Easy Summertime Grill Recipes for Seniors


Nothing says summer is here quite as deliciously as the scent of something cooking on the grill. Whether it’s over gas or charcoal, in a backyard or on the beach, it’s that mouth-watering scent that draws rumbles of hunger from your belly. According to The Propane Guys, a whopping 75% of Americans own a grill or smoker – and that number is almost evenly divided between genders, with men manning the grill 51% of the time and women cooking on it for the other 49%.

About 63% of those who own a grill use it on a regular basis. And yes, that might include in the dead of winter – 33% of those brave souls will fire up the grill when it’s below freezing!

For some, a grill might seem intimidating. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never look back. The key to good grilling is to practice quite a bit – and stay safe at all times. Keep a medical alert watch or pendant on you every time you are grilling, even if you are surrounded by family and friends. The peace of mind you’ll get is incredibly valuable!

Let’s start with some grilling safety tips, then dive into delicious recipes to get you started.

Grilling Safety Tips for Seniors

Though grilling is popular year-round, most people focus on grilling for special occasions, such as Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and birthdays[1]. Injuries, fires, and property damage could definitely ruin those fantastic days, so starting out with grill safety is imperative. In fact, The National Fire Protection Association reports that roughly 8,900 home fires each year can be attributed to grills. And between 2014 and 2018, about 19,700 people went to the emergency department each year due to injuries involving grills; nearly half of those were due to thermal burns. And though you can be injured or have a fire with either a gas or charcoal grill, Traveler’s Insurance reports that out of all home fires, gas grills accounted for four out of five fires.

However, knowledge is power! With this awareness, you can be safer around grills. Keep these tips in mind for charcoal grills[2]:

·         Use a proper starter fluid (assuming you use it at all). Store it out of reach of children. Keep it away from heat sources, as the container could explode if it gets too hot.

·         Never use any other type of combustible liquid to light the charcoal.

·         Never pour starter fluid on charcoal that is already lit. That can lead to a sudden flare of fire.

·         Check for rust damage before using the grill. Do this every time. Rust can create holes in the grill that allows smoldering charcoal to fall out, and that could cause a fire.

·         Never leave the grill unattended.

·         Keep any combustible items far away from the grill, and keep the grill away from the wall of the house.

·         Remember that charcoal grills can remain hot for hours after you’re done using them. Be careful not to touch the grill, and keep a close eye on children to prevent them from wandering too close.

Are you cooking with gas? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind for gas grills:[3]

·         Before using the grill, check the gas cylinder hose for leaks. You can do this by applying a soap and water solution to the hose. Turn on the cylinder and watch closely. The soap solution will bubble up if any gas is escaping from the hose. If you get bubbles, get a new hose before using the grill.

·         If you smell gas and there is no flame, turn off the tank and the grill. If the scent continues, call the fire department. If the scent stops, get a professional to service the tank and/or grill before using it.

·         If you smell gas and there is a flame, get away from the grill and contact the fire department.

·         Never attempt to move the grill while the gas and grill are turned on.

·         Open the lid before turning on the gas. Leaving it closed can lead to a dangerous buildup of gas that can ignite into a firestorm underneath the lid.

·         Completely close the valve on the grill when you are finished cooking.

·         Store gas grills and their propane tanks outside and well away from your home.

No matter what type of grill you are using, keep the grill at least ten feet away from the house or other structures. Watch for overhanging branches, balconies or awnings, deck rails, and rambunctious pets and children getting too close. In fact, create a “kid-free zone” around the grill of at least three feet. Don’t wear scarves or similar flowing clothing that could fall into the heated area of the grill and potentially ignite.

Never use a grill in an enclosed space, as this can lead to a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide. Never use the grill as a heat source. This cannot be stressed enough – never, ever bring your grill into the house.

Finally, always take the time to clean the grill well after each use. To ensure charcoal cools down, close all the vents and close the lid to cut off the flow of oxygen to the smoldering bricks.

When you are near the grill, consider an emergency response solution that will be right there with you. Whether it’s a wristband, watch, or pendant, it brings peace of mind that if you needed help, it would be on the way within seconds. One press of the button gets you the attention of the Command Center, where a trained professional will evaluate the situation and send the help you need. And if you have a pendant that uses the base unit at your home, no worries! The range of our products is greater than that of a football field – so even if you’re outside, you can still reach help immediately.

Easy Grill Recipes for Seniors

To start grilling, it’s wise to invest in an instant-read thermometer for testing the meat and fish you prepare on the grill. Since it can sometimes be tough to determine the actual temperature of the grill, especially during cold weather, using a thermometer will help ensure the meat is cooked properly.

Second, when you are working with your grill, it’s great to have a  medical alert pendant handy. To prevent it from swinging over the grill and possibly being damaged, wear it on its included belt clip. This will keep it close to you so you can use it if necessary, but far enough away from the grill that there will be no danger of damage. And of course, if you need to use that panic button, don’t hesitate!

Here are some easy recipes to start your summer off right.

Grilled Salmon Salad

Salmon on the grill can provide superb flavor. Add this into a salad and enjoy the burst of deliciousness. Here’s a fun fact: 90% of the wild salmon in the United States comes from Alaska[4]. And salmon is a super healthy food for elderly adults.

·         4 salmon filets, about 6 ounces each

·         ¼ tsp. salt

·         ¼ tsp. garlic powder

·         ¼ tsp. onion powder

·         ¼ tsp. ground ginger

·         ¼ tsp. pepper

·         ½ tsp. parsley flakes

·         1 package spring mix salad greens or romaine, chopped

·         1 cucumber, chopped into small dice

·         1 large tomato, cut into small rounds or dice

·         ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

·         ¼ cup vinaigrette of your choice (red wine vinaigrette works well)

Blend the spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the salmon. Use your fingertips to press the spices firmly into the flesh. Place the salmon on a grill rack that has been oiled very well, skin side down. Cover the salmon and grill it over medium heat until the fish begins to flake when touched with a fork. This should take 10 or 12 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the salads on plates. Top with the hot salmon filet and drizzle with the vinaigrette right before serving.

Steaks on the Grill

Beef is incredibly popular on the grill. In fact, ground beef is of particular interest, especially the 80% or 85% varieties[5]. But what tops that? Steak.

·         4 steaks of your choice, 8 ounces each

·         1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

·         1/3 cup soy sauce

·         ¼ cup olive oil

·         2-3 tbsps. Worcestershire sauce

·         1 tbsp. honey

·         1 tsp. dried oregano

·         1 tsp. garlic powder

·         1 tsp. onion powder

·         1 tsp. dried mustard

Blend all the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Place the steaks in a zip lock bag and pour the marinade in. Press out any excess air and seal the bag. Using your fingertips, massage the steaks in the marinade to ensure every bit is covered.

Allow the steaks to rest in the marinade while you fire up the grill. Letting them soak up the flavor for about 15 minutes is good, though 30 minutes is better.

Transfer the steaks to the grill using tongs (do not use a fork, as you don’t want to puncture the steak). Cook until the steak is done as you want it; check with the thermometer to be sure. Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for five minutes before serving with a variety of sides.

Tasty BBQ Chicken

Chicken is incredibly versatile. You can modify this recipe to accommodate more or less chicken, take away the hot sauce for the milder palates, and even use different cuts of chicken.

·         10 bone-in chicken breast halves

·         1 cup apple cider vinegar

·         ¼ cup olive oil

·         5 tsps. Worcestershire sauce

·         3 tsps. hot sauce

·         1 tsp. salt

Combine the marinade ingredients. Pour one cup of the marinade into a zip lock bag along with the chicken. Reserve the rest for basting. Make sure the chicken is well-coated. Refrigerate the chicken for at least four hours (if you can do this overnight, even better!). Refrigerate the reserved marinade too.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, drain and discard the marinade. Use a drip pan on the grill. You will cook the chicken over indirect heat. Place them bone side down on an oiled rack and make sure the grill is at medium heat. Cooking should take about 20 minutes on each side. Baste every five minutes or so with the remaining marinade.

The chicken is done when it reaches a temperature of 170 degrees as the thickest point. Serve immediately with your choice of sides.

Grilled Romaine Salad

You can grill a salad? Why, yes. Yes you can.

·         1/3 cup olive oil, plus another 3 tbsps. olive oil

·         2 tbsps. white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar will do in a pinch)

·         1 tbsp. dill weed

·         ½ tsp. garlic powder

·         ½ tsp. onion powder

·         1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)

·         1/8 tsp. salt

·         6 green onions

·         Several plum tomatoes, cut into halves

·         1 large cucumber, peeled and halved

·         2 large romaine hearts

Blend the 1/3 cup oil with the vinegar and seasonings, then set aside. Use the remaining 3 tbsps. olive oil to brush the vegetables and romaine. Grill all the onions, cucumber, and tomato uncovered over medium heat in a grill basket. This should take about 5 minutes on each side, or until the onions are just getting tender. Then add the romaine for only 30 seconds on each side or until heated through and slightly darkened. Remove all from the heat at the same time.

Chop the veggies to your liking and mix them in a large bowl. Whisk the dressing well and pour over the salad, then toss to coat. Serve immediately as a side.

Easy Dessert on the Grill

Salad isn’t the only unusual thing you can cook on the grill. You can make dessert on there as well! The use of a grill can bring out intense sweetness in a variety of fruits.

·         2 peaches, peeled and halved

·         2 nectarines, peeled and halved

·         2 plums, peeled and halved

·         ½ cup balsamic vinegar

·         2 tbsp. brown sugar

·         Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Combine the vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Boil the mixture and cook it down until the liquid is concentrated, or reduced by half. In the meantime, grill the fruit on a rack or in a grill basket that has been well-oiled. Grill them over medium heat until tender, which should take only three or four minutes on each side. Slice the warm fruit and arrange on the plate; drizzle with sauce. Add vanilla ice cream if desired.

As always, Alert1 wishes you a happy, healthy summer filled with lots of grilling fun! Bon appetit!