Cook up some happiness with these helpful summer grilling tips!
Hot enough for ya? Summer heat is closing in, and you probably don’t want to steam up that kitchen any more than you have to. A better idea is to just toss something on the grill and call it a day —but, you might want to brush up on your grill skills first. Here are some summer grilling tips to help you keep your cool, earn compliments for your awesome chef "skillz," and make plenty of hungry bellies happy along the way.
Keep It Clean
Yucky grills make yucky meals. You don’t want your burgers to taste like last night’s fish. Ew. Clean off the grates in between uses with a sturdy metal brush. It’s best to do this when the grill is nice and hot.
Fill a spray bottle with water, and keep it handy! This will allow you to spritz flare-ups without interfering with heat. Too much char is not your friend.
Buy a Meat Thermometer
It’s almost impossible to gauge the temperature of the meat by touching it. Most of us need help from a $10 meat thermometer. Check out this meat temperature chart, and keep your culinary masterpieces as safe as they are delicious.
Don't Flip Out
The less you flip your food, the better (once is ideal for most meats). If meat is actually stuck to the grill, just leave it alone and let it cook more. When it’s ready for flipping, it should release easily.
Avoid the Cold
Unless you’re searing fish (which should always be kept cold), room temperature is best for grilling. Take the meat out of the fridge for 30 minutes before tossing it on the grill, and you’ll have much more evenly cooked results.
Let It Rest
Here’s the secret to juicy meat: let it rest undisturbed after cooking it. The bigger the piece of meat, the longer the rest time. For best results, don’t slice it for 5-15 minutes.
Food will continue to cook after it leaves the grill. In fact, food temperature will actually rise about five degrees off the grill, so plan accordingly. No one ever won a BBQ ribbon for a piece of dried-out, overcooked meat. Remember ye olde food thermometer? It's your best summer grilling tool. Use it!
Try Not to Squish
It’s tempting to squish a burger on the grill, but just don’t do it. You know what happens when you do? You lose all that juicy flavor, moisture, and necessary fat. If you have to squish something, go squeeze a few limes and make a Mojito. Now we’re talking.
Keep It Simple
Grilling is supposed to be easy and relaxing, especially if you’re serving a crowd! Don’t stress yourself out by trying to cook a bunch of different things. Just chill, keep it simple, and offer plenty of interesting side dishes that you made ahead of time.
There, that sounds better already. Now, crack open a beer (or sip that Mojito), focus on one perfectly-grilled main dish, and pat yourself on the back for taking summer in stride.