The summer time is here, which means it’s grilling season. And by that we mean “screwing up when you make an effort to grill things within the backyard season.” Despite the hippie feel of eating outdoors, there’s a science to proper grilling. Ignore the science and you are missing out on one of the best aspects of summer.
Trouble is, much like other sorts of science, you will find rules. Commandments, even. And to have the definitive dogma, we reached to grill masters of all walks — including James Beard-nominated chef Greg Denton of Portland, OR’s Ox, Longhorn Steakhouse menu Executive Chef/Grill Us Hotline hero Josh Evans, catering chef Dave Coffman of Tree’s in Sherwood, OR, and a lot of dads — to find out the 10 commandments of grilling.
Thou shalt not use accelerants – Seriously, just what the hell is wrong with you? Should you put lighter fluid on the coals, that stuff wafts up and coats your grilled meats with only a hint of petrochemicals. The same thing goes for those match-light charcoals (which can be basically regular charcoal with lighter fluid mixed in). Those same chemicals will attach to your cooking surfaces too, so the next few meals you grill will also have toxic fumes as their secret ingredient. You’re a huge boy. Learn to begin a proper fire. Or just use gas propane, not ‘oline.
Thou shalt establish heat zones – Bank your coals to a single side to get a charcoal grill, or use only the side burners for any gas grill. Do that so you can cook with indirect heat rather than just slapping meat on the top of the latest portion of the cooker. It offers you a slower, more even cook through your meat. Once you’re ready for Advanced Grilling, it is possible to strategically position different foods closer or far away from the new zone so all things are ready concurrently.
Thou shalt remember the veggies – Yes, grills are for steaks and hamburgers. Yes, vegetarians may be annoyingly self-righteous. No, that doesn’t mean a grilled hot pepper or beet isn’t delicious. Denton specifically recommends putting your veggies on the grill after you’ve cooked your meat. Allow the coals burn down while cooking your veggies. When the outsides char, it is possible to slice that away. Use them for an additional course, to munch on while you sip your beer and slap at mosquitoes.
Thou shalt use fresh meats – Slapping a frozen slab of meat on the grill creates an uneven cook: the surface chars whilst the inside slowly thaws. For the best results, you want to use fresh meats that went from the supermarket in your fridge, then directly to the grill. If you absolutely must use frozen, thaw them overnight inside the fridge. Don’t think about cooking those suckers until they are fully thawed.
Thou shalt not mistake the objective of marinades – The main purpose is to breakdown tougher meats (like flank and hanger steaks), to ensure they are easier and more pleasant to chew. If you like the flavor of any marinade over a rib-eye, cook that liquid down to a thicker sauce while your meats are cooking without one, then brush it on a minute approximately prior to the end.
Thou shalt always clean thy grill – Another “just what the hell is wrong along with you?” situation. A dirty grill leaves bits of charred and carbonized last night’s meal all over this night’s dinner. That’s nasty. The best time to clean up your grill is after you’ve preheated it — prior to you slap down your food. The fire will cook a few of the old stuff away, and heat up the Klingons so that you can scrape them off easily.
Thou shalt not make use of a cold grill – Should you put meat on the cold grill, it cooks onto the metal using a chemical bond that’s about as tough to knock off as concrete from rebar. A hot grill, by contrast, sears your meat nicely therefore it doesn’t stick. Keep in mind that you’re putting cold meat on that hot metal, which reduces the overall temperature as a result of physics. So allow it to be hotter than you think you require it. It’ll warm up. Don’t worry.
Thou shalt become confident with people waiting their turns – The rule for meats over a grill is the same as the rule for slow dancing at prom: all flesh should be in inch or more apart. If you’re observing our earlier commandment about using indirect heat (which cancels out element of your surface for cooking), which means cooking fewer items at the same time. Your friends will have to be patient.
Thou shalt not poke your meat – You’ve heard the trick of poking meat and comparing it towards the texture of your own hand to tell if it’s medium, or rare, or burnt, or whatever. The key works, but only for professionals — and ftyjtt that professionals at this particular level can identify the doneness of a steak in a pan by the sound it can make. You’re not just a pro, and you don’t want to poison your friends. Buy a damn meat thermometer.
Thou shalt leave the lid alone – Opening the lid of Longhorn reduces the temperature and slows cooking. Opening the lid of any charcoal grill adds oxygen to the fire and burns your meat. Patience, grasshopper. Use a timer, then open the lid to turnover, then close it again until it’s close to time for the cooking to be done. You don’t keep opening your oven and dic.king around having a cake or casserole. Resist the urge with all the grill.