Guide to Grilling Basics

*By: Megan Deppen*

It’s summertime, which means it’s time to fire up that grill and cook some delicious food! During this time of year, I always look forward to grilling burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak. In addition to mouthwatering meats, summer vegetables such as corn on the cob fare well when cooked on the grill.

If you are new to grilling and looking to ‘get your grill on’, here are some basic tips that you may find helpful.

  • Finding the Right Grill – There are so many different options on the market, so you’ll first want to do your research and consider what type of grilling you want to do. The two main types are gas and charcoal, but the list goes on. Here is a good article from Taste of Home discussing the most common types of grills.
  • Prepping the Grill – Make sure you start with a clean grill and you don’t have other food residue from the last time you used it. You can use a stiff bristled brush to clean the grates. Keeping the grates clean will also prevent the food from sticking. Additionally, seasoning your grill with a very thin layer of canola oil is a good idea.
  • Grill Safely – Always keep an eye on what you’re grilling to avoid overcooking of course, but also to avoid fires. Do not use spray bottles of water to control flare-ups, as this will only make the fire worse. Flare-ups are caused by too much fat and too much heat. Also, keep your grill away from anything flammable like lighter fluid, outdoor furniture, fences, or your house.
  • Using the Right Tools – The two most essential tools you’ll want to make sure you purchase with your grill are sturdy tongs and a spatula. Of course, there are many more tools you can purchase as well, but those are the two tools you will use most often.
  • Cooking at the Right Temperature – Depending on what foods you’re cooking, everything cooks at a different temperature, so it’s important to understand how your grill works and heats and to know what temperature meats should be cooked at. For smaller cuts of meat like steak, kebabs, and hot dogs, turn up the heat and cook them quickly. Fish, chicken, veggies, and fruit are better grilled at lower temperatures. Also, keep in mind to undercook foods just slightly, as it will continue to cook when you remove it from the heat.
  • Don’t Move the Food Around – Avoid moving the food around too much on the grill. Typically for meats it’s about one flip during the grilling process.
  • Don’t Press Down or Flatten your Meat – This will squeeze out all those yummy juices and dry the meat out.
  • Don’t Cross-Contaminate – Make sure to keep the cooked foods and raw foods on separate plates to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Purchase a Meat Thermometer – This will come in handy, to make sure your meats are fully cooked to the correct temperature. It’s hard to tell just from touching the meat if it’s done or not, so to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to purchase a meat thermometer.
  • Always Rest the Meat – This is a very important step to ensure your meat is juicy. After you take it off the grill, let the meat rest on the plate for 5-15 minutes, depending on how big the piece of meat is. Also, don’t cut into it during the rest period because this will leave out all of the yummy juices.

For more grilling tips, check out the video below.

Video: eHow

Do you have any grilling tips? Leave us a comment below.

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