Grilling everything perfectly requires far more than just simply throwing your food on the fire and hoping for the best. Certain foods need cooking differently, or you might want some things more tender and juicy than others. The chicken you might not want to burn, but you want it crispy. You want a tender steak, but don’t want to undercook it. We have a few tips to help you achieve all of these delicious grilled meals in no time.
Direct and indirect heat
A lot of people don’t realize that there are differences between direct and indirect heat, but there are. It all comes down to the temperature and length of time you cook something for. Each different method will give you completely different results, so stay tuned. Direct heat is placing food directly on the source of heat, and the lid of the grill is usually left off. This method is best for thin foods, such as sliced meats and veggies.
On the other hand, indirect heat is used for thicker pieces of food, like steaks and certain fish. Indirectly heated foods are cooked off of the heat, with the lid closed. This method takes slightly longer, but it is so worth it. If you remember having a barbeque in the summer, this is the most traditional form of indirect heat cooking.
A key instrument for grilling is a thermometer. It will tell you exactly what temperature you’re dealing with when cooking. However, if you don’t have one to hand, don’t worry – you can quite literally use your hand. Don’t panic, we aren’t going to tell you to touch any hot objects. Instead, place your hand roughly 6 inches from the source of heat. Count how many seconds you can keep your hand there, and this will tell you vaguely how hot it is. Remember: high heat is around 3 seconds, medium-high is 5 seconds, medium is 7, medium-low is 10, and finally low is 12 seconds. These are all very vague measurements, and if you want to know precisely, definitely grab a thermometer.
Length of time
Time is essential when grilling. There is a very fine line between a moist pork chop and tough shoe leather. Depending on the exact thickness of what you’re cutting, the texture, the age, and the starting temperature, things will cook at different times. Don’t assume that two cuts of the same meat will cook perfectly at the same times. Make sure to follow the recipe well to know exactly how long to cook certain things for.
Other handy tips
Make sure to remember a few of these tips too when you begin to attempt grilling. Ensure you prepare all of your desired ingredients before you begin grilling. If you know exactly what you’re doing, this will make the whole grilling experience far less manic. Along with this, make sure you don’t cross-contaminate. You could cook the best food you have ever tasted, but be sick afterward. Keep raw meats and fish away from any other food you might be cooking. Try to avoid wooden chopping boards, as they can retain meat juices, so grab yourself a plastic one instead. Plastic chopping boards are far easier to clean and more hygienic.
Remember, enjoy your food! You will have worked hard to cook it, so you need to take time to enjoy it. Once you have grilled a few perfect meals, it will all become second nature, and you’ll be cooking the best barbeques on your street in no time.