By Katie Houdek
Grilling is a staple of modern American life. Is there anything so nice as the smell of grilled meats and vegetables wafting across the neighbor’s fence on a nice warm evening? Well, yes… when it’s in your own back yard. Here’s some tips to ensure your safety while cooking your delicious meats and a few tips to get the most out of it!
Get Your Grill On – Safely!
- Make sure to wash everything used while handling raw meat. Your plate, utensils, and most importantly… your hands!
- Do not let your meat sit out at room temperature for longer than an hour. While you do want to let it sit out for a bit to take the chill off, leaving it sit out longer than an hour increases the odds that harmful bacteria can get hold. Don’t go down like that.
- Keep little ones away from the grill. Kids like to run and play and more often then not they’re just not mindful of their surroundings. Keep them safe by keeping them away.
- Keep a spray bottle with water near by to tamp down flare ups. Those flare-ups are what char up your meat and create cancer-causing carcinogens.
- Did you know that marinating your meat cuts down on the carcinogens that can be result from grilling meat and fish over an open flame? Allowing your meat to spend some quality time with an acidic marinate (think citrus juices, alcohols, and vinegars) can cut that risk down. Marinating your meat also has the added benefit of tenderizing your meat and infusing it with some delicious flavors!
Get Your Grill On – Deliciously!
- Tongs and spatulas are your friends. Try to avoid using the giant meat fork that comes in every grill kit. Poking holes in your meat will allow those delicious juices to escape. Juices are necessary for flavor and to keep your meat from getting dried out.
- Whether your grilling meats or vegetables you should lubricate your grill before you place the food on the grates. Pour a little olive oil in a bowl and fold up a couple of paper towels. Dip the towels in the oil and rub on the grates. It’ll keep your grill cleaner and your food from sticking to the grill, especially those veggies.
- When you’re shopping for that perfect piece of steak make sure to pick one with marbling. Marble is the thin lines of fat running through the steak. A steak with nice marbling is going to stay juicy on the grill and taste absolutely delicious. A steak without that marbling is going to get really tough on the grill.
- Hold the salt… at least until it’s cooked. Sprinkling the salt over raw meat draws moisture away. Again, less moisture is less flavor.
- Pre-heat your grill. Don’t toss your meat down on a cold grill and then fire her up. Yes you’re cooking over an open flame but don’t forget that you want to use that ambient heat to cook your food more consistently and thoroughly. Pre-heating your grill give you more control over how your food cooks.
- Don’t mess with your meat too much once it’s on the grill. Remember to lubricate your grill grates before you toss the meat on. Leave it alone until the meat releases itself from the surface. If it’s stuck the grates that generally means it’s not ready to be flipped. And only flip once.
- Some meats, such as chicken breasts are not uniform in thickness. Pound out the meat to an even consistency and you’ll be less likely to burn one end or under cook the other.