Summer Grilling Tips
Summer is the perfect time of year to have a barbecue! But lets face it, most of us could probably use some improvement on our grilling skills. Believe it or not, this particular method of cooking actually requires lots of concentration. I know, it’s a bit strange considering when most people are grilling outside they’re normally kicking back and having a beer. It takes some talent to cook well over fire, but listed below are some educational tips that are guaranteed to make you a better cook outdoors. Don’t just be the person who throws a piece of meat over the hot fire. Instead, be the one who knows how to make a tender, juicy and succulent steak that everyone will enjoy eating. Read our seven summer grilling tips below!
1. Clean Your Grill
You wouldn’t want to eat dinner off a dirty plate, so cook on a dirty grill? Cleaning your grill on a regular basis will make your barbecue and grill maintenance much more manageable. Food, oils and seasoning will stick to your grates after each barbecue, and all that gunk will transfer onto whatever you cook next. Last weeks charred remains could add some bitter seasoning to your new round of burgers. Take a few minutes to clean your grates in order to preserve the integrity of your meat’s taste and appearance. Also, consider oiling your grates as this can help prevent sticking while also giving you professional grill marks.
2. Marinade Your Meat
Marinating your meat prior to cooking it does more than infuse your food with flavor. It also inhibits the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling “muscle meats” like poultry, red meat and fish. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent.
3. Find The Hotspots On Your Grill
You should be able to control your grill temperature by creating specific heat zones in the middle and edges around it. The center of your grill, or directly over either fire or coals, is the hottest spot. On the other hand, edges tend to be cooler because they use indirect heat. Knowing this allows you to cook various foods that may require different temperatures. For most items, a two-zone fire approach tends to be the best. One hot side for searing and one cooler side for allowing food to cook more slowly.
4. Don’t Squeeze Or Flatten Meats
The cool burst of a sizzling flame which comes from squishing a burger using a spatula makes this tempting. But, don’t do it. What creates that sizzling flame burst is fat, also known as all the juicy flavor inside your meat. Refrain from squishing your meat in order to help preserve the juices and flavor.
5. Avoid Grill Flare-ups
If you cook on the grill enough then you’ll find that flare-ups are inevitable. They can happen when doing things like trimming fat or draining oil-based marinades before cooking. If your grill does flare-up, move the food from the hot zone to the medium zone until the flames subside. You can also consider putting the lid down or closing both the top and bottom air-vents (if using a charcoal grill). Doing this deprives the fire of oxygen which will eventually extinguish the flames. The biggest downside is that your food can end up tasting sooty.
6. Nail The Perfect Temperature
If you’re not exactly sure when to take meat off the grill then it’s recommended you get a meat thermometer. However, if you don’t have one of those then there’s always another old trick you can try. Insert a cake tester or metal skewer into the steak just until the tip reaches the middle. Give it a few seconds, then remove and touch it. If the tip of your tester is cold, your steak is rare. Warm would indicate medium rare to medium, and hot to very hot would be medium well to well done.
7. Don’t Forget To Let It Rest
Always remember to let your meat rest once it’s done cooking. Simply put them on a clean plate, tented with foil, for about 10 minutes before carving. This assures that juices will redistribute evenly.