Summertime and grilling go together like peanut butter and jelly, but for some, the idea of grilling any type of meat puts the fear of fire into their hearts. Fortunately, you can do it, and the results are well worth the effort. Following are tips and advice about grilling and steak recipes that can turn any novice into a grilling expert.
Choose the Right Cut of Meat
Every good barbecue begins with a quality cut of meat. In fact, the meat can make or break your grilling experience. The butcher at your local market should be able to guide you in the right direction. The following information will provide enough knowledge to put you on the same page as your butcher.
Clean and Prep Your Grill
All grills should be seasoned, however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever clean it. The biggest aspect of maintaining your grill is making sure the grease catcher is cleaned prior to your grilling season. You will also need to check it periodically throughout the season as grease builds up again.
The actual grill grates should be scraped prior to grilling. To do this, turn your grill on high heat for about 15 minutes. Any barbecue sauce or bits of meat left on the grill from previous cookouts will carbonize. After this has happened, it will be easy to scrape or brush from the grill grate. Most standard grill scrapers come with a brass or stainless wire brush on the backside. Over time, the brush will eventually wear down, fill with grease and carbon and need to be replaced.
Preparing the Meat
Regardless of the type of meat you use, you will need to prep it for grilling by patting it down with paper towels on each side. This will remove the moisture from the surface of the meat, which allows your seasonings to stick and the meat to cook evenly across its exterior.
Seasoning the Meat
Meat should be seasoned prior to grilling (steaks in particular.) An easy steak recipe rub consists of crushed black pepper, sea salt and olive oil. The salt and pepper flavor the steak and the olive oil provides protection from the direct flame. Other seasonings can include your choice of flavored salts, fresh herbs or special spices. Remember, a nicely grilled steak requires very little seasoning, so don’t over-season your steaks.
Grilling the Meat
Once you’ve seasoned your meat to perfection, place it on the grill. On a gas grill, turn the flame down to medium to avoid flare-ups. Be aware that a lean cut of meat will be less likely to flare up than a fattier cut. An easy way to avoid flare-ups on a charcoal grill is to have a spray bottle handy. If there’s a flare up, squire a bit of water on the charcoal at the base of the flame. On a gas grill, close the lid and turn the flame down further. You can also move the meat out of the direct flame with your metal spatula or tongs.
Cook each side of your steak for roughly three to eight minutes (see steak grilling chart.) Poultry and pork generally take a bit longer to fully cook, and most fish takes only ten minutes total. This will create beautiful grill marks on each side and should fully cook the meat. For a well-done steak, leave it on the grill for a few minutes longer per side, but don’t overcook it. Once you’ve finished cooking your meat, pull it from the grill, and let it sit for about ten minutes. This allows the juices to properly distribute themselves throughout the body of the meat, which will add tremendous flavor and moistness. Be sure to close the lid on your grill. Charcoal will go out on its own, but be sure not to dump the ashes too early. If you’re using a gas grill, shut off each of the valves and the valve on the propane tank.
Your grilling session is finished, and it was a lot easier than you could have imagined. Now it’s time to crack open your beverage of choice, and enjoy the spoils of your grilling victory.