During the month of October, I will be participating in the Write 31 Days hosted by Crystal Stine. My category is Food, Health & Wellness and my theme is "Into The Kitchen".
Are you a grill master? Do you love the sound of the gas lighting up, the smell of the fire, or the glowing embers of charcoal? Whatever your preference, grilling is fun, it brings people together and the food speaks for itself.
Grilling isn't complicated, but there are a lot of variables and grill options. Gas or charcoal is what most people use, and those are found at every hardware and home improvement store as well as many big department stores.
There is always going to be the debate over which one is better, but that's not the point here. This is an overview of how to grill successfully.
Having said that, charcoal is definitely a popular method, and the one I grew up with. However it is more affected by the weather than gas grills, thus timing is more unpredictable and the main reason I use gas.
Direct or Indirect?
Many foods lend themselves to grilling, but not all require the same heat or time to cook. For proteins, there are two main methods of cooking, direct heat and indirect heat. For foods that cook rather quickly, you use the direct method of placing the food directly over the heat. Usually all burners are on and set to the same temperature; you may use a higher temperature for searing then reduce the heat. Foods using the direct method include steaks (2 inches or less), burgers, hot dogs, fish and shrimp.
Your thicker cuts of meat, bone-in chicken and roasts, which take longer to cook, use indirect heat. You preheat your grill as normal, then turn one burner off and place your food there, leaving the other burner(s) to maintain your desired heat.
|Image Source: Norton Farms|
That is a good question and one that hits on the more complicated aspect of cooking (not just grilling) meats. The easiest way is to use an instant read thermometer and you will find much information and charts here.
There are other methods, including the hand and finger method described here.
Most of the following tips apply to either gas or charcoal grilling.
Tips for Success:
- When lighting a gas grill, always leave the lid up to avoid a dangerous accumulation of gas.
- Always check your gas before beginning. It is no fun to jeopardize your expensive steak by running out of gas in the middle of cooking.
- Preheat for at least 15 minutes, and longer is better.
- Keep your grill grate clean. Scrub the hot grill down with a long-handled brush (I prefer brass bristles). You don't want residue from last weeks barbecue chicken on your salmon.
- You may oil your food and/or grill. If you oil your grill, do so just before putting the food on otherwise the oil will just burn off before you're ready to cook.
- Never slap a piece of cold meat on a hot grill. Always take your meat out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before grilling.
- Remember sugars burn at high heat, so always wait until your meat is nearly cooked before brushing on sauces containing sugar, e.g. barbecue sauce.
- Use tongs or a spatula to turn or remove your meats. Never use a fork as piercing the meat will allow the juices to run out.
- Always let your meat rest for at least 10 minutes after taking it off the heat. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat giving you a juicy steak.
From the simple hibachi to the Big Green Egg or anything in between, grilling is a delicious way to prepare food, and best of all, there is less to clean up in your kitchen.
What is your favorite grilled food?
Gas or charcoal?
If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.