Spring is here and for those of us on the Island, it’s the official start of BBQ season. Whether you love steak and chicken or grilling fruits and veggies, the following tips will help to make sure your spring and summer are delicious!
Take the Meat out Early
The best way to get a perfectly seared steak or piece of chicken is to make sure it’s not too cold when you put it on the grill. Cold meat will take longer to cook, and that will dry it out. Letting your meat sit out for a half an hour or so helps to make sure your meat is juicy and tender.
Salt Your Meat
If you salt your steak at least 30 minutes before cooking you’ll help it to form a crust while searing. How much salt? About twice as much as you think you need is the rule of thumb.
Preheating the grill, whether it’s a charcoal grill or a gas grill, helps keep food from sticking to the grill grate and ensures the perfect sear. After you’ve preheated your grill for 15-20 minutes you’ll find that any food bits that may be leftover from the last time you cooked have been loosened.
You want to start with a clean grill, so once the grill is good and hot use a grill brush (you can find them as well as grills, gas, and other grilling needs at your local Brinkmann’s Hardware) to clean off the grill grates.
There’s debate over whether you should use a paper towel to oil the grill or use oil on the meat to keep it from sticking. Whichever you choose don’t go overboard. A light coating will do the trick.
Getting Down to Cooking
There are two kinds of heat when cooking on a grill: direct heat and indirect heat. Direct heat is located right over the flame and puts out a high temperature, and indirect heat is to the side with a slightly lower temperature. For most cuts of meat cooking over direct heat will work just fine; however, for thicker cuts, you may need to move the food over to the side of the grill, where you have indirect heat, so that it doesn’t char on the outside before it cooks properly inside.
Keep It Safe
For proper food safety, it’s important to make sure the internal temperature of the meat you cook is high enough. An instant-read thermometer will be extremely helpful in figuring out the exact temperature of your meat and will help you not overdo it when it comes to cooking time. For a medium-rare steak, you’ll want to cook meat to 130-135°F. Another way to tell if steak is done is by time. For an inch-thick steak, it should take from 13 to 15 minutes on the grill. Thinner steaks will take less time, and thicker will take longer.