The only thing better than a nice day is the smell of food on the grill! Summer is in full swing, and that means most of us are firing up that grill. Here are my top 10 tips for summer grilling.
1: Start with a clean grill. Don’t let last night’s chared flavor ruin tonight’s feast. Use a sturdy nylon brush to clean the grates in between uses. (This is easiest when the grill is hot.) Avoid metal brushes as pieces could break off and get into your food. Ouch!
2: Protect your grilling space with a G-Floor Grill Mat. Not only do grill grates get dirty, but those drippings falling onto your deck or patio can be quite a nuance as well. These mats are extremely durable and easy to clean. Simply wipe up the mess with a damp cloth. No mess, no food stains, no damage!
3: Keep a spray bottle handy. Flames equal char, char equals yuck. Keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby. A little spritz will stop the flare-ups without interfering with your heat.
4: Buy a meat thermometer. It is hard to tell meat’s temperature merely by touching it. A quick check of temp from a thermometer will insure the done-ness of your choice. However, if you are interested, here’s how to do it by touch: Touch the meat. If it’s soft like the flesh between your index finger and thumb, it’s rare. If it’s soft like your cheek, it’s medium-rare, and if it’s firm like your forehead it’s well-done.
5: Pre-heat your grill. Just like ovens, grills need to be pre-heated to get the most out of your cooking. When using a gas grill, preheat to high. This takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
6: Don’t move the food around. In general, the fewer times you flip something, the better. If the meat is stuck to the grill, let it cook more — it will unstick itself when it’s ready for flipping.
7: Don’t squish meat, because you will squeeze out the taste and moisture. Yes, I know that burst of sizzling flame that comes from squishing a burger with spatula is tempting. But you know what is creating that flame burst? Fat. And you know what fat is? Juicy flavor.
8: Avoid putting cold foods directly on the grill. Setting meat out on the counter for 30 minutes before grilling will help it cook more evenly.
9: Undercook meat, just slightly. You can expect food temperature to go up about five degrees after leaving the grill, so plan accordingly. Letting your meat ‘rest’ off the grill before cutting allows the meat to redistribute moisture. Allow the meat to sit undisturbed for five to 15 minutes after cooking. The bigger the piece of meat, the longer the rest time. Under cooking and resting meat is an important key to juicy results!
10: Don’t crank up the heat to speed cook time. No one wants to eat meat covered in thick, black char. If you have thicker meats with bones, such as chicken thighs, cook them on high heat to get a nice seared crust, and then move to lower, indirect heat. This will allow the meat to cook through without overcooking the outside.