular schedule.

Grilling Pork Chops

There are many ways you can grill pork chops. Because pork chops are a fairly lean meat, they can dry out on the grill if you don’t prepare them correctly. A good rule of thumb is to brine them before grilling because this adds extra moisture and seasoning to the meat.

Brining isn’t a complicated process. Wisk some cold water with a dash of salt and a bit of sugar. If you like, you can also add peppercorns, citrus peel, and/or bay leaves for flavor. Allow your chops to sit in the brine anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

Once they’ve been brined, pat them dry with paper towels and add additional seasoning of your choice. This can include black pepper or your favorite spice rub. Just avoid too much additional salt.

When grilling, pork chops should be seared over high heat for a few minutes per side, then reduced to medium heat to finish cooking to your liking. This should take anywhere from four to seven minutes depending on the thickness of your cut. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145°F.

Grilling Steak

When you grill your steak, you won’t have to brine it like you do pork chops. You can certainly marinade it if you wish. But this isn’t necessary to unlock the meat’s natural flavors.

To get a perfectly grilled steak every time, remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling and heat your grill to high. Season your steak liberally with salt and pepper after brushing both sides of the meat with oil.

Steak should be cooked with direct heat, meaning you’re cooking directly over the flame, whether using charcoal or gas. This is what gives the steak its amazing flavor.

Place your steak on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until it is slightly charred and golden brown. Turn it over and cook until it reaches the right temperature: 130-135 degrees F for medium-rare, 135-140 degrees for medium, and 145-155 degrees for medium-well. Remove your steak from the grill and wait at least 10 minutes before slicing into it so the meat has time to seal in the juices.

Get Help from Our Butchers at Nick’s of Clinton

Whether you choose pork chops or steak, you can’t go wrong with the right cut of meat. If you’d like help selecting the perfect cut, feel free to approach our butchers directly. We are always happy to assist customers in finding the perfect choice for their next family meal, barbeque, or event. Visit our store or call us at (301) 843-4825.