A cold beer and hot BBQ are two of the best things about summer. For many people across the U.S., those sweltering days equal cookouts in the backyard or at the lake. The fun that comes along with a cookout with those closest to you is almost as good as the taste of those delicious foods that come off the grill. If you want those memories –and the food that your crowd talks about for a long time to come, take a look at these simple and easy grilling tips, and put them to good use at your next cookout.
1. Pack on the Flavor
The succulent flavor of foods prepared on the grill is in part to the smoke and in part related to the flavor that you add. Marinating your food for up to 24 hours before a cookout will ensure the flavors are locked in and bursting at the seams when grilled. Glazes and dry rubs are both great for flavoring foods for a cookout.
2. More Smoke
Again, it is the smoke that creates the some of the richest flavor, so make sure that you have plenty of it. Regardless of the type of grill you are using, you can add planks, chips, briquettes, etc. for added smoke flavor.
3. Oil, Please
To prevent foods from sticking to the grates of your grill, lightly spray or brush oil on the grates before you start preparing food. This prevents sticking and also helps hold in those flavors that you want to taste. Be sure that you clean the grill with a wire whisk before coating it with oil.
4. The Right Grilling Tools
You might not think that grilling tools are important, but they make a tremendous difference in your food results. A pair of tongs, a spatula, and a fork are three items that you need. It is also helpful to have a bottle of water available to prevent any fire flare-ups or accidents. There are many other grilling tools available. If you are serious about summer grilling or simply want to make it the best when you do cookout, you will consider adding some of these other tools to your box of goodies.
5. Bring Meat to Room Temperature
So many people make the mistake of keeping food in the refrigerator until they are ready to grill. While this might seem like the right thing to do, it is not! If you want the juiciest meats with the most flavors, allow the meat to warm to room temperature before placing it on the grill. If you place cold meat on the grill this could result in uneven cooking and heating. Don’t take any chances!
6. Leave it Alone
After you have placed your food on the grill, allow it to completely cook on one side before flipping it. Flip it just one time, allowing the other side to thoroughly cook as well. This will lock in flavors and keeps the juices inside.
7. Rest Period
Once meat has been taken from the grill you must give it time to rest. No matter how ready you are to dig in, this rest period – about 10 minutes – seals all of the flavors inside for the best meat ever!
8. Space, Please
Do not overcrowd the grill! Doing so only hurts the taste of your food. Nothing on the grill should be touching, so make sure that there is space between each item. As a bonus, this will help you more easily turn foods when it is time.
9. Remove Foods Promptly
Did you know that your grilled foods will continue to cook several minutes after being removed from the grill? Many people are unaware, and the result is overcooked food. Rather than having to deal with this situation, remove foods from the grill just shortly before it has reached your desired level of doneness.
10. Time it Right
How long should you leave your foods on the grill? This information is imperative to perfectly grilled, delicious tasting foods. Here’s a guide to use:
- Hot Dogs: 6 to 8 minutes
- Whole Fish: 5 minutes per inch of thickness
- Chicken Breast: 6 – 7 minutes each side
- Turkey: 25 minutes per pound
- Hamburgers: 3 to 4 minutes each side
- Strip Steak: 8 to 13 minutes each side
- Roast: 60 minutes
- Pork Chops: 5 – 6 minutes per side
- Ribs: 1 – 2 hours
Remember that these are average times and your meats may need more or less time than indicated above, based upon the thickness of the meat, type of grill, and similar factors.
Become the Grill Master
Mastering the art of grilling is an accomplishment anyone can be proud of. If you want the Master Griller title, put the 10 tips above to good use and everyone at your gathering will bow down to the cook. These tips are so simple and easy to use –do not miss out!
Bob Bassett is the owner and chief Grillmaster at GourmetGrillmaster.com. His love for grilling goes beyond hotdogs and hamburgers, and his blog shares that love with everyone via his blog and the recipes he includes.