Top ten tips for Grilling this summer.
Nothing else says summer has arrived like grilling outside! Whether you grill by gas, fire or wood there is nothing like a gooey cheese burger that’s being finished off on the grill. Another aspect I like about grilling is that you don’t heat up your house or dirty pans in your kitchen. Since I live in Atlanta and the weather here is wonderful, I grill all year-long. Grilling’s a great way to cook but there are some tips that will help even the most experienced grill master. As a chef, I receive lots of questions on grilling especially when it gets near the summer and I am happy to share my secrets with you.
1. Keep your grilled grates oiled and clean.
One of the most common mistakes that people who own grills make is that they do not keep their grill grates cleaned and oiled. After you finish grilling close the lid for 10 minutes then scrub the grates clean with your grill brush. Then once the grates are clean allow the grill to cool and then oil the grates with a clean rag.
2. Leave an unheated space on your grill. When you are grilling it’s easy to burn your food on the grill when it becomes too hot. Solve this problem by leaving an unheated area on your gas grill. If you are using wood or charcoal, leave an area in the grill that does not have wood or charcoal under it. If you have an item that is cooking too quickly then place it in the unheated area.
3. Keep a water bottle near your grill.
Cooking Italian sausage or Bratwurst can cause flare ups because of their high fat content and burn your meat burn the other foods that are on the grill. Have a water bottle filled with water and solve that problem with a couple of sprays of water if the flames misbehave. Other things that you might want to have is a box of baking soda if you need to put out a fire that is out of control. Its inexpensive and is better than using a fire extinguisher.
4. Have a long-handled spatula and tongs.
Don’t use a fork to flip burgers and other food on the grill. Forks help create a path for juices to leave. Use a long-handled tong so that you won’t burn your hands while you are flipping or turning items. Also have a long-handled spatula so that you can flip those burgers easily. Remember to flip burgers only once and don’t press on them.
5. Sauce at the end. I enjoy all types of sauces on grilled food but remember to sauce your items in the last ten minutes of the cooking process. Sauces usually have a lot of sugar and if left too long on the grill will burn. Your main goal in saucing is that you want the sugars in the sauce to caramelize and add moistness to your meat.
When you are getting ready to grill, pull your food out of the refrigerator and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. This helps avoid over cooking the outside of your meat before the inside of the food cooks. Similarly, after you pull your meat off the grill allow it to rest for 10 minutes so that their internal juices calm down.
7. Marinate your meat.
Make your own or use a store-bought bottle. Marinading your meat enhances the flavor of your meat. There is another reason you should consider marinading is that it helps stop carcinogens like HCA’s up to 90%, which may occur when meats are grilled.
8. Use a thermometer.
Using a thermometer is the best way to check and ensure meat is cooked correctly. I have friends who think that they can judge the “doneness” of meat, but there is only one way to do it correctly. Get a thermometer and keep it in a closed container near your grill.