Entertaining and cooking for the Fourth of July holiday usually means one thing – firing up the grill.

HowDoYouTakeYourSteakWhether it’s burgers, brats, hot dogs, chicken breasts, filet mignon, or vegetables, the grill will undoubtedly be the means to prepare your favorite dish. So, before you get the flame going, our Chef Brad Cruz offer these tips to help you make it a memorable grilled feast. He also offers ways to create mouthwatering desserts.

Meats When grilling meat, make sure grill rack is very hot and quickly wiped with oil and cloth. Also, be sure to season meat right before cooking.

For timing, the guideline is roughly two minutes on each side for rare an additional one minute for each elevated temperature – medium rare, medium, etc. Also, always let the meat rest for at least five minutes.

Vegetables When grilling vegetables use your favorite vinaigrette as a marinade. Balsamic herb or Italian dressing works well. Start with a hot grill. Always keep a bailout area away from heat in case of flare-ups. Thick sliced onions, eggplant, asparagus, squash are great for grilling.

Desserts Incorporating your back yard grill to make desserts is a bit tricky, but here are some things I’ve actually tried and have had some surprisingly good success at. 1st have a hot grill, clean and wiped with oil. Cut slices of pound cake and quickly mark all sides. Do the same with bananas or pineapples. Scoop vanilla ice cream over grilled pound cake bread and top with grilled fruit and enjoy.

(If all else fails, good old S’mores should do the trick.)

Happy Fourth of July!