If you’re anything like me (American, alive, etc.) then you love summer grilling. For the next four to five months, grilling is sure to be top of mind when prepping for summertime (and fall!) meals for you and your family. Sure, burgers and dogs are great, but your grill has so much more potential than just the standard BBQ fare. Despite whatever your go-to choice is for your outdoor grill, here are a few tips and techniques that can keep your food tasting extra delicious as you take in and enjoy the hot summer sun.
A major must that many often neglect: let your meat come to room temperature before throwing it on the grill. For large cuts, remove it from the fridge an hour before grill time. For smaller portions, 30 minutes should suffice. Reaching room temperature ensures that your meat will cook evenly and uniformly, and will make it easier for you to reach your desired level of doneness.
Avoid BBQ babysitting. Most grilled meats only need to be turned a single time. Resist the urge to open the lid multiple times – the lost smoke may affect the flavor, as the temperature of the grill will plummet. The goal of any grilled meal is to keep the temperate consistent. Maybe there’s a side dish you could be double-teaming while your meats continue to cook? In addition, constant flipping leads to flare ups because of the fatty juices seeping down into the grill. Less babysitting equals less flame ups which equals less burning!
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When in doubt, use a meat thermometer. Don’t be afraid of undercooking meat. Simply buy a trusty meat thermometer and make your grilling process foolproof!
For bold, smoky flavors, add hardwood chips or chunks to your grill. Common woods you can use are mesquite and hickory, but experiment with cherry or apple wood too. Once you grill with wood and taste the flavor boosts it adds, you may never go back!
My personal favorite grill accessory? A grill basket! Many people don’t hesitate to reach for the ol’ skewers, but getting those kabobs together takes a lot of time and may be harder to marinate, too. I like to cut my vegetables large, pre-marinate them, and toss them all in a grill basket. This prevents them from slipping through the grates and makes for an easy flip when grilling. You can also grill shrimp this way (use extra-large sized shrimp to prevent them from falling through), or even crawfish. One basket, one flip – easy-peasy!
Always slice meat against the grain, this means slicing it crosswise through the grain, AKA, the lines of the muscle fibers. These fibers can be tough to chew. Slicing against the grain helps tenderizing the meat by shortening these fibers. Sure, it may not make much difference in that filet mignon you grilled to perfection, but for a tougher cut of meat like a skirt or flank steak or even a roast, it will work wonders. Pro tip: Doing this can even save an overdone hunk of meat, especially if you have a sauce or gravy to add before serving!
Starting up an oven indoors in the summertime will surely lead to a sweltering house (no, thank you!). Fire up that grill and start experimenting today.
Author Bio: Nick Caruso is the Senior Editor for RISMedia’s Housecall blog.