The summer grilling season is here. It’s time for fresh grilled steaks and hamburgers, but are you armed with the best grilling tips for your cookouts?
Purchase Fresh Meat
Good grilling starts with fresh meat, which is why I purchase fresh meat from my local deli about 24 hours before I intend to grill. For steaks, I look for meat that’s dry-aged at least 28 days with good marbling and very little fat around the edge. The marbling ensures tenderness and the limited edge fat reduces calories and limits flare-ups.
For hamburger, I buy 90/10. Hamburger that has too much fat will cause flare-ups, and hamburger with too little fat will fall apart when flipping. If I want extra fat or flavor, I stick a few slices of thick cut bacon in a food processor and mix that in with my hamburger for instant bacon burgers.
I like to marinade my steaks for 24 hours in an oil based marinade such as Italian dressing or A-1 Steak Sauce mixed with 1/2 cup olive oil. The spices and sauce add flavor to the meat, and the oil prevents the steak from sticking to the grill.
Wait Till The Grill Is Fully Heated
Too many people, myself included, light the grill and slap the meat on the grates. This can lead to dry meat because the outside doesn’t cook fast enough, allowing precious juices to drain from the meat. Many grills now come with thermometers in their lids. After lighting the grill, close the lid and wait for the optimal cooking temperature as stated by your users manual. When you lay the meat on the grill, you should hear instant sizzling.
I am prone to turning my grill meat too often and ending up with steak that is incredibly tough or hamburgers that look like sloppy joes without the sauce. Instead of guessing, I take an egg timer out with me to the grill and give the meat three to four minutes per side. I also test the meat with a spatula. If it lifts off the grates easily, I turn it. If it doesn’t, I wait another minute.
Keep A Spray Bottle Handy
Flare-ups can quickly turn into charred meat and dangerous fires if not properly controlled, which is why I keep a spray bottle next to me while grilling. I use a spray or two if the flare-up doesn’t die down on its own within a few seconds, and the water won’t hurt the meat.