3 Ways to (carefully) dadcraft Your Grilling

  by Erik Wolgemuth

Is there a more pleasing aroma than burgers sizzling over glowing coals? I’m hard pressed to think of one. And while I fall far (far) more on the culinary-challenged end of the cooking spectrum, I do enjoy the opportunity to grill and realized recently that I most often view this endeavor as a primarily solo act.

Now, there’s good reason for that, right? That thin metal barrier of my trusty Weber does little to protect against accidental contact, we’ve seen a few flare-ups occur with the grill cover off, and remember the last time you singed your knuckles when you were flipping those burgers over smoking hot coals? What I’m saying is this: you don’t do dadcraft grilling without some serious caution and consideration of what’s age-appropriate.

But, if done age-appropriately and with extreme caution, your grilling can and should be dadcrafted. So here are three ways you can dadcraft your grilling…

  1. Fire Starterwithin the confines of the grill. Get your kids helping to load up that charcoal chimney with briquets and wadding up newspaper to stuff underneath or clicking that ignitor button on your gas grill.
  2. Cookin’. From setting a timer to announcing when it’s time for a flip of the foods, your kids can easily participate in this aspect of cooking. For older aspiring grillers, get them basting on some extra marinade mid-grill and using those tongs to snag the ‘dogs.
  3. Service with a smile. Entering the house carrying a plate loaded with delicious burgers fresh off the grill is a thrill…for me (the adult). So imagine the joy of your kids bringing in the food they were a part of preparing (regardless of the “importance” of their task).

As we’ve written about before, you’ll quickly see that there’s a unique joy and pride that kids find as you sit around the table enjoying the fruits of their culinary efforts (no matter how slight). Grilling with a side of dadcraft isn’t the quickest way to get dinner on the table. But I was reminded – and I often need these sorts of reminders – that the fastest, most efficient route isn’t always best. What I so often need instead, is to slow it down and soak up time together engaged in the various normal activities of everyday life.

And…just in case you need a dynamite burger recipe, check out this one from the always deliciously reliable Pioneer Woman:

2.5 lbs ground beef

1/4 cup heavy cream

1.5 TB Worcestershire Sauce

A couple hot sauce dashes

1/2 TB salt

1/2 TB black pepper

Mix together, form them patties, and cook!


Chores (such as the at-home car wash) often feel less chore-ish when you pull your kids into the activity. And when the outdoors isn’t conducive to grilling, pull ‘em into cooking in the kitchen.

Picture by Aral Tasher; Used via Unsplash license.