OSU Extension: Grill Smart - hands-on learning on great grilling

The next summer get-together is just around the corner. Family, friends, or old classmates will be in town. It’s the perfect time for inviting them over to grill out for dinner . . . or is it?

Few things can satisfy or impress family and friends like the aroma, tenderness, juiciness, and deep rich flavor of a steak or chop grilled to perfection. However, there may not be anything that strikes as much apprehension and fear into the hearts of a dinner host as that of failing to correctly select, prepare and grill the perfect steak. If you’ve ever struggled with the angst of whether you can pull off that perfect meal and eating experience of dinner originating from your grill, then the Grill Smart class is designed for you.

Grill Smart is a program adapted by OSU Extension Beef Field Specialist Garth Ruff from the Barbecue Science class that is taught annually on campus at The Ohio State University. The program takes participants all the way from meat selection to properly serving a perfectly grilled masterpiece.

More specifically, during the three-and-a-half-hour Grill Smart course, participants learn to match the appropriate cooking methodology with a particular muscle or cut, gain an understanding of how or why different muscles are typically merchandised as steaks or roasts, and which cuts to select for various types of entertainment functions. Furthermore, those in attendance will become more familiar with terminology associated with the meat industry, and learn about potential food safety issues when preparing meat and other food products.

Participants will gain experience with various cuts of beef, turkey, and pork chops. Seasoning and the use of spices and oils will be explored along with cooking temperatures and determining doneness. Lighting the grill and properly cleaning it, all in the name of food safety and eating experience, will also be covered. In order acquire a general understanding of sensory evaluation, participants will get to sample the end product of each learning objective, a highlight of the program for many.

When it comes to meat, a satisfactory eating experience is directly related not only to the selection at the meat case, but also the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the cooked product. Regardless, if you’re entertaining and feeding family, friends, or long lost classmates, your success on the grill will always set the tone for the entire event. Don’t let your anxiety over whether you’re doing it right ruin your evening.

Make plans now to participate in one of two Grill Smart sessions scheduled for June 27, 2024. Hosted at the Fairfield County Ag Center, 831 College Avenue, you may choose the 10:30 a.m. session or the second one that begins at 4:00 p.m. Participation at each session is limited to 16 participates that will work in groups of four. Cost is $30 per person and covers the cost of the meat, seasonings and grilling equipment. Call 740-653-5419 or visit https://go.osu.edu/fclocal to register.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn to select, prepare, grill and serve the perfect steak, chop or tender . . . after all, no one ever invites friends over to microwave!

Finding Your Path to Wellness Spring Email Challenge

As spring moves in, are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and find out a few things you can do to improve your wellness? Join Ohio State University Extension for the Finding Your Path to Wellness six-week spring email challenge to learn more about how OSU Extension has tied together a variety of wellness topics.

The email challenge connects participants with tips, research, and resources to help blend nature, health, finances, mental wellness, sustainability, and more. Go to https://go.osu.edu/lhlwfairfield and answer a few short questions to get registered by April 1. During the week of April 1 all registered participants will receive a pre-challenge message. Participants will then receive one email per week from April 8 to May 20. Participants will have access to optional resources available including the Ohio State University Extension Live Healthy Live Well Blog, a free 6-week Wednesday wellness webinar series, and a tracking bingo card. Pre-and post-challenge online surveys will be used to track participant progress and comments.

Join our award-winning group as we offer another chance to connect with adults who are interested in wellness via email. Finding Your Path to Wellness will challenge you to explore a variety of ways you can journey towards a more healthy you. This program is offered free and is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension.

For additional information contact Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, at carter.413@osu.edu or 740-277-4624.

Callery Pear Eradication? Now is a great time to tag for removal

The impact of the sheer numbers of flowering pear can go unnoticed. But not this time of year. As one of the first flowering trees of the season, now is a great time to tag them for later removal. The key is to know what trees should be removed before they set fruit. So, you have time. But NOW is the time to tag trees as they come into flower. They are so easy to identify.

Interestingly, think about all of the housing developments that might have used pears extensively in home landscapes or as a street tree and how birds loved to help those disperse those seeds.

They looked beautiful but didn’t behave as a sterile tree as advertised. But they are the tree that keeps on giving, or invading.

Did you know it is illegal to buy or sell Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees in Ohio as of January 7th, 2023? The suggestion is to get out and tag the flowering trees now. Then, sometime before fruit is set, go out and remove the trees. A great fact sheet on invasive plant removal is at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/f-65

Although the fact sheet is written to control Tree of Heaven, some of the same techniques can be employed.

In addition, Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a document regarding Callery Pear: https://ohiodnr.gov/discover-and-learn/plants-trees/invasive-plants/callery-pear

Also, a general fact sheet on Controlling Undesirable Trees, Shrubs, and Vines in Your Woodland can be found here:https://woodlandstewards.osu.edu/sites/woodlands/files/d6/files/pubfiles/0045.pdf

The take-home message is if you want to reduce Callery Pear in your landscape or woodlot, now’s the time to tag!Source: Buckeye Yard and Garden Line Thomas DeHaas, author

Upcoming events

Growing and using herb series: noon to 1 p.m. April 16, at the Fairfield County District Library, 219 North Broad St., 3rd Floor. To register: https://fcdlibrary.libnet.info/event/10147480

Growing Herbs: Whether you have a backyard garden or a few containers on your patio, everyone can grow herbs that transform good food into a great meal. Learn from Carrie Brown, OSU Extension Educator in Fairfield County

Using and storing fresh herbs: Noon to 1 p.m. April 29 at the Fairfield County District Library, 219 North Broad St., 3rd Floor. To register: https://fcdlibrary.libnet.info/event/10234758

Join Shannon Carter, of OSU Extension – Fairfield County to learn more about cooking with herbs can be a quick and simple way to add interesting flavors to foods without adding salt, sugar, or fat. Join OSU Extension Educator, Shannon Carter, to learn tips on using, storing and preserving fresh herbs.

This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Grill Smart - hands-on learning on great grilling