There’s no better feeling then trading in your winter jacket for a pair of shorts and your mittens in for a pair of grill tongs. Grilling is the simplest, humblest, and most basic method of cooking food that their is. And it’s just plain awesome. While you don’t have to be a pro to get great results, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tips to help you reach that level.
1. Season your food early. In fact, season your food before you even think about heating up your grill. Giving salt a little time to dissolve onto your food instead of falling off onto the grill will do wonders for your flavor.
2. Get your grill hot!!! Let it warm up for about 15 – 20 minutes. Patience is a virtue. A hot grill will sear meat on contact creating more flavor through carmelization and will also keep things nice and moist inside.
3. Give yourself enough room to work – nothing is worse then trying to have a relaxing time while grilling then having to run around for tools or ingredients or not having a place to put anything.
4. Keep a reasonably clean grill. Last years food doesn’t make for great additional seasoning to this years food. A grill brush can be your best friend. Use it when the grill is hot not cold, it will be easier that way.
5. Oil up your rack. To prevent sticking and to also help with cleanup later, trying using an oil soaked paper towel and rubbing it over the rack with a pair of tongs. You should even oil a clean grill.
6. Leave an unheated place on the grill. Even if you’re cooking over a single-level fire, leave a small space unheated so that you have somewhere to move food if you have a flare-up or if something is cooking too fast.
7. Remember when you’re mother told you as a kid not to play with your food? Well Mommy was right. When you put food on the grill DON’T PLAY WITH IT. LEAVE IT ALONE. Give it a chance to naturally come away from the grates and not get stuck. If you try to move food before it is seared on the bottom I guarantee you that it will stick. And that’s just not fun for anybody.
8. One of the best 25 dollars I have spent is in purchasing a grill basket. Use it for foods that might fall easily through the cracks or are harder to turn over one by one: Ie Vegetables and even fruit. Even Target or Walmart carry some decent ones. No need to splurge a lot of money on one.
And last but not least…..
9. One of the biggest mistakes that most make is not letting their meat rest before cutting into it. Let your meat rest on a clean plate, covered with foil for about 5-7 minutes so that the juices can redistribute evenly. Trust me, your food is not “getting cold”, you just took it off of a large amount of heat, it is still cooking. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, “well then, how do I know if its done?”. The best way is to learn what your product feels like when it is done. The “longer it cooks, the firmer it gets” is a good rule to go by. The more experience you get, the more you’ll be able to tell exactly what your favorite food should feel like when it’s done and it is an important thing to learn. But, while your still learning, remember: When in doubt, you can always throw undercooked food back on the grill, overcooked food doesn’t have the same luxury. Use the above pictures to show you exactly what meat should feel like through the stages of doneness.
Happy Grilling! We expect an invite!
(Photo credit: http://www.simplyrecipes.com)