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Grilling Basics

Grilling has never been my personal cooking forte. I’m more of the pastry chef in our home with my specialties being cookies and muffins. In the summer, our household’s baking needs decrease, while my grilling guru husband’s services are in high demand. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few grilling basics from my hubby, which include these helpful tips:

IMG_3402Grilling Tip #1: Heat is Key
Not pre-heating your grill is a rookie mistake that can be costly when it comes to grilling. Cooking a piece of meat that will not reach optimal cooking temperature throws off the entire grilling process. Meat that stays on the grill too long can become overcooked and dry. Also, by placing uncooked food on cool grates, those tasty crosshatched marks will disappear. These marks are where the sugars in your food caramelize for a smoky grilled flavor. When food sears on a properly heated grate, it will release itself. Follow directions for heat levels by using a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meat accordingly.

Grilling Tip #2: Let Meat Reach Room Temperature
When cooking meat that’s been in the refrigerator, remember to bring it to room temperature (usually 30-45 minutes) before throwing it on the grill. If you stick a cold dense piece of meat on the grill, you risk serving an undercooked or overcooked piece of meat.

Grilling Tip #3: Fatty Side Down First
This one is debatable by barbecue experts. Generally speaking, my hubs recommends placing the fatty side down on the grill first. This helps lube the grill, and adds extra flavor. Remember, this is a general rule of thumb depending on the meat. For example, Flank Steak and Tri-Tip are a must do fat side down according to my grilling pro hubby.

Grilling Tip #4: Utensils Match the Meat
My hubs uses a flipper for burgers and fish, and tongs for everything else. By matching the proper accessory to the meat, you’ll prevent “collateral meat damage.”

Grilling Tip #5: Don’t Keep a Dirty Grill
Residue accumulates over time and settles into the grill grates. To combat this problem, turn the grill on high (after grilling), or place grates close enough to the charcoal. Heat it up for about 10 minutes. Let it burn off. Turn off the grill and attack your grates with a wire brush. Let the grill cool down completely. Then, apply a light coating of vegetable, canola, or olive oil to protect the grates until the next use.

So, now that we’ve discussed the basics of grilling, I think we’ve earned a well-deserved cookie. Let’s talk dessert.

Kristal Zacharias is the mother of two beautiful, vivacious girls, and wife of a hunky husband who works in the action sports industry. For the past 15 years, Kristal has worked for several Fortune 500 companies as a professional communicator. Follow her journey at Clearly Kristal or on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

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