The sun is out and summertime is on the horizon. Memorial Day Weekend kicked everything off once again this year, but it’s time to break out the aprons and the grills. Some will claim that being a grill master is a “lost art” and this generation is forgetting the techniques of those that came before us. While that debate is for another piece, there are steps you can take to improve your outcomes when standing over the hot fire. These three rules are a great first step in that direction.
Cleanliness. Cleanliness. Cleanliness.
Sanitation during the grill process is important. Clean everything that is involved with the meal. Start by scrubbing down the grill with a dry scrub pad or brush, using grill cleaners that are available at most major retailers. Scrub down all the utensils as well, even if you have a special grill set that is only used when grilling. Make sure every item in that set is clean before each use. It’s an important safety tip that will ease your heart and potentially the stomachs of everyone involved.
Preparing the Meat
Keep everything in separate containers. The best bet is to buy a set of disposable foil containers, one for each type of meat you plan on cooking. Make sure those are separate, disposing of them once the meat is removed to make sure they are not used again. This is done to avoid spreading any germs to any of the meat.
This also means using separate utensils when manipulating the meat for seasoning or to move to the grill. If you have any sauces or spice containers that accidentally touch the raw meat, then you can’t use them any more in the meal – they must be thrown out. Again, this is a major step to ensure the food is safe during preparation.
On the Grill
Now comes the hard part. Everyone wonders when the best time is to turn the meat over or remove it from the grill entirely. The answer is the food thermometer is your friend.
The first step is getting the grill to approximately 225 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature to keep meat varies based on the type of meat. Beef, pork, lamb, veal, and fish should reach 145 degrees. Hamburgers, ground beef, poultry, and pre-cooked meats should reach between 160 and 165 degrees. Once the food is done, keep it in a covered container so it stays warm, and refrigerate all leftovers.
Just like any other skill, grilling takes practice and practice. Grill at home for yourself before breaking out your skills for larger groups. You and everyone eating your food will benefit from getting the reps.