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Grilling education, front and center

By Staff | Jun 30, 2017

Farm News photos by Karen Schwaller CADE HART, left, and Saul Christensen team up to place some meat on the grill as they learn the basics of grilling in a summer workshop called Cooking With Fire.



SPENCER -When the call went out from the Clay County 4-H office for ideas for summer “special interest” (SPIN) activities for children and youth, Ryan and Amanda Bare didn’t waste time deciding.

They volunteered to spearhead a SPIN event entitled Cooking With Fire. Youth from anywhere in Clay County were invited to participate in this workshop, which taught them how to safely grill all kinds of meats.

The workshop took place June 12 at East Leach Park in Spencer.

THE COOKING WITH FIRE event taught Clay County youth some grilling basics, including cross-contamination of meat, using clean hands to prepare food and making sure meat is thoroughly done by using a meat thermometer.

“It was Ryan’s idea,” said Amanda Bare, adding this was the second year they hosted this event. “It’s fun because we get all kinds of kids – some grill all the time at home and some families never grill. We thought his would be a fun way to learn a new skill.’

The Bares came armed with four different kinds of meats, including bratwurst, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken legs. They also brought chopped potatoes and carrots and showed the youth how to package up and season vegetables for placement on the grill and showed them how they like to season chicken legs for grilling.

They brought a handwashing station with them as well to make the point about cross-contamination of meats and working with clean hands.

The Bares and the dozen-or-so students started charcoal grills and the youth learned how to induce a good charcoal heat. The youth cooked their fare with the Bares watching closely, helping them and answering questions, and deciding together when the meat was thoroughly done.

Saul Christiansen, 13, of Royal, said he has grilled with his father before, but said he learned something at this SPIN event.

RILEY HERMAN, left, and Rachel Bare wrap vegetables in tin foil in preparation for grilling. They were two of a dozen youth who participated in “Cooking With Fire,” put on through Clay County 4-H and youth programming.

“I learned how to start the charcoal fire,” he said.

Noah Goeken, 13, of Everly, agreed.

“You soak the coal in lighter fluid but you don’t put your face by the fire,” he said.

Bailey Swanson, 13, member of the Spencer Sparks 4-H Club, said she learned new things about food preparation for grilling.

“I learned to clean off the grill from previous uses and that handwashing is important,” she said. “It was fun to season the meat and package up the vegetables-you have to spread the vegetables out so they all get done.”

Farm News photos by Karen Schwaller PREPARING THE GRILL properly is an important step in mastering the art of cooking with fire, according to Ryan and Amanda Bare, who led this “special interest” event. Above, Ryan Bare talks with Abby Goeken about getting the grill ready.

Chelsea Sheley, 14 of Spencer, said she enjoys cooking and does it often, with her father and uncle being chefs. She came to the SPIN event to keep her skills sharp and see if there was something else she could learn about grilling. She said this event was easy for her because she has grilled foods like tuna steaks before.

Amanda Bare is on the Family and Consumer Sciences Committee through Clay County 4-H. She and her husband thought this kind of event would fit into that genre perfectly. Bare and her husband lead a Clay County robotics 4-H club Spencer Inventors and are both engineers.

Ryan Bare said he wanted the youth to learn at least one important thing, among others, to take home with them that day.

“You try to avoid a visit from ‘Uncle Sal,’ ” he said, referring to salmonella. “We wanted them to learn that you don’t want cross-contamination and that a good meat thermometer is very important.”

Jo Engel, youth human sciences program coordinator at Iowa State University Extension in Clay County, said the event offered hands-on grilling opportunities while the youth participated in activities that also developed their understanding of food safety

“Thanks to our great 4-H partners, Ryan and Amanda Bare, we were able to offer a program that provided food preparation information that these youth can apply in their lives right now.”

Engel also provided a “safe grilling” website at blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2014/06/02/guidelines-for-safe-grilling/ for consumers to refer to for grilling tips, including determining meat temperatures and done-ness.

Sausage and veggie foil packs

1 package Butterball hardwood smoked turkey sausage

2 ears corn

1 red bell pepper

4 red potatoes, small

1/2 yellow onion, large

1 zucchini, medium sized


1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Seasoned salt and pepper to taste

5 tablespoons olive oil

Mix well and grill in foil packet for 15 minutes or until meat and veggies are done.

Sweet and spicy


4 Chicken legs or breasts


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Mix and rub on the chicken and grill.

Marinade for

beef or pork


1 1/2 cups flat beer

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Stir the oil in slowly, then add

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 cloves

Marinate the meat in refrigerator, covered, for 2-3 hours. Turn frequently.

Marinade for fish

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Marinate the meat in refrigerator, covered, for 2-3 hours. Turn frequently.

Marinade for chicken

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 minced clove garlic

1 finely chopped medium-sized onion

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, tarragon or rosemary

Mix well. Chill several hours in covered jar or dish. Shake well, then pour over the chicken pieces. Chill about 3 hours, turning pieces at least once. Baste during cooking with any excess marinade.

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