The aroma of the grill is a sure sign that summer is near. Grilling is an excellent way to enjoy the warm weather, keep kitchen clean-up to a minimum, and dish up the best flavors of the season. Master the art form of cooking over an open flame with these essential grilling tips:
Harness the Heat: Direct vs. Indirect
When it comes to grilling, not all heat is created equal. Understanding the distinction between direct and indirect heat sets you up for sizzling success. The highest heat is achieved directly over a flame, and is preferred for searing the outer layer of meats or cooking small pieces of food quickly. Indirect heat is useful for thicker cuts of meat and is achieved by cooking food on a covered grill out of range of the direct heat source. Indirect heat allows you to cook a whole chicken through without charring the outside to a crisp.
Direct and indirect heat can be used in combination for outstanding results with both charcoal and 2-burner gas grills. Simply leave one burner off or push all of the hot coals to one side of the grill to create an area for indirect cooking.
Start With a Sear and End With a Rest
The secret to juicy, flavorful grilled meats lies in this method: Start with a sear and end with a rest. Searing is the process of browning, or caramelizing, the outside of the meat to form a crust. For best results, begin with a dry piece of meat brought to room temperature prior to placing it on the grill. Before cutting into and serving your perfectly grilled meats, allow them to rest long enough that the internal juices redistribute evenly (about 30% of the overall cooking time).
When in Doubt, Use a Meat Thermometer
A seasoned grillmaster may have an intuitive sense for a steak sizzled to perfection, but a more scientific approach may be useful until you reach that status. Appropriately monitoring the internal temperature of a piece of grilled meat is crucial for two reasons: 1) to ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked for food safety, and 2) to avoid overcooking and drying out the food on the grill. Use a meat thermometer and follow a trusty temperature guide to end up with perfect results every time.
These tips will get you grilling like the pros this summer. And don’t forget, the perfect backdrop for your next backyard barbecue is the backyard, itself! We’ll help you set the scene—start by requesting a free estimate.