master the grill
Summer and grilling simply go hand-in-hand, and as we kick off this grilling season, we put together tips to help you master the grill this summer.
types of grills
Not sure if gas, charcoal or electric grills are right for you? Here is a breakdown to help you decide. Gas grills will give the most consistent temperature and is easiest to cook large items without constant monitoring; however, marinades or rubs are suggested to enhance the flavor of your food. Charcoal grills give food that classic “grilled” flavor. Mound coals into a pyramid shape before igniting and they are ready when covered in gray ask. You can also burn woodchips for a smokier flavor. Electric grills are the perfect solution for limited space or cold weather, some will even fit on your countertop. Sugary sauces and marinades can burn on electric grills so save basting for the end of cooking.
Prep work is important when it comes to grilling. Before turning on your grill, make sure to spray and clean your grill racks to prevent your food from sticking. Having all the necessary utensils in a convenient place will also help keep you focused on your food. A few of the necessary tools are tongs that will not pierce the poultry or meat causing it to lose the flavorful juices and a grill pan or basket for small ingredients, such as shrimp and diced vegetables to prevent them from falling between the grates.
Marinades add flavor to beef, pork and chicken, and are perfect for summer grilling. For beef, marinating time depends on tenderness. Sirloin or tenderloin should marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours and cuts like flank, skirt or round steak should marinate for 6 to 24 hours. Pork and poultry should also marinate between 2 and 24 hours. For pork, poultry and less tender cuts of beef, use an acid in the marinade like vinegar, wine or citrus. Always marinate in the refrigerator and remove 45 minutes before grilling and pat dry. This will ensure even grilling, prevent steaming, and help develop a browned crust that will hold in moisture.
direct vs. indirect grilling
Did you know there is more than one way to grill? Direct grilling, which most of us are familiar with, is cooking food over a direct heat source. This cooks the fastest, and is best for cooking smaller portions. Indirect grilling is better for larger pieces of meat, such as ribs or roasts. Cooking takes longer, but the outside won’t burn before the inside is cooked. The secret to this method is to heat only one portion of the grill. If using a 2 burner or charcoal grill, heat one side on high and leave the other side off. If using a 3 or 4 burner grill, turn the outside burners on high and center burners off. Place meat over unlit portion, close lid, and maintain internal temperature between 275˚F and 350˚F. Cook until meat reaches its safe internal temperature.
There are a few simple safety tips to follow when marinating and grilling this summer. Always wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. Also, after marinating meat or poultry, discard the leftover marinade. It can only be reused if first brought to a boil for at least 2 minutes. Always place cooked food on a clean plate and not back on the plate that held raw meat unless it has been well washed with soap and warm water.
It can be tough to know how long to safely cook meat, especially because color isn’t an accurate indicator. Use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat to determine if meat is “done.” Refer to our chart for safe temperatures for cooking meat.
|Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures|
|Ground and whole poultry, such as chicken, duck and turkey||165˚|
|Beef, lamb or veal chops, steaks and roasts|
bourbon bbq glazed spareribs
2 hours 5 minutes | serves 8
apricot-sauced grilled pork chops
25 minutes | serves 4
35 minutes | serves 8