One of the first things that many homeowners do as the weather gets warmer is fire up the grill for the first time in a while. We asked award-winning Grillmaster and JAG agent Joe Higginbotham for some tips on how to perfect the art of grilling this summer.
Know safe internal temperatures for meat.
It can be tricky to tell when meat is cooked to a safe temperature, so make sure that you have a meat thermometer nearby while cooking and know at what temperature your particular protein is done. This will reduce the chance of consuming undercooked meat while also helping to prevent overcooking. Make sure that the thermometer is inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat to get the most accurate temperature reading. Below is a chart for reference.
Never walk away when food is on the grill.
Fat drippings from meat can turn quickly into a fire, so make sure that you are actively monitoring the grill and focused on cooking while the flame is lit. Not doing so can result in charred, overcooked meat that is tough to chew.
Have all your grill utensils and plate/platters within reach of the grill.
When you are using the grill, you want to make sure that your food is getting your undivided attention. Since fat drippings can cause unpredictable flames, it is best to have all of the utensils and dishes that you will need for arranging your meat and removing it from the grill at hand to avoid any potential mishaps.
Check the temp of your grill grates.
The grates are the surface that first touches whatever you place on the grill, so their temperature is an important factor to consider when cooking on the grill. Make sure to heat the grill prior to placing food on the grates to prevent sticking and tearing.
Clean your grill grates once they are hot.
Leftover residue from past grilling sessions can change the flavor of your meat, so it is important to clean the grates beforehand. Doing so while hot ensures that the grates are thoroughly cleaned easily.
Grilling isn’t just for meat. Throw the veggies on the grill too.
Grilling vegetables can give a very flavorful option for preparing some in-season sides, such as zucchini and summer squash for a refreshing and light flavor. Sear your veggies on high, then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.
Grilling is the cornerstone of every summer get-togethers, so good grill skills are a useful skill to have. The tips above will help you master the art of grilling for some amazingly delicious summertime meals.