The summer time is here, which means it’s grilling season. And by that we mean “screwing up when you attempt to grill things within the backyard season.” Inspite of the hippie feel of eating outdoors, there’s a science to proper grilling. Ignore the science and you are missing out on among the best aspects of summer.
Trouble is, the same as other kinds of science, there are rules. Commandments, even. And to have the definitive dogma, we reached out to grill masters of all walks — including James Beard-nominated chef Greg Denton of Portland, OR’s Ox, Longhorn Steakhouse menu Executive Chef/Grill Us Hotline hero Josh Evans, catering chef Dave Coffman of Tree’s in Sherwood, OR, and a lot of dads — to determine the ten commandments of grilling.
Thou shalt not use accelerants – Seriously, just what the hell is wrong along with you? Should you put lighter fluid on your coals, that stuff wafts up and coats your grilled meats with just a hint of petrochemicals. The same goes for those match-light charcoals (that are basically regular charcoal with lighter fluid mixed in). Those same chemicals will connect to your cooking surfaces too, therefore the next few meals you grill can also get toxic fumes as his or her secret ingredient. You’re a huge boy. Learn how to begin a proper fire. Or perhaps use gas propane, not ‘oline.
Thou shalt establish heat zones – Bank your coals to one side for a charcoal grill, or use just the side burners to get a gas grill. Do this so that you can cook with indirect heat rather than just slapping meat on top of the latest part of the cooker. It provides you with a slower, more even cook all through your meat. Once you’re ready for Advanced Grilling, you can strategically position different foods closer or far away from the new zone so everything is ready simultaneously.
Thou shalt remember the veggies – Yes, grills are for steaks and hamburgers. Yes, vegetarians can be annoyingly self-righteous. No, that doesn’t mean a grilled hot pepper or beet isn’t delicious. Denton specifically recommends putting your veggies on the grill after you’ve cooked your meat. Allow the coals burn down while cooking your veggies. In the event the outsides char, you can slice that away. Use them for an additional course, to munch on as you sip your beer and slap at mosquitoes.
Thou shalt use fresh meats – Slapping a frozen slab of meat on the grill provides an uneven cook: the outside chars while the inside slowly thaws. For best results, you would like to use fresh meats that went from the grocery store in your fridge, then straight to the grill. If you absolutely must use frozen, thaw them overnight in the fridge. Don’t think about cooking those suckers until they may be fully thawed.
Thou shalt not mistake the purpose of marinades – The main purpose is always to break up tougher meats (like flank and hanger steaks), to ensure they are easier and more pleasant to chew. If you appreciate the taste of a marinade on a rib-eye, cook that liquid down to a thicker sauce while your meats are cooking without it, then brush it over a minute or so before the end.
Thou shalt always clean thy grill – Another “just what the hell is wrong together with you?” situation. A dirty grill leaves items of charred and carbonized last night’s meal throughout this night’s dinner. That’s nasty. A good time to clean your grill is after you’ve preheated it — prior to you slap down your food. The fire will cook a few of the old stuff away, and warm up the Klingons so you can scrape them off easily.
Thou shalt not make use of a cold grill – If you put meat on a cold grill, it cooks to the metal using a chemical bond that’s about as tough to knock off as concrete from rebar. A hot grill, by contrast, sears your meat nicely so that it doesn’t stick. Remember that you’re putting cold meat on that hot metal, which decreases the overall temperature due to physics. So make it hotter than you imagine you need it. It’ll heat up. Don’t worry.
Thou shalt become confident with people waiting their turns – The rule for meats on the grill is equivalent to the rule for slow dancing at prom: all flesh needs to be in inch or more apart. If you’re observing our earlier commandment about using indirect heat (which cancels out element of your surface for cooking), that means cooking fewer items at a time. Your mates will have to be patient.
Thou shalt not poke your meat – You’ve heard the key of poking meat and comparing it for the texture of your hand to inform if it’s medium, or rare, or burnt, or whatever. The trick works, but only for professionals — and ftyjtt that professionals around this level can inform the doneness of the steak in a pan through the sound it can make. You’re not really a pro, and also you don’t wish to poison your mates. Purchase a damn meat thermometer.
Thou shalt leave the lid alone – Opening the lid of Longhorn Steakhouse menu reduces the temperature and slows cooking. Opening the lid of any charcoal grill adds oxygen to the fire and burns your meat. Patience, grasshopper. Use a timer, then open the lid to flip, then close it again until it’s near time for that cooking to be done. You don’t keep opening your oven and dic.king around using a cake or casserole. Resist the impulse with the grill.