Summer is around the corner and many of us will be regularly cooking food outdoors. To help you get the best out of barbecue meals, here are a few essentially outdoor grilling tips.
Clean the grill beforehand
Don’t try to cook on a dirty grill. Food is more likely to stick on a dirty grill and there’s a greater chance of flare-ups. Old grease and grime could also negatively affect the taste of your food. Take the time to soak and thoroughly wipe down the grill before each use.
Allow time to preheat
It’s best to let the grill heat up before adding food to it. Food will stick to the grill if it’s still warming up – when the metal is searing hot, food is much less likely to stick. Coal barbecues can take up to 30 minutes before they are ready to cook on. Gas and electric grills as available from sites like BBQGuys will heat up much more quickly – invest in one of these machines if you want to be able to start cooking quickly.
Keep the lid on
Most outdoor grills come with a lid. When you’re not checking or turning food, keep the lid down. This prevents excess oxygen from getting into the grill and causing flare-ups, stopping your food from getting incinerated and stopping you from getting burnt.
Apply sauce during the cooking
A lot of people add sauces to meat before placing the meat on the grill. However, many sweet sauces can quickly become burnt before the meat is fully cooked – so you end up with a burnt-tasting sauce on the meat. Applying the sauce mid-way through cooking can prevent the sauce from getting overcooked. You can use a brush to apply the meat while it is cooking. This post at Wild Pepper explains more.
If you keep turning meat, you allow more of the juices to drip out. In a pan, these typically stay on the pan, but on a grill, these juices are lost, which can affect the succulency of the meat. Try to turn the meat as few times as possible – ideally once – in order to keep juices sealed within the meat. You should similarly reduce prodding to avoid juices escaping.
Use a heat thermometer
How do you know when meat is cooked? There are a few different methods such as the finger method for steaks. However, one of the most accurate ways to tell whether meat is cooked is to simply use a meat thermometer. Buy one of these tools if you don’t already own one.
Let meat rest after cooking
Don’t eat food directly off the grill. Not only will it be very hot, but it will likely still be cooking. It’s better to let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. This not only gives the food time to stop cooking and cool down but helps moisture to be reabsorbed into the meat, providing more tenderness and juiciness. Many grills come with cooling racks which you can use for resting meat.