With the warm days of mid-summer come the delicious flavors of grilling and outdoor barbecue cooking. However, most people really don’t know how to grill properly, often making mistakes that turn great cuts of meat into rubber. So, Kosher.com, a premier site for cooking, recipes, how-to videos, and more, is here to help you with are all the things you need to know to turn yourself into a barbecue master!
Don’t overcrowd the grill. Don’t make the rookie mistake of favoring quantity over quality. Yes, everyone is hungry, but by crowding that meat, you are compromising on the best part about cooking over open fire: the crust. Cooking in shifts might take a little bit longer, but no one will be complaining when they bite into the steak you just grilled perfectly.
Don’t jump the gun. The enemy of mess-free grilling is a cold grill. If you’ve just turned the fire on and are itching to get going, distract yourself. Defer to the nearest toddler for inspiration on messes that take ten seconds to make and ten minutes to clean, because you’ll need at least ten minutes to heat a gas grill and twenty to heat a charcoal grill. We repeat: heat the grill fully before you start cooking, or your food will stick so badly, you’ll want to throw your grates out and start over. Be patient. It will be worth the wait.
Skip the sauce. We know, it’s called barbecue sauce. Ignore that compelling logic and avoid using sugary sauces. You’re so great at grilling that you don’t need to hide your meat behind sweet, heavy sauces that coat your grates and cause ugly flare-ups. Use spice rubs to flavor your meat, and if you must use a sauce, use it only at the very end.
Plan the menu. We get it, you’re gaining confidence and embracing your inner grill master, and that’s awesome. Do yourself a favor, though, and plan for some non-BBQ items on the menu. It’s a good idea to make sure you have some food that can be cooked indoors or prepared in advance, so you don’t overwhelm the grill, or the griller. If you’re entertaining, having food that’s ready to go right away will take a load of pressure off, so you can man the fire, stress-free.
Start with a clean machine. But seriously, even if your grill isn’t a machine (a.k.a., charcoal, for the purists out there), making sure your grates are clean before you get started will help you avoid any fiery accidents or food that sticks to the grill. Invest in a new grill brush whenever you see loose bristles.
Leave the lid alone. Have some confidence in yourself. You are well on your way to grill mastery, so don’t stop now! After searing your food on the hot section of your grill, move it to the cooler section and close the lid. Don’t peek, either. A watched steak cooks unevenly.
Let your meat rest. You did it! You cooked a steak that is so beautiful, it rivals any Instagram photo. Fight all urges to slice into it for at least ten minutes. Yes, ten whole minutes is necessary for your meat or chicken to rest before you start cutting! The juices that got released during cooking need to redistribute in order to give you a juicy, flavorful protein. Skipping this step will result in dry meat.
Grill beef at room temperature. Ever seen a steak that had a perfectly charred crust and was cooked for the right amount of time, but when you cut into it, the interior was a hint away from still mooing? Firing a cold steak will result in meat that’s cooked unevenly. Allow your meat to come all the way to room temperature before cooking.
Cut against the grain. There’s no chance you haven’t heard this tip before, so stop ignoring it. Meat muscle fibers generally run in one direction, and you want to slice the meat across those lines of muscle fibers. Yes, it makes a difference! Even if you have one of those weird cuts of meat that has a grain that switches direction halfway through, do it. The difference between shoe leather and melt-in-your-mouth could literally be the angle that you are holding your knife.
Use the right tools. Thinking you can grab those handy tongs you use in your kitchen to flip those burgers? Think again. You need tools that are formulated to keep you safe while grilling, primarily by keeping your hands away from fire. Use long-handled tongs and spatulas only, and be on guard to swat away wandering plastic forks attached to people who are itching to get their hands on one of your famous burgers straight off the grill. Pro tip: use a thermometer with a non-contact infrared sensor for bonus points and perfectly cooked meat.
If you follow these steps, you’re well on your way to the best grill season yet. Remember the most important tip of all: outdoor cooking is awesome, so chill out and have fun!
Grilled Chicken Thighs With Pineapple
- 10 pieces deboned chicken thighs
- Fresh pineapple, sliced, for grilling
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. oil
- 3 cubes frozen garlic
- Â½ tsp. black pepper
- Â½ tsp. paprika
- Â½ tsp. cumin
Prepare chicken: Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and add chicken and pineapple slices. Place in a Ziploc bag and squeeze out all the air. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Grill for only about 4Â minutes on each side, just until the chicken is cooked through. (Check for doneness at the thickest part.)
Grill the pineapple along with the chicken, just for about 3Â minutes on each side.
Note: When taking marinated chicken on a trip, make sure it’s kept cool at all times. I like to put it in the freezer for about 3Â hours before we leave so that it is really cold and can come to room temperature slowly.Â v
BBQ grilling tips adapted from Michal Frischman by permission and brought to you by Kosher.com. Kosher.com is a premier site for year-round kosher cooking and conversation, with a huge variety of recipes from top cookbooks and community foodies, plus cutting-edge food videos to entertain you and take your cooking to the next level. Also find gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, kosher, and thousands of other recipes and videos searchable by ingredient, diet restriction, cuisine type, difficulty of recipe, holidays, and much more.
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