The difference between exquisitely prepared meat and the not-so-tasty one lies in the grilling techniques. Expert grillers know how to manage their grills. With or without the hundreds of recipes you see online, the method you use matters most. If you are hoping to become a BBQ master, here is everything you should know.
Make it hot
The first step to getting perfect steak is preheating your grill. By the time you place the meat on the grates, you should ensure that the temperature is at 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for high. For medium, it should range between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for low heat. A well-heated grill sears food on contact, prevents sticking, and keeps the inside of the food moist. Although many people assume that searing seals in the juices, it doesn’t, but it will encourage enhanced flavors by caramelization.
The hand test
By any chance, you don’t have a thermometer, and you need to check whether your grill is ready, consider using the hand test. Place your open palm five inches above the grill rack. The fire is high enough if you must move your hand away in two seconds. If you take away your hand in five seconds, the heat is medium and low when you move your hand after ten seconds.
Get a clean start
It is tempting to want to enjoy the meat first before cleaning the grates, but it is terrible practice. When some food bits stick on the grill when cooking, make sure you brush off the particles while it is still hot. That way, you will prevent the particles from sticking. In case you cook meat on a dirty grill, the flavors will seep into the meal you are preparing.
Lay aluminum foil
Here is yet another great tip on how to keep your equipment clean. If you aren’t a fan of brushing and washing the grill, you can use foil to ease the clean-up. Line the bottom of the cooker with some aluminum sheets before putting in your briquettes. It will ensure a fast and easy clean-up of the ash and coals after you finish barbecuing.
Consider food safety
Food safety is and should be a priority. Pay attention to USDA rules, such as that of avoiding cross-contamination. Do not use the same cutting boards, platters, and utensils for raw and cooked foods. Also, refrigerate meat when marinating and do not baste using the marinating blend.
Gas vs. charcoal – choose wisely
The age-old discussion on the best grilling method hasn’t outgrown its time. The “Better” cooking method involves several variables, from convenience to cost. Although no study proves that either is healthier, gas is believed to burn cleaner. Charcoal is said to emit soot and carbon monoxide. When buying a grill, get one of the most popular brands to ensure less carbon emission.
Additive-free is best
If you settle for charcoal grilling, go for additive-free lump charcoal, which is merely charred wood. The regular briquettes might contain ash coal dust, wood scraps, and sawdust. Others have additives like lighter fluid, paraffin, borax, and sodium nitrate. Lighter fluid might release volatile organic compounds in the air or leave a residue on the food. When misused, it could pose a hazard.
Keep off the grocery store logs
If you prefer cooking meat over wood to charcoal, stay away from logs sold in supermarkets. Most of it is kiln dried, which means that you are likely to have a difficult time starting a fire. The pieces will burn very fast, with minimal smoke that doesn’t give you attractive results. The best way to tell whether the wood is kiln or naturally dried is by lifting it. In case it feels unnaturally light, it is likely to burn like gasoline.
Proper air circulation is vital
Meat should not touch anything besides the grates that it sits on while it cooks. The sides of the grill and the meat should be a no-go zone. Before buying a grill, make sure it is big enough for your needs. Even after buying the grill, make sure you don’t put in more than it can handle.
Oil the food, not the grates
Oil is excellent to use when grilling because it prevents the food particles from sticking on the grates. It also improves flavor and helps lock moisture in. Spray the food or brush it lightly with oil. Don’t apply oil on the grill; you will be promoting an unhygienic environment.
Tame the flame
In many grill advertisements, they show pictures of fat dripping into the heat source, and it catches fire. Although they look great, this is a recipe for unhealthy eating. It causes carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH). Their formation accumulates on the food and, consequently, in your blood. Meat that has been licked by flames not only tastes awkwardly but is also a health hazard.