Easy Grilling Techniques for Beginners
Grilling is a fast and easy way to cook tasty meals. Great recipes will not produce great meals without the necessary techniques for grilling. You need to know the different grilling methods and the different types of food. This way you customize your grilling techniques to match your recipe and desired results. Here are techniques that you will need to start and master the art of grilling.
1. Know the kinds of grilling methods
There are two types of grilling:
Direct grilling – It is the most basic cum popular method of grilling. The method involves placing food over direct heat to cook. The heat source (wood, charcoal, gas, etc.) is high and best for searing. Sear the meat on both sides to trap the flavors and then transfer the food to indirect heat. Direct grilling is ideal for small pieces and tender pieces that cook within a short time.
In-indirect grilling - you grill you meat over indirect or reflected heat. It entails placing the chops over direct heat sauce and keeping the lid shut. The temperature is lower than that of direct grilling to allow the meat to slow-cook like it happens in the oven. The method is ideal for large cuts of meat that take longer to cook. Some foods require that you grill them over direct heat first before grilling them in indirect heat. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can opt for one grilling method only.
2. Set up your grilling space
Organize your grilling space. Have a table for your working space next to your grill, where you will place your ingredients, utensils, and tools. Grilling is a fast way of cooking, and you do not want to mess it up by moving around. Have a clean working space and separate utensils for raw and cooked food to avoid food borne diseases.
3. Have enough fuel
You want to have enough fuel (especially with charcoal) to sustain grilling from start to finish. This will avoid the heat from going low before you finish. Replenish the coal as needed and ensure it burns until the coal turns ash grey before you set up your food on the grill.
4. Create heating zones
Whether using gas or charcoal for grilling, you will need to create two zones – the hot direct heat and the cooler indirect grilling zone. Most grills have a large surface that allows you to create these zones. Transfer your food from the direct heat side to the indirect side to prevent it from overcooking, burning, and to keep it warm. Different zones allow you to cook separate meals simultaneously.
5. Preheat your grill
Do this for 15 to 20 minutes before you begin grilling to appropriate temperatures and destroy microbes. High temperatures will loosen pieces of food from the previous grilling so you can easily brush them off. Preheating prevents food from sticking on to the rate and raises the heat for proper searing.
6. Keep your grill clean
Use a stainless steel brush to remove any pieces of food that stick to the grill’s grates. Ensure that no grease is left on the grates. A clean grill will prevent food from sticking.
7. Oil the meat
Many people oil the grate, but you will get better results when you oil your food. The oil will stop the food from sticking and help retain the food’s flavor and moisture.
8. Keep the grill lid shut
It is quite tempting to keep opening and checking on the results, but this is unnecessary. An open grill allows heat and moisture to escape, and this may dry your meat. Open the grill only once when flipping. Work with the right degree of temperature and timing, and you will get excellent results.
9. Maintain a steady temperature
Grills feature a design that allows you to control heat. You can attain a consistent heat by using a good source of heat (charcoal, wood, and gas) and proper venting. Gas grills have control knobs that you use to regulate grill temperature. You can create grilling zones and quickly change from direct to indirect grilling.
10. Manage the flame
Flare-ups will occur when grilling fatty meat, but too many of them will char your food. To avoid fires, limit the amount of air that goes into the grill by keeping the lid shut. If the flare-ups are uncontrollable, you can place your meat over indirect heat temporarily until the flames are out before you continue grilling. Avoid using a spray bottle; it can blow ash onto your meat.
11. Flip your food
If you let your food cook on one side for a prolonged time, it will char. Flip your meat to prevent burning. The number of times you flip will depend on the food and the size of the chop. Fewer flips will result in juicy meat.
The duration you take to grill your meat will depend on the amount of heat, size of cut of meat and your preference. For starters, trial and error will help you determine the best time. However, with experience, timing becomes easy, and a timer is handy. You can assess the meat color and juices or use a thermometer to determine the doneness of roasts and whole poultry.
13. Flavoring your meat
You can flavor your meat by using rubs or marinades. A marinade is a wet mixture of oils, spices, wine, herbs, and such ingredients in which you soak your meat to tenderize and infuse flavors into the meat. Rubs entail a combination of dry seasonings, spices, and herbs that you rub dry on your meat before grilling. For best results, rub or marinate in advance before grilling. Marinate your meat under refrigeration. You can do rubs at room temperature and grill as soon as you finish rubbing. Marinating with oils helps keep the meat moist while rubs often produce meat with a nice crispy crust. Start simple with the spices of your choice.
14. Do not clean the grill immediately
While this sounds inappropriate, you should not clean your grill after cooking. Leave the oil on the grates. The oil layer protects you grates from environmental factors. Clean the grill the next time you use.