Thyme To Grill
Tips For The Grill
Keep A Spray Bottle Nearby
This can be used to help control flare ups, as you can simply spray the water directly onto the flame without extinguishing the whole grill. This also comes in handy when dealing with foods that stick to the grill, as steam helps release the food from the grates.
Get It Hot
Properly heat your grill for 15-20 minutes prior to cooking to kill off any bacteria. This also helps prevent sticking, as food is far less likely to stick to hot grates.
250-300 degrees for low
300-350 degrees for medium
350-400 degrees for medium-high
400-450 degrees for high
Brush It Hot
Its easiest to remove debris from your grill grates when it is already hot. So giving your grill a nice once over before you begin cooking will help insure the cleanest of cooking surfaces. You should always clean off your grates when you finish cooking also.
Once the grill is plenty hot, and you’ve cleaned off your grates, you’re almost ready. To really keep your food from sticking, use a pair of tongs to dip some paper towels in vegetable oil. Gently rub your grates with the towels to get an even, light layer of oil on them.
Have you ever tried lighting your charcoals while they were spread out in your grill, and not had much luck? Or noticed it took an incredibly long time to get them going? Using a chimney starter will making lighting your coals a breeze. The best part is, if you drink coffee then you likely already have what you need. You can use an old metal coffee can, remove the bottom portion and that’s all you need. Stack your coals inside there, light and watch how much faster your coals are ready to cook with.
Use Indirect Heat
When prepping your grill, you should only put coals on half of the grill. This will provide an area of indirect heat. This gives you an area to cook things like vegetables at a slower pace, along with giving you an area to rotate food around in case it starts cooking too fast.
Often you will see chefs on Food Network talking about rubbing the spices into your meats. Be careful with how hard you massage, because if you rub too hard, this can damage the fibers of your meat. You also drastically increase your chances of over seasoning. A gently, smooth motion is all that you need.
It is very easy to over marinade your food before cooking. This is especially true for marinades that have acids like vinegar or lemon juice in them. The best time frame for marinating is between thirty minutes and two hours. Anything longer and you run the risk of the acids to start to cold cook your food and damage the tissue of your food.
Know When It’s Time
For the novice on the grill, or even the experts, it is easy to over or under cook your meats. Whenever you check the doneness of your meat, always pick the thickest piece, as that will take the longest to cook. However, you may also wish to check the thinnest piece, for the opposite is true. If you find yourself without a thermometer, using a skewer can work just as easily. Poke to the center of the meat, close to the bone as you can get it, for this is the last part to finish – when you pull out, if the juices are clear, then your meat has cooked through.
A Simple Sear
Always pat your meat dry before grilling, even for those that have been in a marinade. Wet meat doesn’t sear, it steams. Steamed meat becomes tough and chewy. It’s also important to not “play” with your foods while cooking them; you should only move your meat 1-2 times on each side.
It is common to brush on sauces or glazes to your meats. It’s important to know the right time to do this. You’ll want to keep in mind how much sugar is in your sauce/glaze, as sugars tend to burn rather easily. The proper time is either right before the meat comes off, and is finished over indirect heat or when it has been removed from the heat.
Know Your Grill
Each and every grill is different. The way it heats, where it holds hot spots better, or even how much heat escapes while the lid is closed. The best way to do this is by using your grill often.
Burgers To Perfection
When making homemade burgers, do you notice that the centers bubble up and eventually burst once you flip them? This is because the juices inside have come to a boil. So when you are making your famous burger recipe, and get to the point where you are forming patties, press an indentation in the center so that the edges are slightly thicker than the center.
Tips For The Smoker
Easy On The Wood
As the expression goes, a little bit goes a long way. Adding too much wood is a common mistake among first time smokers. It is possible to over smoke something, and the result is a bitter tasting product. Smoke should look like a smooth stream escaping from your grill, and not like a forest fire is burning underneath the lid.
Much of the goodness and flavor that smoke has to offer will stick best to the fat and moisture of raw meat. As the meat begins to cook, the surface begins to dry out and become tough. A good rule to follow when smoking meats is to allow the meat to go for approximately half of the total cook time; this helps the meat retain moisture, along with keeping it from taking on a bitter taste from too much smoke.
Water Helps Smoke
Whenever using a smoker, especially for longer than an hour, it’s best to use a pan full of water on the indirect heat portion. The water will add humidity to the air, which serves several purposes. The most important one is helping to regulate the temperature inside the grill. From a flavor standpoint, the smoke will stick to the moisture and help stick to the food.
Keep It Flowing
Proper circulation and air flow are vital to having flavorful and tasty results. Having your vents open will draw the air through your grill, which swirls fresh smoke around your food. This also helps maintain proper cooking temperatures during the process.
Keep A Lid On It
As tempting as it may be to want to peek at your food, try to resist the urge; every time you open the lid, smoke escapes while you’re cooling off your grill. You should limit opening your grill to attending to the fire, water pan or food. Smart pit masters would knock out all three at the same time.
Soak It Up
When using wood chips, try soaking them in water for an hour before using them. (if you are well organized and think about it – try to soak them overnight.) The wood will expand as it absorbs the moisture, thus making more wood to burn. The chips also burn at a much slower rate and combined will make for more smoke.
A Cold Smoke
Unless you have been professionally trained, it is best to stay away from cold smoking. There are so many variables and so many aspects that could go wrong, with a possible result being death.