Ready to be the king or queen of the BBQ this summer? Follow the below steps to get your grilled meat just right. Once you get the basics down you can branch out and try new recipes for meat, fish, vegetables and even, fruit (have you tried grilled peaches lately?).
Step 1: Preparations
Marinade beforehand: Marinades not only add levels of flavor to your meat, but according to the American Institute for Cancer, marinades also inhibit potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines) by as much as 92 to 99 percent, which form when grilling poultry, red meat and fish.
Marinades don’t have to be complicated either. A simple marinade of salt, pepper, vegetable oil and soy sauce will bring out rich flavor in your beef. For best flavor let your meat sit in a marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Let the meat sit at room temperature: Meat should never be cooked straight out of the refrigerator. It cooks unevenly when cold, so you will end with charred outsides while you wait for the internal temperature to rise. Take meat out of the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you put it on the grill.
Warm the coals or light the gas: Many people are now choosing to grill on gas because gas burns cleaner and doesn’t emit carbon monoxide into the air. However, gas grills can be cost prohibitive for some and many prefer the smokier taste of grilling over coals. Either way you need to preheat your grill 15 – 25 minutes before you start to warm the grill and kill bacteria. Get the temp to 400- 450° for high, 350-300° for medium and 250-300° for low.
The easiest way to light coals is do it in a chimney. Place the coals in your chimney, use newspaper to light the bottom and then wait about 10-20 minutes for the flames to appear above the coals. For healthier cooking, choose additive-free coals, which are just charred wood and not filled with other substances.
Brush off old debris and oil the grill: Get a good brush and remove old food debris after you’ve preheated. To keep food from sticking, soak a paper towel in vegetable oil and oil the grill with tongs.
Step 2: Get Grilling
Check the heat: Place your hand above the grill, if you need to move it in 2 seconds it’s ready for cooking on high, 5 seconds for medium and 10 seconds for low.
Avoid flares: Once you’re ready to start grilling, place the meat on the grill, turning according to your recipe. Getting the temperature right allows the outside of the meat to sear, adding to its desired grilled flavor.
Make sure fat doesn’t fall on the coals by trimming excess fat before you grill and draining excess marinade off. You can also keep a squirt bottle handy to put out flames. Flaming grills create unhealthy carcinogen formation on the meat.
Timing is Key: For beef, how long you cook meat on each side depends on the thickness of the cut and how well done you want it. As a general rule of thumb, rare should be grilled somewhere between 3-6 minutes depending on thickness and medium should be grilled 4-8 depending on thickness. Get it just right by researching a chart first.
It’s also worth investing in an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure you get the internal temperature right. This is particularly important for grilling chicken, which can stay raw near the bone unless you grill it the proper amount of time.
Step 3: Let It Rest Before You Dig In
Always allow your meat to rest 10 minutes before you begin to cut into it. You can grill beef to perfection, but if you cut it too soon, the juices leak out, leaving you with tough or chewy meat that’s less than desirable.
Happy grilling season!
Keep these grilling tips on hand this summer by bookmarking the page or saving to your favorites. If you encounter any issues with your gas grill, talk with an Appliance Expert on JustAnswer.