Do the words “Let’s grill out!” inspire great joy…or immense dread when you hear them? Whether you’re headed to a local park or just to the backyard or deck this summer, we have some tips to help you make the most of your grilling experience!
Heat, not flames should be cooking your food. If you’re using charcoal, let it burn down until there are no visible flames and the briquettes (if that’s what you’re using) are halfway between black and ash-white. If flames do flare up, use a squirt bottle of water to quickly quench them. To avoid flames in the first place, opt for lean cuts of meat and trim as much fat as possible, particularly from poultry.
The placement of your charcoal can work to your advantage! Create different zones where you’ll put the hot briquettes; one side for searing the meat and another side where you’ll just use the heat to bring the meat or poultry up to temperature.
Keep it clean. As your grill is warming up, use that time to wire brush the top surface of the actual grill. Before it gets too hot, it’s also not a bad idea to lightly brush some vegetable oil on the surface, to keep foods from sticking when it’s time to flip them.
How do you get the “doneness done right?” Invest in a good instant-read thermometer. And don’t just reach for the one you use in the oven. You’ll want one that is specifically for grilling, as they are generally longer, so your hand can avoid the heat of the coals. And if you’re like me and need reading glasses, go for one that has a large display! Every cut of meat has a specific temperature for rare, medium and well-done, which you can easily find online.
Finally, let the meat “rest” after you are happy with the amount of doneness. Five or ten minutes will be plenty of time. Many people often don’t realize that meat continues to cook, even once it’s off the heat. Letting it rest will also allow the juices to distribute more evenly.