Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Expert Grilling Tips for Better Outdoor Cookouts

See if some of these tips add flavor to your future barbecues.

1. Let It Be

Patience may be a virtue, but it’s not practiced all that often at the grill. According to celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, you should avoid testing the food the minute you put it on the heat, which includes picking it up to see if it’s done on the bottom, moving it around and turning it over every 10 seconds. Flay suggests putting the food down and giving it time to cook. This gives the food a chance to sear on the bottom so that it naturally pulls away from the grates. If you try moving food before it’s seared on the bottom, it’ll definitely stick.

2. Preheat Poultry

When grilling chicken, you can save a considerable amount of time and fuel (gas or charcoal) by first partially cooking the chicken in a microwave oven. I admit this is controversial among grilling purists, but it’s also a good way to avoid the old charred-on-the-outside, raw-on-the-inside problem common to chicken. The point here isn’t to cook the meat completely in the microwave, just to heat it up enough so that it cooks more quickly and evenly on the grill.

3. Go to the Basket

Delicate foods, such as sliced vegetables and fish fillets, are difficult to grill because they tend to fall through the cooking grates. However, you can easily solve this problem by using a grilling basket or grid, which you place directly on the grill.

Grilling baskets are sort of wok-shaped and have flat, square bottoms and slanted sides. Grilling grids are flat, rectangular pans that resemble cookie sheets. The surfaces of both baskets and grids are perforated with dozens of holes or slots, which allow the flames to grill the food.

4. Forgo the Fork

Every time you pierce meat with a fork, moist juices flow out, and you run the risk of ending up with a steak as succulent as an old catcher’s mitt. So, forget the fork and pick up a pair of tongs to lift and turn meat. By using tongs you’ll not only get juicier steaks, chops and chicken, you’ll also gain much more control when moving meat.

5. Wait Before Slicing

There’s nothing quite as enticing or tasty as a big slab of grilled beef. However, most backyard cooks are an impatient lot—me included—and they start slicing into the meat the instant it comes off the grill. Big mistake. According to Steven Raichlen, award-winning chef, recommends that you let grilled meat rest for 3 or 4 minutes to allow the juices redistribute and thicken. If you slice into grilled meat too soon, all those moist, tasty juices will flow out, leaving the meat dry and chewy. This wait-to-slice rule should be observed for pork, lamb, chicken and other meats, too. (And if you’re slicing into your meat before it comes off the grill to check for doneness, that’s even worse. Use an instant-read thermometer instead.)

Source: Popular Mechanics

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