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9 Grilling Tips

Jul 16, 2008
Well, you now have your shiny new grill sitting out on the patio, and you're looking forward to cooking some plump, juicy burgers or steaks. You want your food to turn out well, but grilling, like anything else, does take some practice. These grilling tips will help you to get a good start, and create a great meal.

Always be sure to oil your grill first. Either spray the grill with a nonstick cooking spray before you turn the grill on, or you can wipe it down with a wad of paper towels dipped in cooking oil. If the grill is hot, be sure to hold the paper towels in a pair of tongs. Proper lubrication will keep the meat from sticking to the grill. If it sticks, it will tear when you turn it, and it will lose its juices and become dry, as well as looking unattractive, so be sure to properly oil the grill.

Let the grill preheat before you put any food on it. You want the grill to be a constant temperature. If you put on the meat while the grill is still heating, you may end up with dry meat. If you are using charcoal, check the coals before you put the meat on the grill. The coals should be completely gray. This allows the temperature to level off, and the lighter fluid to burn away.

If you don't like the taste of lighter fluid on your food, try using a chimney starter. Place the coals in the top, and then wad a couple of sheets of newspaper in the bottom. Light the paper, and wait for the coals to ignite, then dump them into the grill. Just be sure not to place the chimney starter on any flammable surface.

Make sure your meat is completely thawed before cooking. Thaw it in the refrigerator for a couple of days before you need it, and let it thaw. Remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before cooking. You can also thaw the meat in the microwave, but it will need to be cooked immediately after you remove it from the microwave.

Avoid foodborne illness, don't place the cooked meat on the same plate that you used to carry the raw meat to the grill. Use a different cutting board for meats and vegetables to avoid cross contamination.

Never use a fork to turn the meat. A fork will poke holes in the meat, allowing the juices to drain away, giving you dry meat, and a difficult buildup of grease and burned on juices to clean out of your grill. Use a pair of tongs to turn the meat, and keep the juices where then belong, inside the meat.

You'll need to open the lid from time to time to turn the meat, and to check for doneness. You want to leave the lid closed as much as possible, though. The changing temperatures from constantly opening and closing the lid will cause the meat to dry out. So, keep the lid closed unless you're turning or checking the meat.

Not everything needs to be cooked over the highest temperature that your grill can attain. If the heat is too high, the outside of the meat will burn, while the insides are barely cooked. Turn the temperature down a bit on the gas grill, or let the coals burn down a bit more on a charcoal grill. There certainly are some foods that need to be cooked on high, but not all.

If you want to brush a sugary barbecue sauce on your meat, wait until the last few minutes of cooking time. If you put the sauce on too soon, the sugar in the sauce will burn.

So, fire up the grill, and practice your grilling techniques. Apply these simple tips, and you'll be grilling like a pro in no time.
About the Author
Visit Patio Grilling for more grilling tips and grilling recipes.
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