Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day are just a few holidays synonymous with grilling. Warm weather and long weekends make summer the best time of the year to take your parties outdoors. To ensure your cookouts are the best in the neighborhood, here are some techniques you’ll want to keep in mind before you stock your outdoor kitchen cabinets with all the grilling tool essentials.
Preparation Is Crucial
What’s the difference between a Grill Master and a Grill Mess Up? What happens before the food hits the grill! Yep, prepping is a crucial step. Here are a few tips:
- Chicken and fish can go straight from the refrigerator to the grill, but pork chops and steaks grill better at room temperature.
- Chicken benefits from a good brining before being grilled. If possible, let your chicken soak in a salty liquid for at least an hour before you’re going to start grilling.
- You need to preheat your grill just like your oven. Set it to medium-high before cooking.
- Season your food generously first. Marinate, salt and pepper both sides, and sprinkle on any other rub or seasoning you like. Do not put barbeque sauce on raw meat! That comes at the end of cooking — otherwise it will burn.
- Find your positioning. You want your grill to have two zones, one for high heat and one for low. When grilling, you start in the high heat zone to sear the meat and then move to the low heat zone to finish cooking. This avoids meat drying out or getting burned from too much direct heat.
Tips For Grilling Chicken
While chicken may be the most classic choice, it is definitely not the easiest. Cooking chicken on a grill requires a little knowledge and patience. When grilling drumsticks and wings, it’s easy to burn up the skin before the piece is fully cooked. To avoid this, start any skinned chicken pieces on the high heat zone and position them skin down. Let them get a little crispy and then move over to low heat to allow them to finish cooking evenly. The same goes with chicken breasts.
Tips For Grilling Steak
With steak, it’s all about the cut. If you want to make a tough cut tender, marinate it before cooking. For rib eye or better cuts of meat, no marinade is needed. Just seasoning and a little olive oil will do. Unless the steak is very thick, you’ll cook it over high heat without moving it. Movement can cause it to sear so be cautious. To tell if it’s done, use the finger test. Press your finger into the center of the steak. If it is:
- Soft, it’s rare.
- Firm with a bit of a spring, it’s medium-rare to medium.
- Very firm, it’s well done (or possibly overcooked)!
One Last Thing…
Don’t let boredom be the downfall of your cook out. It can be tough standing around the grill while everyone else is having a good time, but don’t channel your energy into what you’re cooking. Moving things around and flipping them unnecessarily can cause the fire to flare up and ruin your meal. Move pieces only when transferring them from the high heat zone to the low heat zone, and always pay attention. Leaving anything on the grill for too long will cancel out everything you did right up until that point.
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