Tips to Grill Everything Perfectly
We all love that smoky, savory goodness wafting from the backyard in the summer. Needless to say, grilling brings about a taste and aroma that you can never achieve with other cooking methods, and there’s just something so primal about cooking food over the blazing charcoal. While most of us think that grilling is as simple as throwing a slab of meat over the heated grates, there are some lesser-known secrets to grilling everything perfectly.
Picking the Right Meat
The first step to ensure grilling success is choosing the right meat. You want that perfectly marbled steak and opt for chicken breasts over other chicken parts. Fresh salmon and seafood make a lot of taste difference over grilling stale ones.
Using the Right Grilling Equipment
You can use a gas grill, charcoal grill, electric grill, or some of the best pellet smokers on the market depending on your grilling needs.
Aside from the grilling equipment, you also want to make sure that the grates are clean before you use them and you have a meat thermometer to guide you in achieving the proper temperature for cooking the meat thoroughly and killing bacteria. For food safety reasons, steaks should be cooked at a minimum of 140 °F regardless of preferred doneness, chicken at least 165 °F, and lamb and pork at least 145 °F.
How to Grill Every Type of Meat
Given that you’ve picked the best piece of meat and your grill is all clean and ready to use, you can now start grilling almost everything to perfection, without breaking a sweat.
The secret to getting that eye-catching brown grill marks is to sear any type of steak before it hits the grates. When searing, make sure to place the steak over high heat and let it render a nice brown crust before you actually grill it. Cook the steak over direct heat, cooking 5 minutes each side and flipping only once. When cooked to desired doneness, transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for a while. Cut against the grain or serve whole – it’s your choice.
If done right, grilled chicken should turn out succulent with a delicious smoked twist. If done wrong, you’ll end up with chicken that’s dry and tough. The best chicken parts to grill are the breasts. Here’s how you can do it:
- Marinate chicken breasts first in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and your favorite fresh herbs.
- Chicken breasts typically cook well at 180 °F, 10–12 minutes.
- Flip them halfway through the cooking time and baste with marinade or sauce 10 minutes before grilling is over.
Burgers are quintessential things to grill. Grilling the perfect burger begins with the preparation. First, you don’t want to add anything to the patties because you want their natural flavors to come out. Next, you want to mix the patties with a fork instead of using your hands, so they don’t get too overworked. Grill the patties over direct heat for at least 3 minutes each side. Be careful not to press down on them, though, as you grill or you’ll lose all those delicious juices along the way.
Grilled fish can seem daunting because a lot of things can go wrong. They’re easy to overcook, and the meat is prone to falling apart when you attempt to flip it over. To stay away from these disasters, you need to make sure that the grates are clean and well oiled when you grill some fish. And when it’s time to flip, use the spatula to adequately handle the fish from underneath and successfully flip it over without the meat falling apart.
Perfectly grilled pork chops are flavorful, chewy, and juicy. To achieve this:
- It all starts with a dry brine. Sprinkle salt all over the chops and let sit for at least an hour, allowing the meat to absorb the salt and consequently keeping its interior moist.
- Next, sear the chops as you would sear a steak to get that nice brown crust.
- You can then grill them over direct heat with the lid closed at 145 °F for medium well and at 170 °F for well done.
- Each side needs at least 5–8 minutes to grill before flipping over.
- Once done, you can serve the pork chops as is or add a layer or two of your favorite sauce or rub.
Grilling can sometimes get daunting. There’s the apprehension of burning the meat or getting it too dried out that it has lost all its flavor. You may also worry about achieving the correct doneness. But sometimes, the simpler the steps, the better the results. Don’t try to overcomplicate the grilling process and your meat should come out perfectly grilled.
Now, heat up the grill and take out your favorite beer or wine. You’re about to become a grillmaster!