2020 has been a big year for wellness, and more people have come to prioritize health over everything else. Not only are we taking active steps to improve hygiene and sanitation practices, but we’re also working out more and finding ways to make our food healthier. This is the reason why grilling has become immensely popular this year: not only is it a fun way to spend time with family while we’re at home, but it also enables us to use less fat and add more flavor to our food. With seven in ten Americans owning a grill or smoker, firing up the barbecue has become a year-round lifestyle choice for millions of families across the state. To make your barbecue even tastier and healthier, consider pairing your grilled meat with tea. From tea marinades to refreshing beverages, here are the best teas to pair with your grilled treats.
Before having a cookout in your backyard, ensure everyone’s wellbeing by setting up the grill safely in an area that won’t be accessed by children or pets. Wear protective clothing such as an apron, heat resistant gloves, and closed toe shoes to protect yourself from burns and oil spatters. You should also keep prepped and marinated meats in the fridge until grilling time to prevent bacteria growth.
To infuse more flavor into your barbecue, try marinating chicken, pork or beef in a tea marinade. Not only will the meat have a subtle, sweet flavor, but the tannins in the tea can tenderize even the toughest cuts of meat. For an Asian-style marinade, try combining black tea with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and dash of sesame oil. This works well as a marinade for firm tofu, chicken or pork. Meanwhile, to tenderize and add delicate flavor to beef, combine green tea with Dijon mustard, ground mustard, chopped oregano, and extra virgin olive oil.
No barbecue is complete without refreshments. Instead of serving carbonated drinks, try making different types of iced teas to pair with grilled meats. To make a classic lemon iced tea, make lemon syrup by boiling lemon peel with sugar and water. Then, pour about four cups of cooled black tea into a pitcher, and add lemon syrup, lemon juice, and ice cubes. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves.
Meanwhile, for a caffeine-free drink, replace the black tea with caffeine-free rooibos, and omit the mint leaves for a kid-friendly beverage. You can also serve homemade iced peach tea by placing peaches in a jug or pitcher, and then using a wooden spoon to smash the fruit. Add cooled Earl Grey tea, orange zest, and honey or sugar syrup to sweeten, top with ice cubes, and garnish with fresh peach slices.
After a hearty meal of grilled eats, serve hot peppermint or English tea to aid digestion. You can also serve a dessert tea, or make milk tea as a special treat for everyone. To make a classic boba or milk tea, use black tea bags, and steep them in hot water for about five minutes. Remove the bags and add milk and simple syrup, then stir. In a glass filled partway with tapioca or boba pearls, pour in the tea, then top with ice cubes. Serve after-barbecue tea with cookies or fresh fruit.
The right tea can enhance the taste of grilled meat, so try making these marinades and beverages for your next barbecue. Remember to keep safe while manning the grill, and enjoy having grilled food and delicious tea with your family and friends.