Grilling season is in full swing. Here are six tips to help you enjoy not only the food, but also the process.
- Clean the grill while it is still hot.
This may seem like it should be the last tip, but it’s good to be thinking about cleaning from the very beginning of the process. I’m a big believer in doing things the easy way, and a grill is much easier to clean, particularly if you have a sturdy brush for removing residue from the grill rack, before the grill has cooled and that residue has decided to “stick around.”
- Position the grill at least 10 feet away from the house.
This helps prevent fires and also limits fumes from entering the dwelling.
- You’re there to do a job.
True, grilling should be fun, and chances are there will be other people—perhaps lots of other people—around. Resist the urge to “entertain.” Focus on the task at hand—which areas of the grill are hotter, how long a piece of meat or poultry has been cooking, and so on. Undercooked food can be saved; overcooked food can’t.
- Chicken tip. (Warning: Do not attempt to say that phrase fast three times, particularly if you have a glass of wine nearby.)
The great fear when grilling poultry is that it will be undercooked. For that reason, many people will move it to the hottest section of the grill—which generally results in a well-cooked outside and a possibly still-undercooked inside. Slow and steady is the best approach to grilling chicken, with medium heat recommended.
- Sear first, ask questions later.
When you sear meat on both sides, you cut way down on the possibility of it sticking to the grill. Once it has a nice char, it can be moved to a not-quite-so-hot area to cook.
- Bone up.
There are lots of great grilling books on the market, and two of the newest provide a master’s course on the subject. For technique tips, pick up “Where There’s Smoke,” written by Barton Seaver. And for great recipes, get a copy of “The Grilling Book from Bon Appetit” (Andrews McMeel).
Tomorrow: a great recipe for the grill that does not involve meat, plus wine-pairing suggestions.