When summer grilling season starts, I don’t want to cook any other way. It’s easy, convenient, and keeps the kitchen from getting overheated. Plus, with the right tips, the food tastes amazing. Here are my top five tips learned from years of grilling experience.
5. Warm the Meat to Room Temperature
Food safety is essential. Don’t ever allow meat to sit for hours at room temperature, whether for thawing or after it’s cooked. Unfortunately, I learned that lesson so well that I used to put meat on the grill, straight from the fridge. I’m certainly not suggesting skirting food safety recommendations. I am recommending letting the meat rise in temp from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to about 70, immediately before cooking. I usually do this by taking the meat out while I preheat the grill. It won’t sit out too long, but it will grill to perfection.
4. Double Marinade
I usually buy meat and freeze some ahead of time. I put it into freezer-safe bags, along with a marinade. It freezes better than in the supermarket packaging, plus it marinades both while freezing, and while thawing in the refrigerator later. I don’t have to worry about a marinade just before cooking, either. This step both saves time when I’m ready to grill, and improves flavor.
3. Choose the Right Cuts
Low and slow, or blackened? Both flavors are fantastic, but they don’t work with all cuts of meat. No brisket will shine on the grill; that cut needs the barbecue. Skirt steak or catfish needs the quick-cooking, high heat of the grill. When in doubt, ask the butcher or manager which method of cooking for a particular cut.
2. Soak Up the Sauce
After coming off the grill, I then put the meat on sauce to rest. I don’t baste or spread sauce on the meat while on the grill. I might salt and pepper, but nothing with sugar. I don’t want to caramelize the sugars – or worse, burn them – over the high heat of the grill. Ignore the ads; let the meat soak up the sauce after grilling, not during.
1. Let the Meat Rest Before Serving
Always allow meat to rest before cutting into it. Otherwise the juices inside will run out, and leave dry meat. Uncut, the meat soaks up flavor (and sauce.) The first cut into the meat should be when you’re just about to bite into it.
After years of grilling, I found what works. With these top tips, you too can master the grill, whether it be charcoal or gas.