How To Grill: Tips for Grilling Success
Grilling is as much a part of the American fabric as apple pie, baseball, or bacon; however, grilling has several notable differences from cooking in the traditional manner. The biggest difference that comes to most people’s minds is that grilling involves an open flame outdoors. Therefore, grilling follows a different set of rules that can be challenging for people who haven’t dealt with a grill before. For those who are looking to take their grilling game to the next level, there are a few important grilling tips to keep in mind to impress everyone at your next get together.
Oil the Grill Grates
For those who are new to grilling, the grates are the part of the grill that covers the charcoal, gas, or open flame. It is always a good idea to oil the grates because this prevents meat from sticking to the surface. If the meat sticks to the grates, it has a tendency to cook unevenly because it can be more difficult to flip. Furthermore, meat that sticks to the grates is a significant challenge to clean afterward. To prevent this from happening, take a small bowl and fill it with canola oil or something similar. Then, fold a paper towel and dip the towel into the bowl. Use the towel to coat the grates evenly before lighting the grill. This will make the flipping and cleaning process a breeze.
Use a Meat Thermometer
Most people have purchased meat that says on the package “cook until the meat reaches ‘X’ temperature.” How do these meat production companies expect people to know what temperature the meat is at? Many people just take the meat off of the grill and cut the meat open and check to see if it is still raw on the outside. Unfortunately, this decreases the quality of the meat because many of the juices that give the meat its flavor are lost when the cut is sliced open prematurely. Therefore, invest in a meat thermometer. This will remove any estimation or guesses from the cooking process. The meat thermometer will communicate the exact internal temperature of the meat so that people can remove the meat at the right time. Furthermore, they even make thermometers that send information straight to the phone so people don’t have to stand next to the grill!
Know the Temperatures for the Meat on the Grill
While some cuts of meat come with recommendations for internal temperature such as the example above, most meat cuts do not come with the recommended temperature on the package; however, this information is easy enough to look up. The United States Department of Agriculture has a list of temperatures that every type of meat should be cooked to before serving. It is always a good idea to know these off the top of your head and combine them with the meat thermometer to ensure that everything at the grill is cooked thoroughly prior to serving. Remember that the meat is hot when it comes off the grill and it will continue to cook for a few minutes before it stops.
Enhance the Cooking Process by Tenting the Meat
As mentioned above, the meat will continue to cook for a little while after it comes off the grill because it is still hot and will take a little while to cool down. Enhance the final moments of the cooking process by tenting the meat. What this means is that the meat should be removed from the grill and placed under a small piece of foil. The foil is actually a metal and will conduct the heat that is still in the meat. The meat should be allowed to rest under this foil and cook for a few extra minutes. In this fashion, the meat will actually absorb some of the juices that were lost during the grilling process. Because the meat will retain the juices, the flavor will be enhanced and the meat won’t be dry when it is time to eat. Tenting the meat is always a good idea.
Safety Should Never Come Second
When people say that safety should always come first, they aren’t kidding. Because the grill involves an open flame, it should always be used outside. Furthermore, there should always be a fire extinguisher within reach because there are plenty of flammable substances outside as well. If someone is cooking a meat that is high in fat, the fat is going to cook off and drip into the open flame. Remember that liquid fat from foods such as bacon can create a ball of fire that is dangerous for people in the area. When the grill is finished being used, always remember to turn the grill off. An unattended flame is a good way to get injured. Of course, keep children a safe distance away from the grill. The grill is hot and it is easy for children to get burned.
Everyone should remember that these are only a few of the tips to produce quality food on the grill. Ultimately, these tips can help hone and refine anyone’s grilling game through the proper mix of experimentation and experience. Put these tips to use at the next backyard party and watch everyone’s faces light up when they try the food that comes off of that grill!