Get Grilling! Tips, Tools, Info & Inspiration
When the weather starts to warm up and the spring cleaning is all well and done, it’s time to get out and enjoy the outdoors! Perhaps no better activity gets us excited for summer like a backyard barbecue!
But barbecues are not as simple as heating up a grill. There are techniques to cooking an excellent meal ‘on the barbie’, just like any art form! Certain things cook faster than others. There is a particular method to cooking the perfect steak on a grill. There are more ways to grill than lobbing it on the grates. All this, and more, discussed right here!
Gear up for the best season yet with this compilation of grilling tips, tools, info and inspiration!
Battle Of The Barbie: Gas or Charcoal?
While many people prefer the smoky taste you get with a charcoal grill, gas seems to be the most common at this point in time – and we don’t blame you. The pro’s simply outweigh the cons. While charcoal can get hotter than standard grills & gives a nice smoky flavor, it also takes longer to heat up, is more difficult to manage (higher risk factor), and regulating heat is a challenge. With gas, simply connect your propane, ignite your gas, let it come to temperature and go to town!
If you have not heard of it before, seasoning is the term used for coating cast iron with oil or fat then baking it on to prevent rust from forming and food from sticking. Before using a new cast iron grill (the same goes for skillets!) season them first. Some people suggest re-seasoning every 4-5 uses, but definitely once in the beginning of the season is a must.
1.) To season your grill grates, rinse with warm water then dry with a towel.
2.) Using a paper towel, apply vegetable oil to the grates. Coat it good!
3.) Place the grates in a cold oven (or back in the grill), then turn onto about 350-400º F and let cook for 40 minutes.
4.) Turn off your oven or grill and let the grates cool with it.
- Long-handled Tongs. Forget the fork – it pierces food and that releases precious juices.
- Long-handled Basting Brush
- Instant-read Thermometer
- Fire Extinguisher
- Paper Towels
- Aluminum Foil
- Garbage Can
Preparing Your Foods
Marinades do wonders for whatever you are grilling. A good marinade is sure to have people “Wow!”ing at your barbecue, but only when done right! There are easy marinades like your favorite teriyaki or balsamic, or more complicated ones like Mexican or Thai. Each will bring life to your meats and veggies in way you could never have guessed.
Stick to this timetable for marinading your foods:
Chicken Min: 20 Min Max: 12 Hrs
Beef, Pork, Lamb Min: 3 Hrs Max: 24 Hrs
Seafood Min: 10 Min Max: 20 Min
How and How Long?
It is essential to the health of everyone you are feeding that meat, poultry and seafood is fully cooked. When you are first getting accustomed to the grill life, use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meats/seafood. Ground meats and poultry need to hit 165º F and fresh meat steaks, chops and seafood should hit 145º F. Always allow some rest time.
Times based on grill set to medium-high heat on direct heat.
Once you get the hang of grilling vegetables won’t want to make them any other way! Vegetables cook quickly, and there is nothing like the unique taste they get from the grill. You also can relax a bit without having to worry about something being over or under cooked! Stick to these grilling times for popular veggies the next time you grill!
Times based on medium-low heat.
Veggie Grilling Tips:
Use vegetables of equal size (or cut as needed) to ensure equal cooking times.
Make sure to brush oil or butter on the vegetables to keep them from sticking to the grill.
Keep an eye on the grill if you’re unsure of cooking times. Vegetables should be tender when pierced, but not fall apart.
Soak wood or bamboo skewers in cold water 30 minutes before use to prevent burning.
To speed up cooking time, blanch vegetables before grilling.
Keep the grill cover closed to prevent charring.
Use skewers or a grill basket for smaller veggies.
Preheating & Preparation
Let your grill heat up for 15 – 20 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature. 400-450º F is high, 350-400º F is medium-high. 300-350ºF is medium and 250-300º F is a good low. A properly heated grill will create a tasty caramelization and get the job done right in a reasonable time. Right after your grill has heated up, use a long-handled wire grill brush to clean off any debris from prior meals. You can also scrape down your grates when you are done cooking for easier clean up the next time around too!
Hold an oiled up paper towel with tongs to grease your grill up (yes, even though you’ve seasoned your grates!). Let it come to temperature (about 15-20 minutes) and get your foods going! If working on a gas grill you have the ability to hike up the heat on one end of the grill more-so than the other, perfect for foods that take longer than others. Once the food is on, monitor to prevent burning, but keep in mind some foods will need the grill covered closed or else you risk burning outside and leaving inside raw!
Grilling is very simple once everything is on, but staying safe is more important than ever. Adhere to these rules when using your grill, and make sure the family knows them too!
- Keep grill at least 10 feet away from house.
- Keep it clean. Allowing grease and fat to build up on grill is prime fuel for a fire. Prevent flare ups by cleaning your grill drip pans every 5-8 uses.
- Check for gas leaks. To check, make a half dish soap/half water solution. Using a paper towel, run it along the gas hoses and connections. Turn your grill on (lid open) and monitor: if you see bubbles form, your hoses might have a leak.
- Keep decorations away from the grill.
- Keep a spray bottle of water handy to take care of small flare ups.
- Know where the nearest fire extinguisher is.
- Open the grill top before turning on gas. Never turn on gas with the lid closed; that would cause gas to collect and igniting it would create a dangerous fireball.
- Watch the grill at all times. Not only should you be monitoring to make sure the food is doing well, but just in case your grill malfunctions and fire starts.
- Go easy on fatty meats. Don’t overload the grill with too much at one time. This could cause too much fat to drip and flare up.
- Never use a grill indoors. We don’t care how big it is – carbon monoxide is deadly and a product of every grill.
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Grill Idea Of The Week:
May 18, 2017