With Memorial Day upon us, the grilling season officially has begun. To help you enjoy a successful — and safe — grilling season, we have compiled our best grilling tips to help you on your way to juicy burgers, perfectly cooked steaks and deliciously roasted vegetables.
- Invest in the right tools. Successful grilling begins with the right tools. Long-handled spatulas and tongs for flipping are preferred over grilling forks, as grilling forks pierce meat and allow juices to escape. Baskets are great for fish and vegetables, and a grilling mitt is ideal for protecting your hands. An instant-read thermometer ensures meat and fish are cooked to the perfect temperature. If you have a charcoal grill, a charcoal chimney is a handy tool for getting the grill started without lighter fluid. Make sure you have all of your tools ready before you start grilling!
- Preheat your grill. Regardless of which type of fuel you use, you should be preheating your grill for 15 to 25 minutes. Preheating your grill perfectly sears your food and locks in juices. It also kills any bacteria that might be lurking on your grills surfaces. A grill thermometer can help you make sure you’ve preheated your grill to the right temperature: 400 to 450 degrees for high heat, 350 to 400 degrees for medium high, 300 to 350 degrees for medium and 250 to 300 degrees for low heat.
- Clean your grill before putting your food on it. Once your grill is preheated, use a stiff wire brush to clean away charred particles from your previously grilled foods. Before placing food on the grill, make sure you check the grates to make sure none of the brush bristles have been left behind, as they can stick to food and become a hazard if ingested. Run an oil-soaked paper towel over the grates once cleaned to prevent more food from sticking.
- Know when to use direct heat and indirect heat. Foods that you want to char on the outside and keep juicy and rare on the inside, like steaks, do well when they are placed directly over a flame, while meats that stand to dry out before they are cooked through, like chicken, are best cooked through indirect heat. A good rule of thumb is to place foods that will be ready in less than 20 minutes over direct heat and to place foods that take longer than 20 minutes to cook over indirect heat.
- Avoid flare ups. Fat melting from meat can fuel grill flames, causing flare ups. Those flare ups can impart a bad taste, and even carcinogens, into your grilled foods. Trim meats before grilling to help prevent flare ups, and keep a squirt bottle filled with water next to your grill, so you can be prepared to squelch any flare ups that do occur.
- Let your meat rest. When meat has finished grilling, let it rest for 10 minutes so that the juices redistribute, rather than come pouring out, when slicing. Make sure you cut meats, especially tougher cuts, against the grain to ensure tenderness.
And remember that FireSide Hearth & Home is your partner in creating great outdoor cooking spaces! Visit one of our three showrooms to see the possibilities of an outdoor kitchen or fire pit.