“Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.” – James Beard
With the nicer weather here, you may be longing to switch up your menu. After all, you probably spend the colder months enjoying some tasty comfort foods made in your oven or slow cooker. Now it’s time to head outdoors and use the grill – and so some grilling, broiling, barbecuing – or whatever you want to call it.
Lots of people find grilling to be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. People have been grilling for centuries, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t, too! When you do a little bit of preparation and learn a few tricks, you can be grilling all sorts of delicious things this summer!
- Properly Season Your Food: You may think that grilling starts when your food hits the grill, but that’s not the case. It actually starts right in your kitchen – with seasoning. No matter what you’re grilling, whether it be a steak, some vegetables, or even fruit – they need to be properly seasoned. Sometimes all you need is some salt and pepper, but other times you may need a dry rub or additional spices. Here are a few you might try making instead of buying a rub at the grocery store:
- Have the Right Utensils for Grilling: You might be tempted to head to the grill with a fork and think you are good to go – but you are not. You need some grilling utensils. Not sure what you need? Add these basics to your collection:
- Two-Prong Fork
- Grill Brush
- Heat Mitt
- Grill Basket (This is nice for grilling vegetables and other small foods that might slip through the grill grates)
- Barbecue Skewers
- Silicone Basting Brush
- Meat Thermometer
- Bring Everything With You: Before you head out to the grilling area, make sure you have everything you need. You may think, “What’s the big deal if I need to run up and grab my spatula?” – but in the time it takes you to grab that spatula, you could find that your burgers have gone from perfection to burnt.
- With that in mind, gather EVERYTHING you need and then head out to the grill. (Bring a cold beverage with you to enjoy while you watch over your dinner!)
- Make Sure Your Grill Grate Is Clean: When you start grilling, you want to make sure that your grill grate is clean. Clean grates will allow what you’re cooking to obtain its best flavor and not take on the flavors of things that were previously grilled. Additionally, it will help cut down on sticking and burning.
- There are several different ways to clean grill grates – so choose the one that works best for you based on the amount of time you have available.
- Allow Plenty of Time: Depending on what you’re grilling, you need to allow plenty of time. Certain meats cook quicker than others, while others require patience. For example, a flank steak cooks quite quickly, while chicken will take longer to make sure that it’s thoroughly cooked.
- Watch What Your Grilling: Be sure to keep an eye on what you’re grilling. While some good grill marks are always welcome, nobody wants to eat something that’s burned beyond recognition.
- Be Careful of Your Heat and Watch for Flare-ups: While you’re watching your grill, pay close attention to “hot spots” and flare-ups. You may need to move food around to avoid overcooking and burning.
Grilling in the summer is one of those great simple pleasures! Get out there this year, and put the grill to use!