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Grilling tips: up your dinner party game 

Outdoor grilling is an easy way to make dinner quickly and without much mess. If you're tired of the usual burgers and hot dogs, elevate your fare by preparing a crowd-pleasing mixed grill, or parrillada mixta, inspired by the bold flavors of Latin America.

  Marinate steak, chicken and shrimp overnight and fire up the grill the next day to create a juicy, tantalizing spread. Whether your family and friends prefer smoky steaks or charred shrimp, there's something for everyone. Here are some tips from Tabasco chef Johnny Hernandez, who owns three restaurants in San Antonio, Texas.

Cook over a wood flame to add a richer, smokier flavor to grilled meats.

Marinate proteins to ensure flavors are properly and evenly incorporated.

Create high- and low-heat zones on the grill to control even cooking for different types of meats and vegetables.

Baste with extra pepper sauce while grilling to give meats and vegetables an added flavor boost.

Parrillada Mixta with Garlic & Sweet Chipotle Marinades
Courtesy chef Johnny Hernandez

Servings: 6-8

Garlic Chipotle Marinated Steak:

14 garlic cloves, peeled

1 medium white onion, quartered

1 1/2 cups light Mexican beer

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon coarse black pepper

4 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

1 teaspoon salt

2 flank steaks (1 pound each)

Sweet Chipotle Marinated Chicken and Shrimp:

8 garlic cloves, peeled

1 red bell pepper, deseeded and stemmed

1 small white onion

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

8 tablespoons olive oil

8 tablespoons agave syrup

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/4 cups orange juice

1 1/4 cups cold water

4 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce

salt, to taste

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails on


> For Garlic Chipotle Marinade: In a blender, puree garlic, onion, beer, olive oil and black pepper. Transfer puree to large mixing bowl and add Tabasco Chipotle Sauce and salt, as desired. Marinate steak in mixture for at least six hours.

>For Sweet Chipotle Marinade: In a blender, puree garlic, red bell pepper, onion, cinnamon, paprika, olive oil, agave syrup, lime juice, orange juice, water, chipotle sauce and salt, then divide marinade over chicken and shrimp in separate sealed plastic bags. Allow shrimp to marinate in mixture for eight hours and chicken breasts for 24 hours.

  Remove steak, shrimp and chicken from marinade and set aside. Heat grill to medium-high heat.

  Brush off excess marinade and grill chicken then steak and shrimp to desired doneness.

  Serve with traditional side items such as guacamole, pico de gallo, grilled onions, limes and corn tortillas.

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