“Hey, how about you guys come over for a Microwave cookout on Memorial Day,” said nobody, ever. You don’t microwave. You grill (or BBQ as they say in some parts) and have a handle on the basics. Implementing these simple steps can move you out of the beginner phase and into the experienced.
Plan 24 Hours Beforehand
Meat cooks and tastes better when you brine the meat 24 hours before cooking. What is brining? Basically, brining is the act of soaking meat in a saltwater mixture before cooking. Brining requirements are different for different meats, with directions in many cookbooks or online.
The FDA does not recommend leaving meat unrefrigerated for that length of time so it’s best to brine in the refrigerator and bring the meat closer to room temperature using a combined method of cold-water soaks and sealed bags . Meat at room temperature cooks more evenly than cold or partially frozen meat.
Slow Down: You Can’t Hurry Good Meat
Usually, we want the entrée to be ready shortly after guests arrive. However, shortcuts like higher grilling heat or pressing meat results in dryer, less-flavorful meat. Overcooked meat is harder for humans to digest and metabolize and, most importantly, overcooking also increases oxidation . Planning courses can help: appetizers and pre-dinner games can satisfy while the succulence of meat is perfected. Let your family or guests know ahead of time that food will be served in courses. Managing expectations is easier than rushing the grill.
Complement, Don’t Combine: Fewer Options, Select Variation
You know what goes well with chicken and bratwurst? Everything! At least that tends to be the approach when some people plan to grill out. Instead of trying to complement every palate–combining American cuisine with Italian, German, or French–simply! What cooks together shares a common flavor. Having fewer options allows for a more controlled complementation of flavors in the grill, as well as a more artistic presentation of the table afterwards. And besides, proper food combination techniques can actually lead to better digestion.
Stage preparation: A State of Mind
Many items can be staged the night before or the morning of a good grill. For example, cut and aluminum-wrap vegetables ahead of time. Let safe items reach room temperature whenever possible before cooking. Set out utensils, plates, brushes, sauces, and anything else you will need. That includes a good meat thermometer. Running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen is sure to break your focus on a positive grilling experience. Check out this grilling checklist.
(You) Take a Rest and Let It (the Meat) Rest
You know all those juicy juices that flow out of your meat when it’s cooked? Well, they wouldn’t flow out if you let your meat rest for 10-15 minutes after grilling. Place meat on a metal platter or glass plate, and then cover with aluminum foil. The internal juices that you’ve worked so hard to keep in will redistribute throughout the meat, giving you the benefit of the stored moisture.
Follow these tips when grilling and you’ll increase the experience substantially. Of course, if you try to do too much, underprepare and overcook, there is always the option to Microwave.