Grilling Basics

Grilling Chicken

Celebrating the National Grilling Month

July is National Grilling Month, and with the sun shining down, what better way to celebrate food than to make the most of grilling and barbecuing a delicious selection of meats and veggies? No matter where you are grilling your food or what you are cooking, there are a few things that you need to consider such as equipment, grilling times, marinades, rubs, and cooking temperatures to ensure you get the best quality results.

  • Grilling Equipment

Make sure your grill is suited to your uses – find a unit which suits your budget, the amount of food you cook, and where you will be grilling. Gas and charcoal can often have different tastes too so make sure you consider both options.

A spatula, tongs and a basting brush (all with long handles) are the ideal utensils for grilling and great for turning food to ensure even grilling. A meat thermometer is best used for checking poultry temperatures safely, and water pistols or sprayers are best for putting out any stray sparks or controlling the grilling flames.

Make sure you keep plenty of skewers for making kebabs, and plenty of tin foil for grilling vegetables.

  • Grilling Temperatures and Timings

If food needs to cook for a long time, the temperature of your grill needs to be lower. In order to gauge the heat, hold your hand about 4 inches away from the top of the grill:

  • If you can’t keep it there any longer than 2 seconds, it is a HOT (more than 375F)
  • If you can’t keep it there any longer than 3 seconds, it is MEDIUM HOT (350 to 375F)
  • If you can’t keep it there any longer than 4 seconds, it is MEDIUM (300 to 350F)
  • If you can’t keep it there any longer than 5 seconds, it is LOW (200 to 300F)

Burgers should be cooked for 4 – 5 minutes on each side and placed directly onto a hot grill. Depending on how well you like your steaks, timings may vary, but a medium steak which is 2-3cm thick should be grilled for 4 minutes on each side.

  • Marinades and Rubs

Dry rubs are great for adding a tasty crust to a juicy burger or steak. However, if you like moist marinades, then strong tasting ingredients such as soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and crushed garlic all work well for giving the meat an extra “kick”. For the best flavours, leave your meat to marinade overnight for the flavours to properly sink in.

  • Grilling Tips
  1. ‘Rubs’ do not have to be pressed super-hard into the meat. Instead, make sure that you gently roll the meat in the rub to protect the texture of the outer layer of the meat.
  2. Make sure your marinade doesn’t have too high an ‘acid’ content. The acid (lemon juice for example) should be about a 1:3 ratio to the oil that you use.
  3. To check the doneness of chicken, pick one of the larger pieces from the grill and slice it open – if it is still pink, place back on the grill until all chicken legs/wings are done.
  4. Let your meat rest once it’s cooked – this allows juices to evenly spread themselves around the meat to give you the juiciest tasting steaks or burgers possible.

What are some grilling tips you would recommend?

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Posted by RecipeBridge Staff Writer July 3rd 2012
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