I’m teaching a lot of grilling classes this summer so I thought I’d share some grilling tips and tricks and important details so that everyone can become a better griller. Grilling can be fun, easy, and super delicious but it’s not fool-proof and definitely requires thinking and attention. Here goes…
Advance planning: At least an hour before grilling or even that morning, marinate meats (see recipes below) and chicken. I rub my steaks with olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper if I’m not using another dry rub or marinade. The salt, draws out moisture and begins to break down the tissue of the meat and therefore tenderizes it. Be careful though, kosher meat already has been salted so it’s definitely possible to add too much salt. If seasoning more than an hour ahead of time, place in the refrigerator (uncovered) until ready to use. Always grill room temperature meat.
Good Equipment: Grilling requires a few items, like tongs, a basting brush, a grill brush, a thermometer, hot pads, and a good spatula. Invest in the good stuff.
Choose your cut well: Ask your butcher to help you if you are unfamiliar with meat cuts. But remember that fat equals flavor. Steaks with even marbleizing, naturally bastes the meat as it cooks.
Timing: Use the time and temperature chart for best cooking results.
Indirect heat is essential: For gas grills, indirect heat is a great tool. I like to sear over direct heat for 2 – 4 minutes then move meats to indirect heat, cover the grill and cook “low and slow” to finish cooking, keeping the meat moist and tender. Alternatively, turn down burners and cook over lower heat.
Let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing, making sure the juices redistribute throughout the meat and do not end up on the cutting board.
Use a marinade for cheaper cuts of meat. I’m often BBQ’ing for large groups and that makes certain cuts just too expensive. I like to use flank steaks, minute steaks, split London broil, and skirt steak. These cuts grill well after they are marinated. The best marinades are made with a fat, like olive oil, an acidic element, like juice, or vinegar, and seasonings to deliver flavor. Best quality meats are excellent with nothing more than olive oil, salt and pepper. Spice rubs are great flavor enhancers too. Make a combination of any flavors you like and rub all over the meat. It creates a great crust when grilled. See recipes and suggestions below.
Oil or grease the grill: Everyone loves grill marks, nice brown ones, not black ones. Either spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray made for high heat or brush grates with oil. Your meats will not stick to the grill and the grease will create that perfect grilled appearance.
Don’t get distracted: Although grilling is so easy, don’t wander too far from your grill. You would be surprised how quickly the perfectly seasoned meat can become very overcooked.
Here is a guide
125 – 134 degrees Rare
135 – 145 degrees Medium Rare
Over 150 Well (well – don’t! That is a good way to ruin a good steak!)
Simply Great Grilled Steaks
Good quality grilling steaks
Kosher salt and pepper
Season a thick steak with kosher salt and black pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Light all grates in a gas grill on medium-high and then turn off one or more of the burners. Grease grates. Place steaks on direct heat (hottest part of grill) for 2 – 4 minutes, flip and sear on the other side.
Move to cooler part of the grill, cover grill and cook to your desired doneness, see cooking temperatures above. This will take 5 minutes to 20 minutes depending on thickness of meat. Let rest 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Grilled Steak with Rosemary Garlic and Onion Marinade
Teriyaki Chicken Marinade
Grilled Steaks with Peach BBQ Sauce
Dry Rubbed BBQ London Broil
Coffee Cajun Dry Rubbed Steaks
Thai Peanut Sauce
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce