Grilling Good Eats
By Mike Thayer
Got a craving for a juicy brat? A rack of baby back ribs? How about a perfectly grilled medium rare rib eye steak? Summer time means grill time whether it’s a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park. Grill up some real crowd pleasing dishes by following these grilling tips for an easier, tastier, more relaxing grilling experience.
Grilling Tips: Whether you’re a novice to grilling or a weekend grilling warrior, the following thirteen tips are essential to putting you on the path to becoming a grill master.
Grilling Tip #1: Take your chicken breast, chops, and/or steak out of the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes prior to grilling to let them air out. This does NOT apply to something you’ve been marinating. This is for something you’re taking directly out of the package from the store, or something you’ve given a dry rub too. Inspect the meat, you want to make sure there is no excess moisture on it, especially if you‘re going to rub some olive oil or the like on that steak, chop, or breast. Even if you’re just applying salt and pepper, that meat should be dry. Pat the meat down with a paper towel if necessary. Letting chicken/chops/steaks and such air out, gives the meat a better sear when it hits the grill. Leaving excess moisture on your meats can cause unnecessary flare ups and the real benefit to a properly prepped cut of ’aired out’ meat is that it’s going to cook more evenly, locking in that flavor and delivering you a much more tender, tastier mouthful. Ground meats are a different story! They should be cold when putting on the grill. If they’re at room temperature, ground meats tend to fall apart or droop through the cooking grate.
Grilling Tip #2: Oil the grilling surface. After your grill is hot, brush (do NOT spray!) some vegetable oil on the cooking grate. I use a squeeze bottle of canola oil, squirting oil on a folded paper towel - cover it well but not to the point of dripping - then I use my long handled steel bristle brush to move the oiled paper towel over the grill surface. This isn’t to add flavor or to keep food from sticking (Tip #5 below), this is to make clean up much, much easier when the grilling is done. When it’s clean up time, brushing the grill surface clean takes half the time if you pre-oiled the grate.
Grilling Tip #3: Generally speaking, the “Presentation side” of any meat or grilled item (how you’ll see the item on the plate) is the first side you put on the grill. Choose the better looking side of the item to put down first. This is the side that needs to have those beautiful grill marks. And with most meats and fish, you only want to flip once. Yep, you read that right, flip it just once.