Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grilling Season, cont.

Once you have a grill (we talked about them yesterday), you will need a few utensils to go with it.  You really only need four utensils to get by in using your grill.  Those four are; tongs, metal turner (hamburger flipper), basting brush and a wire brush for cleaning.  One utensil that should never be used in conjunction with your grill is a fork and any kind.  All a fork can do is pierce a food and let the natural juices out.  You don't want that when your grilling.  It makes your grilled food dry and dull.  You want your steaks, chicken, burgers, etc. nice and juicy.  You also want to let the food rest for a few minutes so the juices stay in the food and don't end up all over the plate.

That brings me to a pet peeve of mine.  Don't cook these items to well done.  That does the same thing as sticking a fork in them.  The food gets dry and tough.  You might as well just cut up your shoe and eat the shoe leather.  It would have as much taste.

You don't have to grill it rare or medium rare.  Try just grilling it to medium well with just a hint of pink.  When I had my own restaurant, I converted my well done customers to medium well.  If fact, many of them ended up closer to medium.

Back to the wire brush for a moment.  You want to use this brush each time before you grill and each time after.  The wire brush gets the cooked on food particles off the cook grate.  It helps keep the grates clean and  the food from sticking.  Another item that helps keep food from sticking is paper towels with a little oil on it.  Fold up the paper towel and add a little oil.  Then using the tongs, pick up the paper towel and run it back and forth over the grates before putting your food on to grill.

Make sure the grates are hot when you oil them and place your food.  All of this helps keep the food from sticking.  One of the eye pleasing aspects of grilling is the grill marks on the food.  To get beautiful grill marks, you need to the turn food over only a few times.  When you place the steak, for example, on the grill.  You want to lay it down so the grates are at an angle to the steak.  Here you want to let it grill until the grates have had enough time to make good bold marks.  This also helps in the steak not sticking because once those marks are boldly made the meat will release from the grates.  If you want a diamond pattern on your steak, pick it up and turn it a quarter turn and set back down.  Do the same to the other side too.  Your family or friends will think you're a pro.

Lighting a charcoal grill can be overwhelming for some.  Here are a few tips.  Know how much food you plan to grill and use the appropriate amount of charcoal briquettes.  Pile the briquettes up and use only an approved lighter fluid.  Never try gasoline, kerosene, etc. to light your fire.  That's for any kind of fire.  It will take between 20 and 40 minutes for the briquettes to reach the heat needed to grill.  Once the coals are white and have reached that heat level needed, spread them out so they are only one high.  Put the grate on the grill with the lid on and give it 5 to 10 minutes to heat up.  Remove the lid and wire brush the grate before continuing with your grilling.  If you're grilling something that takes a longer time, you may want to add a few more briquettes just before you put the food on.  This will extend the life of the fire.

Remember to be safe when working with any of these grills.  That is both personal safety and the safety of the area

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