Quick & Easy Grilling Tips for Low-Carb Success

Photo by Apaha Spi on Unsplash

Protein Beef Barbecue Burgers Grill

With the summer season upon us, now is a great time to brush up on some grilling basics. Grilling is so much more than throwing the meat on the grill and letting it cook! For many, it is the center of the family get together on Sunday afternoon. For others, it is a place to prepare the “catch of the day” and swap stories about the one that got away.

Above all, grilling should be enjoyable and easy. With these quick recipes, you can easily please low carbers and non-low carbers alike with a variety of delicious meals. Barbecue rubs and marinade recipes add a unique flavor to your meals. These simple recipes will get you out of the kitchen and grilling in no time.


Protein Steak Beef
My favorite grilling fare has to be steak. I love a thick, juicy rare steak fresh off the grill.

The right cut of beef is important. Cuts like the ribeye need a little more seasoning than salt and pepper or a basic rub (see the recipe below). Less tender cuts such as flank steak need a basic marinade (see the recipe below) to tenderize them.

Here are a few tips for grilling beef:

  • Be sure to marinate your beef in a covered non-aluminum container.
  • Always marinate in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours. I prefer to use a resealable plastic bag because it’s quick and disposable.
  • Always discard any unused marinade that has come in contact with the uncooked meat.
  • When your steak is seasoned and ready to grill, make sure your fire is hot.
  • Cook your steak directly over the coals.
  • The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your steak. Use a food thermometer to make sure the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  • Let your steak rest a few minutes before serving. Resting insures that the juices spread evenly throughout the meat


Protein Chicken Garlic
Image by RitaE from Pixabay
The aroma of chicken cooking on the grill is irresistible. Basic rub and marinade recipes will taste great on your chicken, too. Equally delightful is low carb barbecue sauce brushed on near the end of the cooking time. To avoid burning the chicken once the sauce is applied, remove the chicken from the direct heat and place on the side of the grill to complete the cooking.

Another easy way to prepare grilled chicken is to grill the whole bird. I like to place my chicken on a beer or soda can and grill standing upright (see recipe below). The ideal size for this recipe is about 4 pounds. The can will fit halfway into the cavity and stand the chicken upright on the grill. To properly cook a whole chicken, place it over indirect heat with a drip pan underneath it. The internal temperature should reach 180 degrees F, and the juices should run clear. For a 4 pound chicken, the cooking time will be approximately 2 hours.


Grilled Shrimp
Photo by Apaha Spi on Unsplash
The grill is a great place to prepare seafood. Not only does it keep the fishy odor out of your house, but it also is you a tasty alternative to frying.

Here are a few tips for grilling seafood:
Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Garlic Prawns Recipe - 16 large shrimp or prawns

  • When buying fish, choose pieces that have the same thickness throughout. This will ensure that your fish will be evenly cooked.
  • Preparing fish for the grill is simple. Simply season your fish with the basic rub a few hours before mealtime.
  • Wood chips add a unique flavor to any grilled fare. Whether you choose mesquite, hickory, or oak, your fish is sure to be a hit! The simplest way to incorporate chips is to soak in water for an hour prior to grilling. Wrap the chips in aluminum foil and poke holes around the packet. Place the packet on the hot coals and allow time for the chips to start smoking before beginning to grill.
  • Use a well-oiled fish rack to make turning the fish easier.
  • Most fish cooks in a short time. To test for doneness, insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish and wiggle slightly. The fish is done when it flakes easily and looses its opaque color. Never eat undercooked fish!
  • To prevent your fish from curling as it cooks, grill the skin side down first.

Why not try some shrimp on the grill? Shrimp are a wonderful accompaniment to steak. I start with cleaned, raw shrimp with the tails off. Placing the shrimp on skewers allows you to easily marinate, baste and turn the shrimp. (Bamboo skewers need to be soaked in water for ½ an hour prior to use in order to prevent scorching.)

Once your shrimp is skewered, brush with a mixture of butter and minced garlic. The basic rub or marinade also tastes excellent on shrimp. Shrimp cooks quickly, so put it on the grill last. Grill shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes per side. The shrimp is done when it loses its opaque color. Take care not to overcook the shrimp or they will be tough.


Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables
Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables
There is no easier way to round out a low carb meal than with vegetables. Fortunately, low carbers need little else at mealtime than protein and vegetables. Vegetables cook quickly on the grill, so start them when your meat is almost done. I like to slice zucchini or eggplant lengthwise, brush the slices with olive oil, and place them on the grill for about 4 minutes per side.

Asparagus can be skewered, oiled, and grilled for about 3 minutes per side, turning once. Skewers are also good for small veggies like mushrooms or cherry tomatoes. (Don’t forget to soak your bamboo skewers before grilling!)

Take care not to let your vegetables get too mushy. I find that they taste best when they are slightly on the crunchy side.

The 4th of July is fast approaching and so are the Independence Day celebrations. Why not use these quick recipes and declare an “Independence Day “from the kitchen? Your family and friends will wonder where you found the time to prepare a tasty meal AND still beat them at badminton!

Basic Dry Rub Recipe

  • 1 cup paprika
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated Splenda
  • 2 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container until needed.

Makes About 3 cups.

Basic Balsamic Marinade Recipe

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chop fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, shallots, sage, rosemary and pepper. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and blend until emulsified.

Marinate the meat 2 to 4 hours, then grill.

Good on any kind of beef steak, pork, lamb, chicken.

Beer Can Chicken

  • 1 large whole chicken (4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons basic dry rub
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer or soda

Remove and discard the fat just inside the body cavities of the chicken. Remove the package of giblets, and set aside for another use. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels inside and out.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the rub inside the body and neck cavities, and then rub another 1 tablespoon all over the skin of the bird. If you wish, rub an additional 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture between the flesh and skin. Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you preheat the grill.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling by placing a drip pan in the center and charcoal in a ring around the perimeter of the grill. Oil the grill grate. If using a gas grill, place the drip pan on the side to remain unheated and light only one side of the grill. Preheat it to medium.

Pop the tab on the beer or soda can. Using a “church key-style” can opener, make 6 or 7 holes in the top of the can. Pour out the top inch of liquid, and then spoon the remaining dry rub through the holes into the can.

Holding the chicken upright, with the opening of the body cavity down, insert the can into the cavity.

When ready to cook, stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan. Spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod, to support the bird.

Cover the grill and cook the chicken, until it is fall-off-the-bone tender, which will take about 2 hours. If using charcoal, add 10 to 12 fresh coals per after 1 hour.

Using tongs, lift the bird to a cutting board or platter, holding a large metal spatula underneath the beer can for support. (Have the board or platter right next to the bird to make the move shorter. Be careful not to spill the hot liquid from the can on yourself!) Let the chicken stand for 5 minutes before carving the meat off the upright carcass. Toss the can out along with the carcass.

Serves: 4 to 6.

Quick & Easy Grilling Tips for Low-Carb Success

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