Posted: May 31, 2018 at 2:02 pm
We were finally able to open up our grill for the season over the Memorial Day weekend, and we had forgotten how good summer can taste (and smell) when it’s done right. However, we felt a little rusty, not to mention in a recipe rut, so we thought we’d do a refresh on tips for how to, and what to, grill this outdoor season.
All about the heat. You need to get the grill hot! Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to ensure you get it to the proper temperature (and to kill any bacteria). Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat. A properly heated grill sears foods on contact, keeps the insides moist and helps prevent messy sticking that can be so much trouble to clean.
The great debate. Whether or not to use a gas or charcoal grill is usually a personal preference, but it is one to spend some time considering. While neither is proven to be particularly healthier, gas does burn cleaner and can be better for the environment. Charcoal grills emit more carbon monoxide, contributing to increased pollution and higher concentrations of ground-level ozone. From a taste perspective though, many prefer the smokier, richer taste of food cooked on a charcoal grill.
Brush maintenance. Don’t just save the brush cleaning until the next day. It’s easier to remove debris when the grill is hot, so after preheating, use a long-handled wire grill brush on your grill rack to clean off charred debris from prior meals. Repeat immediately after you finish up with the meal.
Direct vs. indirect. Can’t decide how to cook your food on the grill? A good rule of thumb is if the food takes less than 20 minutes to cook, use direct heat; if it takes longer, use indirect heat.
Skewer style. Kabobs are at the top of our grilling favorites list, and we’ve learned that the meats will remain juicier for longer if they are gently touching one another on the skewers. Do NOT cram them on there though.
Grill pans are golden. We finally invested in one of these last summer. Grill delicate fish fillets and small foods such as chopped veggies in a perforated grill pan, which will prevent smaller, more fragile foods from falling through the grates.
Flavor gently. It can be tempting to be really strong in your application of dry rubs, but be delicate. If you rub seasonings hard into the food, you can damage the texture of the meet, and maybe over season.
Our summer grilling to do list.
Hot dogs and hamburgers are regulars in our grilling routine, but this year we’d like to change things up a bit. We’re going to start with a few of these recipes.
Vegetables often get sidelined when we’re grilling, but this year we want to put a new focus on them. We’re looking directly at these Grilled Carrots with Cumin-Serrano Yogurt, as well as this Grilled Broccoli with Avocado and Sesame, three of our favorite ingredients.
While we are on the topic of side items (though it isn’t that unusual for us to have a plate of vegetables for a meal), we’re also dying to try this Grilled Cornbread with Jalapeno Honey Butter!
These Grilled Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs will make a lovely accompaniment to all of the above, and will also encourage us to put a cut of meat on the grill that we usually eschew in favor of chicken breasts.
While we do a lot of fish on the grill, we don’t often cook shrimp there. That means we need to try this recipe, for Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Garlic & Lemon, pronto.
And finally, what would a grilling to do list look like without a new recipe for ribs? Based purely off the name, we’re going to give these Best-Ever Barbecued Ribs a try.
What are your favorite grilling recipes? Share with us in the comments so our to do list can keep on growing. Summer’s just get started, after all!