Whether you’ve worked a grill before or not, the backyard grill can be overwhelming to use. How high should you heat the grill? How long does it take for your meat to cook? What kind of charcoal should you use? One small mistake can take your burger from delish to blah. Grilling is not that tough- here are some tips to make even the novice griller star of your summer block party.
It is important to stay safe while grilling, and that extends beyond watching yourself (and others) near an open flame. If you’re unsure about how to use the equipment, always read instruction manual. And to avoid any kind of cross-contamination use different utensils with different types of proteins.
Maintaining Grill Temperatures
- By having a consistent, reliable heat source and proper venting, the grill can maintain low or high temperatures effectively.
- The dampers on the top and bottom of the grill control the airflow inside the grill. The more air flowing into the grill, the hotter the fire will grow and the more frequently you will have to replenish it. To slow the rate of your fuel burning, close the top vent as much as halfway and keep the lid on as much as possible. The bottom vent should be left open whenever you are grilling so you don’t kill your fire.
- Under normal circumstances, a typical charcoal briquette fire will lose about 100˚F of heat over 40 to 60 minutes. A typical lump charcoal fire will lose heat even faster.
GRILLING TIME AND TEMPERATURE
- By monitoring your time and grilling temperature you avoid overcooking your food. Use a grilling thermometer to make sure your meat is done:
- Ground Beef: 160 degrees F
- Poultry: 165 degrees F
- Beef/Veal: 145 degrees F
- Lamb/Pork: 145 degrees F
- Allow grilled meats a 3-4 minute standing time after grilling.
- If you are grilling in a colder climate or in a higher altitude, the cooking times will be longer. If the wind is blowing hard, it will lower a gas grill’s temperature and raise a charcoal grill’s temperature.
Put a lid on it
The lids aren’t just there to protect the grills; using them strategically will help you produce smoky flavors. What’s neat about cooking on a charcoal grill is that different types of charcoal will produce different flavors in your foods. For example, mesquite and hickory charcoal produce a smoked flavor.
The first step to achieving any kind of healthful grilling—or cooking for that matter—is to start clean. Use a wire brush to clean the grates and remove any food residue or char on them. Then, wipe them down with paper towels or cloth using some vegetable oil. This will also scoop up any broken-off brush bristles. When bits of food have stuck to your cooking grate, and the grate is hot, clean it with a stainless steel brush.
The heart of grilling lies in grilling techniques. What separates the master grillers from the masses is that the experts understand how to manage their grill. Follow these tips and build your comfort with grill and you can become a true grill master.