Most of us love the taste of food that’s hot off the grill, whether we prefer steaks or skewers of vegetables. But if you want to get the most value out of your grill, and become the grilling hot spot of the neighborhood, there are some tips you’ll need to follow for better grilling.
The Power of Grilling
Grilling means different things to different people. For some, it’s an opportunity for culinary experimentation that’s much more liberating than a conventional kitchen. For others, it’s just a convenient excuse to hang out with friends and family members.
But whatever your philosophy is, there’s no doubt that grilling is a great opportunity to create some excellent food and bond with the loved ones. If you can upgrade your grilling experience, you can get even more out of every event that allows you to fire up your favorite appliance.
Tips for Better Grilling This Summer
Follow these tips if you want to become a better griller and have a summer full of delicious meat and vegetables.
1. Upgrade your outdoor kitchen. It doesn’t cost much to build an outdoor kitchen – or at least, the price has dropped considerably in recent years. This might be the perfect time to upgrade. Depending on your level of satisfaction with your current grill, you may consider upgrading the entire unit with a new one. You may also consider installing an outdoor sink and faucet, outdoor countertops, and even an outdoor refrigerator where you can keep the food you intend to grill. There’s almost no limit to what you can do with your outdoor kitchen, provided you’re creative enough to come up with it and you have the budget to pay for it.
2. Keep the grill clean. Always keep your grill clean, and spend some time after every grilling session restoring your grill to its previous status. This does take some time, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you have a more aesthetically pleasing grill, but you’ll also have better tasting food coming off of it.
3. Don’t be restless. Amateur grillers are often restless, poking and prodding the meat routinely and flipping it every few seconds. This may be a great way to kill time and keep yourself occupied while you’re waiting for your meat to finish cooking, but it’s terrible for the texture and taste of what you’re grilling. For the most part, it’s better to let your food components rest on the grill unprovoked.
4. Avoid flattening or squeezing the meat. Along similar lines, even though it’s tempting, you should avoid flattening or squeezing the meat. This practice became common as a way to emphasize the grow marks on the food and, presumably, encouraged the food to cook faster. However, this won’t accelerate your cooking time much; instead, you’ll just squeeze out the delicious juices that make your meat so tasty.
5. Get a meat thermometer. Get yourself a meat thermometer. Experienced grillers are often able to accurately identify when meat is properly cooked, either by looking at the color or feeling the texture of the meat. However, these methods aren’t perfectly reliable. You’re going to get much more consistent results, improve the safety of your cooking, and cook meat to its intended specification more often if you learn how to use a meat thermometer.
6. Warm food before grilling it. When you’re removing meat or vegetables from the refrigerator, you might be tempted to throw them straight on the grill and start the cooking process right away. But this is usually a mistake. It’s better to allow the food to warm up to room temperature before grilling it.
7. Undercook (slightly) and rest. If you’re concerned about food safety, you might err on the side of overcooking, but it’s usually better to undercook whatever you’re grilling. Then, when it looks about done, allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.
8. Keep it simple. You don’t need the latest and greatest in grilling technology. You also don’t need to overseason your food in an effort to make it spicier or more unique. In fact, in most grilling environments, simpler is better. Embrace minimalism and focus on the basics.
9. Remember the fundamentals of safety. Even if you’re a proficient, veteran griller, there’s no excuse for ignoring the tenets of grilling safety. You’re going to be working with raw food and open flames, which is a recipe for many different types of disasters. Never let the flames on your grill get too high and be prepared to step in with a spray bottle or a fire extinguisher if things get out of hand. Similarly, take food safety very seriously, and never serve guests undercooked food that could lead to illness.
10. Practice more (and experiment). Finally, make the time to practice grilling more often – and don’t hesitate to experiment. Try new cooking techniques and try cooking different foods; you’ll have a fun time dabbling with these novelties and you’ll be building your skills and experience in the process.
As long as you’re following safety precautions, there’s no wrong way to grill. The more time you spend creating dynamic new tastes and experiences for your friends, the better you’re going to get – and the more people you’ll have begging for invites to your next event.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze