We all know that one of the best things during summer are the grilling sessions. Gatherings on your balcony, patio or outside with your family and friends recharge your batteries. Here are several grilling tips you may find useful.
Did you know that only a pinch of black pepper can help you lower the number of carcinogenic in grilled meat? [source]
A study showed that marinades should be used moderately and a longer marinating process does not benefit meat, it does the exact opposite.
You can also grill veggies, bread, pastry and many other ingredients ranging from sweet, sour, bitter all the way to salty. Let your imagination run free.
1. Basic Ways of Grilling
Now let’s get to the many ways of grilling.
First of all, we have most commonly used and simplest way, direct heat grilling. Very simple and effective, this method consists of placing your food over the heat source. This is usually picked for searing by which you practically burn the sides to seal the flavors. Afterward you can put them back on a lower-temperature grill.
The definition of indirect grilling is that the product is not placed directly above the fire but rather cooked through an indirect fire source. If you have to put in directly on the grill, lower the temperature.
Smoking, which is the next grilling manner, requires outdoor positioning because you are creating smoke which can be harmful indoors. Gas grills, charcoal grills or wood are all ideal for this. It is a slower way to cook because the items need to be closed in a chamber to fully undergo the smoking. The results are tasty, smoky and definitely worth the wait!
2. Gas Grill vs. Charcoal Grill vs. Wood Grilling
As far as grilling equipment is concerned there are three main options. Gas grilling, wood grilling and charcoal. Let’s starts with the last one.
Charcoal grilling is probably the most often used method which uses lump charcoal or alternatively charcoal briquettes. Universally applicable, accessible and it is an economic solution as well.
Gas grilling on the other hand, is the most effortless way which does not produce any mess, plus the temperature is adjustable manually. For this you will need liquid propane or natural gas, even liquified petroleum gas is acceptable.
Thirdly, we have the classic – wood grilling. This technique may consume more of the “fuel” since it burns faster, however, it also adds additional flavor to your grilled delicacy. You can use maple, oak, beech, hickory or even cherry wood if you wish, and all of them will give that little flavor to your dish.
3. Useful Equipment
There are several useful accessories for your grill equipment that you should have. A thermometer, chimney starter or grill basket, are always welcomed additions that can make your life easier.
4. Use the Right Temperature
Now when you have selected by which means your grill is going to produce heat and what will be the fuel, it is time to set everything up.
First up, read everything thoroughly and pay attention to all instructions that are available for your grill.
This is often a safety issues, so don’t take it lightly. It also helps if you are aware of flavors and combinations that improve the meal.
If you are not always 100% sure about the state of your cooking meat, use a thermometer which will help you determine the exact temperature. This factor really plays a key role in cooking and even more so when grilling meat.
Just for illustration, here are some recommended heat levels at which these types of meat should be cooked or grilled [source]:
- Fish – 145°F
- Ground meat – 160°F (for example for burgers)
- Poultry – 165°F (try to grill it over indirect heat)
Beef with its multiple versions such as:
- Rare – 125°F
- Medium-rare – 130°F
- Medium – 140°F
- Medium-well – 150°F
- Well-done – 155°F
5. Don’t pierce your meat
There is also one important golden rule, or rather a prohibition. Never pierce through your meat with something pointy like a fork or prongs, you will lose the juice and the meat becomes dry and won’t contain as much flavor as before, so use a spatula or tongs.
6. How to Grill Fruits and Vegetables
As far as vegetables and fruits are concerned be sure to lay a little layer of oil on them before grilling. You have to distinguish between thin and thicker ingredients since thin veggies or fruits need less heat to be cooked.
Root vegetables are evenly grilled when cut into circles and also many fruits, such as apples or pears, are a hoot on the grill. Sky is the limit here to be honest, you can throw any possible veggie on the grill and it will turn out delicious.
Don’t be afraid to add avocado, chili, corn or green onions. Be careful not to take it down too soon, the brownish tone is the exact state we are aiming for. However, individual pieces of vegetables have different levels at which they are the tastiest. Peppers should black, onions should rather become brown and an avocado needs only less than two minutes.
7. How to Grill Burgers
Burgers are another grill specialty. In the beginning put some ground meat, preferably beef, on the grill.
After a few minutes add cheese, parmesan or cheddar, with a little bit of olive oil. Simultaneously you can start preparing tomatoes splashed with balsamic vinegar on the grill. Pay attention to the meat, it shouldn’t be cooked for too long in high heat. Medium is enough.
Moreover, toast the buns to get that crunchiness. Finished! Your burger is ready to go.
8. Oil Your Grates Before Grilling
Before you put your food on the grill it is recommended that you put a thin layer of oil on both the food and the grill surface.
This will significantly improve the chance that your ingredients don’t stick. If you want those classic cross marks on your meal this is certainly the way to go.
Seasoning is equally important as well. You can use practically anything you like, find tasty or goes with meat or vegetables. Steaks are a category of their own in this aspect.
Generally, the best way to salt is either immediately before grilling or leave them rest for 40 minutes after salt is rubbed in and them put them on the grill.
10. Clean Your Grill
Once you are done grilling, and the plates are empty, clean your grill. I cannot emphasize this enough, clean it after each usage. Grill grates need to be cleaned between each grilling session. Before actually starting to cook, heat up your grill to a medium heat.
Afterward make sure that the grates are properly scraped. Water your brush a little bit to create steam on touch with the heated grill. This will ensure you get those food leftovers and stains out. For a more detailed cleaning you can use paper towels for grease and water with dish soap. But remember, if you rinse or clean your grill with water, let it completely dry.
This way you prevent any rust that may form on the surface or on the body of your favorite food-maker.