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Cooking For Fun
Tips for Grilling

Grilling Tips for Barbecue Perfection:

To keep your steaks tender, leave the meat in the vacuum pack and thaw the cuts in cool water, or overnight in the fridge. Don't use the microwave - you'll actually toughen and damage the steak before it reaches the grill.

For perfectly grilled steaks, it helps to have one side of the barbecue hot and the other side on medium. This way you can sear the steaks on the hot side and then move them to the slightly cooler side of the barbecue to finish cooking nice and slowly, under more relaxed and forgiving conditions.

The secret is not to flip too often, except for burgers. The rule of thumb is to flip only once during grilling to help seal in the juices. And be sure to use tongs when handling meat because a fork will pierce the cut and let the juices and flavor escape.

Brushing the grill lightly with cooking oil or salad oil should reduce or eliminate the meat sticking on the surface.

Close that lid! Always try to barbecue with the lid of the barbecue closed. That way, the temperature will remain consistent, the food will cook faster, the barbecue will use less gas, and the flavor will be smokier.

For easy preparation and cleanup, wrap vegetables in aluminum foil and top them with butter and seasoning. You could also add a few ice cubes inside the packet; as the packet heats, the cubes melt and the vegetables steam beautifully.

Clean your grill regularly. Not only does the grill need to be cleaned, but also the inside lid and the body cavity. Use a wire brush on the grates and a scraper on the solid parts of the equipment. Remove all coals and any liquids, which either accumulated or were placed in the grill. This keeps prior cooking from flavoring the new cookout.

Always be sure the bottom tray and grease catch pan is clean and free from debris.

A Few Tricks

Choose a tender cut of meat that cooks quickly.

Try to make it thinner, so that it cooks faster--pounding boneless chicken breasts or butterflying pork tenderloins.

Finally, look for a marinade that doesn't require the long standing time so many recipes call for. Highly acidic mixtures can ruin the texture of meats that soak in them for too long but can deliver great flavor when the marinating time is just 10 to 20 minutes.

Intense spice rubs are another great quick way to season food for the grill: smoothed out with a little oil and then spread over the meat, they require no standing time at all.

Safety Tip

Lister Elsa send this easy safety hint: When using an outdoor barbecue for meats such as lamb where the fat can catch fire, we always keep a filled water pistol by the grill to shoot out the flame. It works wonderfully and never kills the heat in the coals.

How to Tell When your Coals are Ready

Cautiously hold your hand palm down, about 6 inches above coals. Count off seconds till heat forces you to pull your hand away.

2 seconds = Hot
3 seconds = Medium-Hot
4 seconds = Medium
5 seconds = Low.

Another check is the thickness of gray ash on coals:

Thin = Hot
Thick = Medium
Very Thick = Low

Wood Chips

Where's there's smoke there's flavor, but don't let aromatic woods-such as mesquite or hickory overwhelm the taste of your food.  For a subtle touch, place dry aromatic wood chips directly on coals; for a more intense flavor, soak woods in water before placing on hot coals.  Delicious pairing; Mesquite lends a sweet, earthy taste to duck or lamb; hickory suggests smoky bacon, so it's excellent with ham, pork and beef; fruitwoods-apple, cherry and peach chips are perfect with poultry, game birds and pork.

Prevent Sticking

To keep food from sticking, place it on a very hot grill you've prepared by preheating grill surface for about 15 minutes. Remember, when grilling chicken, place meatiest side down first. Do not turn food for at least half the suggested grilling time, this allows searing, which seals in juices. Another way to help prevent sticking: Lightly coat food with begetable or live oil, or spray with nonstick vegetable oil.

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Webpage designed and maintained by Leilani Devries