Learn to grill like the pros with these quick and easy grilling ideas and tips that are designed to up your BBQ game. Pull a page out of my play book for your next backyard BBQ, or tailgate party, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an ATG- All Time Griller as you cook the best grilling meats.
First and foremost, be prepared. Have all the necessary tools on hand such as: A grill, long handled tongs, spatula, grill brush, meat thermometer, spray bottle, sheet pans, charcoal/propane, nitrile gloves, garbage can/bags, sharp knives, disposable cutting boards, a timer, comfy chair, fire extinguisher, radio, bottle opener, and some cool beverages.
Next make sure that your grill is clean and free of debris from your last cook. To do this, get your grill nice and hot, burning off any leftover food bits. Then, using a long-handled grill brush clean the grates. Finally, to help prevent food from sticking to the grill, oil the grates. To do this, dip a folded paper towel in a little oil and, using tongs, wipe the oil evenly over the grate. Be careful not to use too much oil, to avoid a flare-up. A little goes a long way here.
Understanding the two most popular grilling styles, direct and indirect, is essential for creating your next grilled masterpiece. The direct method sears the food to create a flavorful crust on the surface, followed by Indirect to prevent burning the outer area of the food while cooking it evenly.
When indirect grilling, remember to keep the lid closed. Opening the lid can increase your grilling time by 10 to 15 minutes. Items such as hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts and thick cut pork chops are great over a direct flame, while others such as ribs, roasts, hams, and pork butts really benefit from Indirect. However, there are instances when using both Direct and Indirect methods are appropriate- nothing beats a nice thick juicy steak seared over direct heat and finished indirectly.
Grilling tips for steak:
- Befriend your butcher. Buying from a good butcher shop not only helps to support small business but also increases the likelihood of you getting the freshest meats along with a more personalized service. Purchase the best grade of meat that you can afford.
- Warm up. Take your steak out of the fridge 20 to 30 minutes before grilling to bring it to room temp. This will help to insure even cooking.
- Season liberally with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Kosher salt dissolves much slower than Sea Salt and Table Salt, therefore it won’t pull as much moisture from the meat.
- Sear your steak over a clean, hot, well-oiled grill before moving it or flipping it. Finish it over indirect heat.
- Use a thermometer to check for doneness. Remember that it will continue to cook for a few minutes after you pull it off the grill.
- Let it rest. Letting your steak rest for at least 5 minutes after it comes off the grill gives the juices a chance to reabsorb into the meat.
Grilling tips for chicken and fish:
- Avoid food borne illness. Be sure to cook Poultry to 165 degrees and fish to 145 degrees.
- To prevent chicken from drying out during cooking, leave the skin on. It helps preserve the chicken’s natural moisture.
- A grill basket sprayed with oil makes grilling fish considerably easier.
- Marinate chicken and fish briefly before grilling. Two hours or less.
- Use dry rubs with a low sugar content when direct grilling, as they caramelize quickly and tend to burn easily.
Grilling tips for fruits and vegetables:
- Most fruits benefit from indirect grilling as the natural sugar in them caramelizes at a lower temperature.
- When grilling fruits and vegetables directly on the grates, be sure to cut them large enough that they won’t fall through. As they cook, the water in them evaporates and they will shrink a bit.
- Lightly salt vegetables 30 minutes before grilling to help draw out moisture.
So, the next time you fire up the grill, follow these easy grilling ideas and tips and your tailgate is sure to be one for the ages.