It is that time of year again. Dads nationwide are celebrating because it is finally time to dust off the old grill and break out the apron. Summer's here and the sweet smells of barbecue, ribs, steaks, and burgers are ready to compete for your affections. Whether the great outdoors are calling or you're just entranced by the siren call of the back porch, the summer season is begging you to enjoy the fun in the sun. Here at Chef'd, we are thrilled to help you out with some vital tips to become a grill master beyond compare.
Become a Grill Master with These 7 Grilling Tips
1. Hand Test for Doneness
There are a few tried and true methods of checking to see if your cuts of meat are ready for human consumption. You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature or cut into the meat to check the color, but these methods often let the juice escape and will tend to result in a dryness if you have to cook it longer. Most experienced grill masters go with the finger test method, giving the meat a quick press with the index finger to compare the firmness of the meat. The level of firmness should be in line with the area directly below your thumb when the thumb is touching the following fingers.
2. Make a Grill Non-stick with an Onion
There is nothing worse for your grill-master ambitions than a sticky grill. It will make flipping meat tougher and make it a nightmare to clean when the party's over. Those in the know swear by the half-onion method for making a grill non-stick. Simply cut a large onion in half and give that half a good squeeze to get the juices flowing (try not to cry while doing it). Stick a fork into the onion and rub the cut portion against your heated grill to make a non-stick area shortly before laying down each piece.
3. Aim to Only Flip Meat Once
A rookie mistake many make at the grill is constantly flipping the meat out of a sense of anxiety that the piece will get burned without constant attention. There is a school of thought that frequent flipping will lead to quicker cooking, but this is one instance where patience is a virtue. Let the meat rest for half of the total grill time and check for gorgeous grill marks rather than cutting into the piece and letting the juices escape.
4. Don't Press Down on Burgers or Meats on the Grill
You might have seen your dad do this when you were growing up or you were taught to do it during your summer job at a fast food joint, but using your spatula to press down on meat while it is grilling doesn't make it cook any faster. In fact, this common mistake just squeezes out delicious juices and causes grease spatter that can give you minor burns. The net result is a dryer burger and a potential visit to the emergency room.
5. Never Cook Frozen Meats on the Grill
While it might be tempting to plop that frozen steak right down onto the grill in an effort to get the show on the road, you really should take the time to defrost anything you are grilling. Frozen pieces not only take longer to grill but also are notoriously difficult to grill all the way through, having a stubbornly frozen center that may not only be unpalatable but also unsafe to eat.
6. Ensure Your Grill is Clean Before Cooking
There are many benefits of a clean grill beyond the obvious sanitary considerations. A clean grill helps prevent food from sticking to the grill and prevents that burnt flavor that can result from cooking on a grill with excess carbon on the grates. Take the time to soak any removable parts of the grill in hot water with a mild dish soap before taking the wire brush to it. Vigorous scrubbing to take off any burnt food particles may not be the most fun part of your grilling experience, but this tender loving care will come out in the flavor of your meat.
7. Let Your Meat Rest for at Least 10 Minutes Before Serving
You might have gathered that being grilled might be a bit of a traumatic experience for your meat, so you should give it a little rest before mealtime. Chef of the month and grilling expert, Myron Mixon says,
Let your meat rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The meat will relax and lose less juice when it’s cut, and it will be tastier and juicer when you eat it.
Not only will a 10-minute rest allow the sizzling meat to cool down enough to bite into without burning your tongue, but the piece will also continue cooking even when removed from the heat. Ten minutes is the optimal amount of time to let this process take its course, giving the heat and juices time to equalize and give you the best possible flavor.
4 Safety Tips Before You Fire Up the Grill
1. Don't Baste with the Same Marinade Liquid
While you are justified in your pride of the marinade that gave your chicken its signature flavor, you may want to think twice before using it as a baste. No matter what period of time you had your pieces in the marinade, the cold hard fact is that the raw meat likely left behind some unwelcome bacteria that can easily result in cross-contamination of food.
2. Don't Use Lighter Fluid to Light Your Charcoal Grill
While lighter fluid is a time-honored way of getting the charcoal burning, but it has the unwelcome side-effect of making everything that you cook have a chemical taste to it. A better method of getting the coals burning is to start with a layer of newspaper underneath the charcoal, starting the fire from the bottom up.
3. Let Charcoal Coals Cool Completely Before Disposal
The only fire you want to start is in the grill basin. Disposing of coals before they have fully cooled is very dangerous. Let the coals rest while covered for at least 48 hours or use tongs to individually drop the coals into a bucket of water.
4. Keep Your Grill in An Open Space
Your grill should be distant from your home as well as your deck railing, furniture, tree branches or anything else that may catch fire from open flames or be damaged by grease spatter.
Ready to Put These Skills to the Test?
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