The flavor of fire-grilled meat is a primal experience that goes back thousands of years. Man has been drawn to the delicious char and juices dripping from a perfectly cooked piece of meat since the first time he tried it. Thankfully this is a skill that continues to be passed down through thousands of generations of men and that continues today in backyards across America! Unfortunately, it isn't something that just anyone can do properly. You need to equip yourself with a few basic skills. Just like any other craft, the technicalities of the process have to be carefully mastered.
For instance, in grilling, timing is everything. From timing when the temperature is right to place the meat on the grill, flipping your chop, to when you think the food is ready and safe to eat. It's basically an art that becomes perfected with lots of time, patience and consistency.
How to Start Grilling Right!
All you need is to master the very basic principles such as the right grill, and different ways of grilling. Some of the most popular methods of grilling are as follows:
Charcoal Grill Techniques
Traditionally charcoal is the main grilling equipment in most households. The reason why so many still prefer it is because of its great versatility. For example, it allows easier coal arrangement for proper heat management, depending on exactly what you need to grill. Again, a typical charcoal grill can get extremely hot, which is a favorable characteristic in grilling.
There a number of things to consider while using this type of grill. These include:
- Knowing how to store charcoal: Usually in a dry place, away from wetness and moisture.
- The types of charcoal: The common ones are usually briquettes and lump but coconut shell charcoal is becoming much more popular due to it being a more sustainable option as well as burning better.
- Learning how to light: The simplest way to start a charcoal fire is to use a chimney starter. It's basically a metal cylinder open at both ends and usually used for lighting purposes. You need to place a crumbled piece of dry paper in the lower section of the grill, and let the charcoal settle on the top section.
You can then light the crumpled paper so flames can grow and ignite the charcoal. Make sure that the heat is well-spread and the temperatures on the grill are even. Once you see that the charcoal is covered with fine ash, you can prepare to start grilling your meat.
The best way to determine the temperature level is to hold your hand above the heat simply. The fire is overly hot if you can only hold for two seconds, and at medium, for four to six seconds.
Gas Grill Techniques
It’s one of the most convenient as it just requires you to turn the knob. You can light and preheat with minimal effort. To start, you first need to connect the propane tank to the grill, ensuring that the tank valve is open.
Also, ensure that the grill lid is open before you light it. You can then turn the gas burner to high and then ignite it. Depending on the number of burners you have lit, try to make the necessary heat adjustments based on the type of meat you are grilling.
For maximum grilling efficiency, you need to consider other useful actions. Such include knowing how to clean the grill, creating grilling zones, and even how to select the best meat.
Creating Direct and Indirect Heat Zones on a Grill
Grilling needs you to apply heat management techniques. These are the direct and indirect heat zones which you need to master.
If it's a charcoal grill, you need to push hot coal to one side of the grill and leave the other side with minimal to no coal at all. Usually, the cooler side works like an oven, best for chicken and fish; while the hotter side is good for searing steaks.
For a gas grill with two burners; one needs to have high heat, while the other is simply turned off. It functions like this
- Direct heat: The burner is lit between high to medium, which is usually best for searing purposes.
- Indirect Heat: It's usually a burner right next to the lit one. If the direct heat gets too hot, you close the grill to use this one, as it usually relies on convection. The heat that comes to from this section is quite low, akin to that of an oven. It’s mostly used to grill meat so that the heat reaches the inner sections of the meat.
How to Clean Your Grill Properly
If you want your grill to function optimally, you need to keep it clean; more so, just before lighting it. First and foremost, ensure that you turn off the heat source. Then follow this process:
- Remove and scrub the grates. Clean grates create a nice grill mark and also prevent any kind of sticking.
- Clean all the components of the grill, such as the burner tubes.
- Try first to wipe the interior of the lid and then wipe the exterior part.
Point to note: use cleaning tips that accompany the grill manual so as to keep your grill in tip-top condition.
Essential Equipment For Grilling
The following are some of the very necessary grilling tools you need.
- A meat thermometer: In this case, you can go for a digital probe thermometer. It's usually spot-on to ensure that you get the most reliable results when you are grilling your beef or chicken. Otherwise, you can also utilize an oven thermometer for the same purpose.
- Grilling tongs: 16 inches or more are the best as you are protected from extreme heat.
- Wooden skewers: These allow you to cook most of your grills with much ease.
Grilling, whether by charcoal or gas, needs to use the right temperatures. It guarantees you both food safety as well as excellent flavor. It, therefore, requires that you equip yourself with a reliable thermometer. With it, you can easily determine if your food is cooking well and if it ready and safe to consume.
Have the essential equipment to make your task easier.
It's also critical that you keep your grill clean. You are then sure that there are no lingering bacteria to interfere with your food. But also, a clean grill leaves your meat with the clearest grill marks.
Choosing the Meat (and Vegetables!)
The meat selection is also a skill on its own, as it can determine how well your chop gets done. Basically, you need to avoid cuts that are extremely thick. Instead, go for those ones which are between 1 to 2 inches thick. The pieces need to be nicely marbled. And you also need to shave off any fat to dodge any kind of flare-ups.
No matter what you are cooking, it is essential to know how different meats react differently to a certain level of heat. For example, chicken and fish work well with indirect heat, while steak can use direct heat. This is as true for grilling as it is for preparing gumbo.
Different temperatures for the right task will be the difference between burning something and creating that perfect level of char.