Grilling: When to lid and not to lid

Grill Tip #11: When to lid and when not to lid….. Unless you’re grilling in the rain, high winds or in frigid cold weather, you don’t need to use the lid for burgers and hot dogs. The only time you really need to lid is when it’s time to melt the cheese. Burgers and ground meats in general, pick up enough smoky flavor in a no lid preparation due to the high fat content in the meat, absorbing the extra smoke that’s created when those meat juices hit the flames. You can also better monitor flame flare ups with the lid off and there will be fewer of them. Regarding hot dogs, they are a quick cook food, the packaged varieties most folks put on the grill are already pre-cooked from the factory (you can actually eat them right out of the package like bologna but you’d get a scolding from the food police and I’d much rather put them on the fire) and they’ll absorb plenty of charcoal flavor with the lid off. Putting a lid on hot dogs is actually a bad thing. What you’re looking for in the All-American classic are those great grill marks and an even temperature throughout. You want that casing to snap when you bite into it and that bite needs to be juicy. Putting a lid over hot dogs not only fails to deliver more smoky flavor, but can actually shrink and dry out the hot dog because the casing split open spilling all the juices (a.k.a. flavor). Worse yet, a lid-on preparation of hot dogs makes the casing too charred to eat from that flare up you didn’t see going on under the cover. Most folks don’t like ‘blackened’ hot dogs. For other meats and food items, it really becomes a matter of personal preference. How smoky do you like your flavor? Leave the lid on for more smokiness. Fish easily takes on a great smoky flavor in a lid on preparation. Steaks should be lid off to minimize flare ups until you flip them and do the finish cooking on the lower temp side of the grill. Pork chops can be cooked lid on the whole time to get that great smoky flavor and they can handle a lot of it. Chicken needs an almost all lid preparation to ensure it’s cooked all the way through. A key to remember: If that marinade you’re using has a lot of oil in it, that can lead to a lot of flare ups. In that case, a lid is NOT your friend. Bonus tip: If you have a large grill surface and are cooking a variety of meats and don‘t want to cover it all with that one big lid, consider using a smaller lid to cover only those meats that need one. I ‘borrow’ a lid from a small portable grill I use to picnic with, using it on my big grill at home when firing up a batch of meats.


Cubs walk off in 10th to sweep Blue Jays

CHICAGO -- Alex Avila belted a two-run walk-off single with one out in the 10th inning to power the Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays and complete a sweep of the Interleague series.

The Blue Jays had scored twice in the 10th, including the go-ahead run on Kevin Pillar's RBI single.

"We never feel like we're out of it," Kyle Schwarber said of the Cubs, who posted their fifth walk-off win this year and second this week.


Multi-tasking on the grill

Grilling Tip #10: If you’re grilling two kinds of meat like chicken and steak for dinner, put your chicken on the grill first. There’s no “medium rare” when it comes to chicken, you’ve GOT to make sure it’s properly cooked all the way through. Put chicken near but not directly over the hot spot of the grill first, get that good sear on the presentation side of the chicken and then move it over to the lower temp side of the grill to finish off. Once you’ve moved your chicken to the lower temp side of the grill, put your steaks on the hot spot. By the time the steaks are done, so is the chicken. This method also works well when preparing meats at varying degrees of “doneness” like steaks or handmade burgers. Put steaks to be well done on the hop spot first, get a good sear and then move them over to the low temp side to finish cooking. You can then put your medium rare steaks on the hot spot and by the time those are done, so are the well done ones. The same thing goes for burgers, some people like a little pink running through the middle of a good home made, hand crafted burger. You want everyone sitting down at the same time to eat, so timing is everything and you’ll come off like a real pro pulling medium rare, medium and well done steaks off the grill, all at the same time. You don’t have to deliver that dreaded line of, “People eating chicken, yours will be done in a few more minutes…… Sorry.” And how do I know that steak is done you ask? Give it the finger. No, not the middle one, well, you can use that one if you want….. Poke the steak with your finger. If the meat is soft to the touch and doesn’t bounce back, it’s still pink inside. If it’s got some give but bounces back a bit, it’s medium. If it’s firm when poking, it’s well done.


Sunset Street road construction to impact drivers and Transit stops beginning Monday, Aug. 21

Sunset Street detour map


Bears show improvement in preseason win

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Solid performances by their No. 1 offense and defense plus an electrifying special teams play powered the Bears to a 24-23 preseason win over the Cardinals Saturday night.

After failing to score while committing two turnovers in the preseason opener against the Broncos, the first-team offense produced a touchdown and field goal on five first-half drives in Arizona.


Ian Happ, Jose Quintana help Cubs defeat Blue Jays 4-3

There are no explosives to celebrate home runs hit by Cubs at Wrigley Field.

So Ian Happ settled for a flyover from the Blue Angels against the Blue Jays on Saturday after he hit a 417-foot, tying home run in the fourth inning of a 4-3 victory.


It’s a “Total Eclipse of the Heart Sale!”

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Monday’s Solar Eclipse has many people excited.  The eclipse will last 2 minutes and 23 seconds, during which a total solar eclipse will occur – the sky will turn black, the air will cool, and stars will be visible in the middle of the day.   The last time a total solar eclipse crossed from one coast to the other of the continental United States was June 8, 1918.

So starting at Noon, Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control will be hosting a special adoption event to commemorate this extraordinary and historic phenomenon.

We’re calling it a “Total Eclipse of the Heart” adoption sale!

From Noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday only, black and/or orange altered felines will be available for adoption for just $2!  And because they want to be fair to all the animals looking for a new home, any other altered dog or cat will be available for just $25 – Monday only, purebreds are an exception.

“There are several sale events in the area celebrating Monday’s total solar eclipse,” said Diane Webber, Program Manager for Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control. “But only at the “Total Eclipse of the Heart” adoption event can you find the purr-fect, furry four-legged companion to steal your heart away.”

Adoption fees include:

  • Spay or neuter
  • Initial vaccinations 
  • Deworming
  • Flea/Tick treatment
  • Microchip

“Don’t forget,” says Webber, “when you adopt a pet, you're not only saving a life, but gaining a companion that makes your life complete.” 

About Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control

You can view a list of the many wonderful pets we have available for adoption by visiting our PetFinder website at

Jake Arrieta, Cubs defeat Blue Jays at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- One day after hitting six home runs in a loss, the Cubs needed four run-scoring singles to post a 7-4 Interleague victory on Friday afternoon over the Blue Jays, who were making their first trip to Wrigley Field since 2005.

Jason Heyward, Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. each singled in one run, Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run single and Baez added a two-run homer in the eighth for insurance to back Jake Arrieta, who notched his seventh straight quality start.