It’s summer time! One thing we love to do at my house during the summer is to grill. We grill at least twice a week during the summer (and at least once a month during the winter). And grilling isn’t just for meat and fish. We grill vegetables and bread as well; we’ve been known to prepare an entirely vegetarian meal on the grill, since we have been trying to reduce our red meat consumption for health reasons.
Grilling can be a fun way to enjoy your food, whether you only grill for summer holidays like the Fourth of July, or whether you make grilling a regular part of your cooking rotation. On top of that, using the grill means that you won’t be using your stove. Cooking outdoors can be a way to help reduce your utility bills in the summer by preventing the need for your air conditioner to kick on, cooling the house after you’ve been using the stove.
Good grilling takes some practice, though. Here are 8 tips that can encourage better grilling:
1. Pre-heat the grill
Food can stick if you don’t heat up your grill ahead of time. Just like your oven needs to be pre-heated for best results when you are baking, your grill should be pre-heated for best results while you are grilling.
2. Gather everything you need before you start cooking
Before you throw anything on the grill, get together everything you need in order to cook your food. Get your sauces, brushes and other items together. Arrange the food items you are cooking so that they are easy to access. Bring empty plates to the grill so that you are ready to place the food on them when it is done. A good time to get everything together is while the grill is pre-heating.
3. Don’t get too excited about flipping your food
One of the things that dries out your food is flipping it too much. From chicken breast to steak to fish, when you flip your food too much, it gets dry and tough. In order to help the food retain moisture, keep flipping to a minimum. You can consult a cookbook or grilling book for approximate times on each side, and then learn to adjust the times, according to your grill and your taste.
4. Slow down on the sauces
Marinating your food is one thing, but slathering it in sauce is another. Instead of putting the sauce on at first, wait a few minutes in. Baste your food later to avoid burning the sauce.
5. Use foil for fish
Often, flaky fish can slip through the grates to fall into the fire. You can reduce the chances of losing part of your dinner by covering the grates with foil ahead of time. My husband has been doing this for years, to great effect. It also works well for vegetables that are small, thin or difficult to manage.
6. Let your meat “rest” before serving
Many meats can be enhanced when you let them “rest” before serving. Instead of cutting into a steak immediately after it comes off the grill, set it on a plate, cover it with foil, and let it sit for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to flow back through the meat.
7. Clean and oil your grill
Properly clean your grill grates. Then, when you are done, brush with oil. This can help prevent sticking down the road, and keep your grill in tip-top condition.
8. Be prepared for emergencies
Grilling can get out of control quickly. Have a properly maintained fire extinguisher on hand. At the very least, have a bucket of sand ready, or some banking soda close by, to put out a fire.
So there you have it. Follow these tips and your summer barbecues and grills would be better and more enjoyable. We are always looking for more tips to add to this list, so if you have some let’s hear it.