What do you think of when I say the words “summer grilling”? Sitting out on the back patio? A daunting steel grill? Men with giant slabs of meat?
While traditionally men have been considered masters of the grill, there’s absolutely no reason that women can’t be flame masters! Heck, maybe some of you already are! But for those of us who might be new to summer grilling, below are a few easy tips to ensure you can wow your friends and family with delicious and healthy grilled perfection this summer.
Preheating—and Prewarming—Are Key
First, you never want to just throw your meat right onto a cold grill! Always preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes to make sure it’s nice and hot.
You also don’t want to throw meat straight from the fridge onto the grill! Let your meat sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before putting it on the grill (this does not apply to poultry; keep that refrigerated right until you grill it—salmonella is not our friend!). If you throw it on the grill right from the fridge, it’s going to be cold and it will take longer to cook—and the longer it’s on the heat, the tougher it gets!
Also, before you put your meat down on the grill, cover it with a thin coat of oil. The meat will release from the grates when it’s ready; if it sticks, it’s not ready yet! If you want to get that cool grill mark, turn the meat at a 45-degree angle.
It's All about the Seasoning
Season your meat generously with salt, pepper, and rubs—especially if you’re dealing with big juicy steaks. A good rule to follow is to salt your meat twice as much as you think is actually needed.
To Cover or Not to Cover?
Whether or not to cover your food really depends on the thickness of the food you’re cooking. If the food you’re cooking is 3/4" or thinner (think slices of zucchini or baby asparagus), keep the lid off. If it’s thick-cut steaks, pork chops, or a chicken breast, you’ll want to close the lid to take advantage of a grill’s convection heat.
In addition, if you open the vents on your grill, it’s actually going to burn hotter than if you keep the vents closed. So if you need to cool your grill down, keep the vents closed.
Removing and Slicing the Meat
Your meat will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the grill, so you’ll want to remove it a few minutes before it’s actually done. After you take it off the grill, put it on a cooling rack. This will help preserve those cool grill marks you achieved—plus it allows the air to circulate underneath the meat so it doesn’t have to rest quite as long.
You’ll want to wait about five minutes before slicing so the juices have time to settle back into the meat.
The Beauty of Skewering
If you want to get dinner on the picnic table a little faster, consider doing kebabs, cutting down on the total cook time needed.
- You don’t need to soak the skewers first; you can if you want, but it’s not necessary.
- Use two skewers and thread the food onto both so that it lies flat. This will prevent the food from curling.
- Leave some space between the food so hot air can circulate around and the food will grill evenly.
- Cook meat and vegetables on separate skewers—if you cook them on the same one, the vegetables will burn before the meat is done.
You can find plenty more tips and tricks for successful grilling with a simple search on the Internet. But for those grilling newbies, this is a great place to start! Impress all of your friends this summer with your mad grilling skills while still achieving your summer health goals.
And hey, if your man feels bad about no longer being the grilling master, just give him his Prime, pat him on his back, and ask him to make a salad because you’ve just grilled a delicious meal…