Grilling 101

Ah, Spring is upon us! And, if you’re like me, you’re looking for any excuse to get into the outdoors and out of the stuffy house! Plus, the idea of cranking the oven to 450º to cook a piece of meat is borderline insanity! Very few days during the Summer do I not use the grill, for one thing or another–desserts, sides, main courses – everything tastes better on the grill! But, I thought of a few tips that can help kickstart your grilling season, so we can avoid as much burnt bits as possible!

  • Room Temperature :: Just like the notes about how important it is to bring ingredients to room temperature before baking, it’s just as imperative with items you plan to grill—including meat! Now, I don’t mean for you to leave your meat on the counter overnight or while you’re at work! Just for a simple hour. Pull the meat out of the fridge, give it a rubdown with canola oil, then sprinkle on your favorite spices. For me, nothing beats kosher salt (and lots of it!) and some fresh-ground pepper. Using your hands, press the seasonings into the meat, then wrap well in saran wrap and set-aside. I suggest allowing the meat to rest on a cutting board or plate, to collect any juices.
  • Heat! :: Just as your oven needs to be hot, so does the gas grill! Yes, fire is hot, but the entire grill needs time to get very, very hot before you lay the meat on it. Approximately fifteen minutes or more [not less!] before you’re ready to grill the meat (or dessert, or other goodies), fire up the grill on high heat, put the lid down, and walk away. With the lid down, it is like an oven, gathering the heat and ready to cook at a much better pace without toughening the dish.
  • Don’t cut! :: I cringe when I see large grilling tongs or a grilling spatula with a serated edge, intending the griller to slice up that piece of meat. Ahhhh! That’s the fastest way to ruin your perfectly seasoned meat on your perfectly hot grill! See don’t stick a fork in it for more detail. In fact, the best way to test meat is to touch it. Ahem. I do suggest removing it from the grill temporarily while you do this. If it feels super tender (aka, mushy), it’s rare! Sligtly-so, medium-rare. If it has no spring at all, I hope you like well-done! :)
  • Don’t rotate :: I think a lot of grillers think that picking up the meat and moving it around gives the impression that they are master grillers. Actually, not true at all! It is best to allow the meat to cook on one side, then switch to the other. The beautiful sear you get (the crusty edge on the outside) is lost when the meat is handled too much, resulting in a tough cut.
  • Let it rest :: Although that morsel of meat looks very appetizing when pulling it off the grill, a very crucial point is to allow the meat to rest for five to ten minutes on a plate/cutting board, covered loosely with foil. If you dive into the meat too soon, you’ll lose all that juiciness (read flavor)! If allowed to rest a few minutes, the meat will re-absorb the juice and giving you a reward for all your hard work!

In the end, my husband says it best – it always tastes better when grilled! Happy grilling!

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