Photo Credit: TheBusyBrain
When summer is upon us, barbeque grills everywhere are being dusted off and cleaned for the new season. If you are ready to try your hand at grilling this year for friends and family, here are a few tips to get you started off on the right foot.
Grilling properly is something that you learn over time. It is like anything else in life. You get better with practice. To learn how to grill a chicken breast or a steak properly, you will have to cook more than one or two a season.
With that said, I know that you are more ready than ever to get started. You have barbeque on the brain and there’s no stopping you. So, here are few quick tips to make this summer’s backyard barbecues the best yet.
Quick Tips to Keep the Grill at It’s Best
The first thing to do is to start out with a clean grill. No one wants to put fresh cuts of meat on a grill that is crusted over with pieces of pork or chicken from the last time you used the grill. Besides the fact that it’s gross, you don’t want that hamburger to taste like a chicken burger. Clean the grill after each use while it is still hot so the char comes off easily.
Use the proper temperature. A gas grill will give you a more even cooking temperature over the entire surface of the grill. If you use a charcoal grill or a smoker, know where the temperature is the hottest and start your meat out in that area. When it is close to being done, move it to the cooler side to finish cooking.
While we are speaking about temperature, let your grill get good and hot before putting anything on it. Some people think that you don’t have to preheat a grill, but meat cooks better when it has reached the correct grilling temperature. You wouldn’t put your roast in a cold oven would you? The same goes for the grill. If you want, use a thermometer to gauge the temperature before grilling your meats.
Have all of your utensils and marinades ready and waiting beside the grill. The one thing to remember when grilling is that you have to man the grill for the entire time you are cooking. It is not like an oven that you can walk away from and come back in fifteen minutes. A grill that is working at its optimum temperature will cook the food faster than you think. Closing the lid also increases the heat and decreases cooking time.
So, prepare your area ahead of time. Don’t forget to bring along your favorite drink and maybe even a snack to nibble on since you will be the happy gourmet griller for the day. Learning to grill can be a lonely job but one whose product will be greatly appreciated by everyone when it comes time to eat. Remember, the more you grill the better you’ll get at it, so cook out as much as your heart desires this summer. Watch how your crowd grows once the word starts spreading that you are the king (or queen) of the neighborhood grill.
Healthy Grilling Ideas
Grilling food is actually better for you than one would think. This is not dependent on the type of grill you have it is the grilling process. Here are some ways to make your next grilling adventure a healthy one for the family.
Start with your cuts of meat. Cut off the excess fat when working with chicken. If you aren’t the type who likes to mess with chicken parts, buy them already skinned and boneless. Usually all traces of fat have been removed in the store before packaging.
Steaks are a bit different. Outer fat on the steaks should be cut away but it is okay to have the marbled effect within the meat. Do the same for pork. A butcher can guide you to the right cuts of meat for grilling if you ask them. They deal with meat everyday and have a good deal of expert knowledge on the subject.
Another reason to remove the fat is that it eliminates the cancer causing char and smoke. We have heard that char is not good for us and it is not. Fat falling in the fire can initiate flare-ups that will burn the meat and char it in places. If this does occur, remove the charred part.
Steam your vegetables on the grill. You are cooking the meat on there, why not the rest of the meal? Spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and then wrap your sliced vegetables in it. The heat from the grill will create convection current inside the foil. Make sure that you tent the foil so that the air can move among the vegetables.
Fish is a healthy alternative to other meats. Fattier fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is tasty and tender when cooked on the grill. Fillets of fish crumble up easy so put them in foil just like the vegetables to keep them together during grilling. Fish steaks are better for direct grill cooking than fillets. They are thick but will cook quicker than other meats so don’t turn your back on them.
Instead of using salt on grilled foods, experiment with other seasonings. The process sears the outside and the seasonings that you have applied. Combined with the succulent juices that will once the meat is cut, these seasonings will add flavor to your meal.
To grill healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor or your favorite meats. The fat that is in the meat will all drip away as it cooks leaving you with a tender and heart-friendly main course.