Thursday Food's countdown to Father's Day starts now! So get ready to master the art of grilling ahead of Sunday, June 18 with our comprehensive aproach. First things first, though! Grilling is a science, and while it may not be as exact as, say, baking, there are specific steps that, if not taken, may result in a finished product that's not up to par. Whether grilling is your middle name, or you've just invested in a nifty outdoor barbecue, here are five tips that will help you create delicious and flawless grilled meats, fish, seafood and veggies, every time.
1. Choose the right kind of heat
The most popular heat sources for outdoor grilling are charcoal and gas. Charcoal requires more attention and manipulation as the heat is inconsistent. You have to understand the tenets of charcoal grilling and using direct and indirect heat to get tasty results. Fun fact: Many of us spread the charcoal before it is grey/white-hot. Charcoal is a hallmark of summer grilling as it gives foods that trademark smoky taste and gives a char that is difficult to obtain on a gas grill. However, gas grills are straightforward, rather foolproof and can get a delicious grilled meal on the table in a fraction of the time that it would take a charcoal grill.
2. Clean and grease
Before you place anything on the grill, ensure you clean and oil the grill grates. To effectively clean grill grates, first, get the grill piping-hot, then use a wire brush to scrub and dislodge all the charred food particles from the last meal that was prepared on it. If you don't have a wire brush, don't fear. Cut an onion in half, stick a fork in it and rub the onion along the grill grates. Then use olive oil to rub over the grate — this will prevent foods from sticking and give defined grill marks that we all love to see on a grilled piece of meat or fish.
3. Stop repeatedly opening the lid
We can't help ourselves. We just have to repeatedly crack the lid of the grill open to check on the meat and get giddy when we hear that sizzle. Stop it! A grill is like an oven; heat escapes every time it is opened and this makes the temperature drop dramatically. A consistent drop in temperature affects both cooking time and quality of the finished product.
4. Exercise patience
In the same way that we will no longer repeatedly open the lid of the grill, we will no longer constantly flip that which is on the grill. Once your meat kisses the searing heat of the grill, let it stay there. Meat, fish, seafood and yes, even vegetables, need time to caramelise on the grill to develop flavour and colour. Another thing: Don't use the spatula to squeeze the meat; you're just removing all the juices and will end up with a dry, cardboard-adjacent meal.
5. Take temperatures
The only way to be certain of doneness is by taking the internal temperature of the grilled protein. To do this, stick a meat thermometer into the centre of the steak, burger, piece of chicken or fish and check for the recommended temperature for specific doneness; for example, the internal temperature of a medium-rare steak should read between 140°F and 145°F. Just telling yourself that the meat looks cooked may result in undercooked product and in the case of chicken and burgers, this can put your family or dinner guests at risk.
For more grilling tips, top-quality meat, fresh seafood, unique spices and rubs, and delicious condiments, visit Master Meat Crafter Gregory Burrowes at Butcher Block Gourmet Store, located at Shop #A7 Upper Manor Park Plaza. For info and orders call 876-668-4481 or email orders @butcherblockja.com.
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