While technically defined as “a method of cooking over a direct source of heat that comes from below”, I call grilling “convenient cooking in the great outdoors”. I love it when grill or barbeque season finally starts. Aside from the mess and smells being kept outside, the food just tastes so GOOD! Grilling is also considered a healthy way of cooking because much of the fat drips off into the fire, leaving you with a leaner piece of meat.
Basically all meats and poultries can be cooked on a barbeque, but here I am going to give you some basic tips to get you started on the road to great grilling. Be sure to check out my all new recipes from Mishpacha Magazine listed on the bottom of this article!
1. Preparing the grill:
There are many different shapes, sizes and types of grills. Ranging from a small disposable pan filled with charcoal, to large sophisticated gas grills, all grills are easy to prepare and maintain.
Preheat the barbeque, making sure it is very hot, so that the meat will get seared on the outside and the juices will stay in. If using a gas grill, leave the hood down/closed for about 10 minutes to burn off all excess residue and to get the grills nice and hot. If using charcoal, make a nice pile about the diameter of 75-80% of the total grill space, a couple inches high, and light with a match. Allow the coals to all catch, turn red, and stop emitting flames. Once most coals are glowing red and are silver/gray, you’re ready. Whether using gas or charcoal, always spray or brush the grates with oil to avoid sticking (there are special high heat sprays made for grills).
2. Prepare your meats:
While you are waiting for your grill to heat up, take your pieces of meat and tenderize them using a tenderizing hammer. Trim away any excess fat from the chicken to prevent flare-ups. It is important to note that it is best to brush the meat or poultry with BBQ sauce only during the last minutes of cooking. The sugar in the BBQ sauce will cause it to burn quickly if it is on the fire for too long. Simply season your meat or chicken with salt and pepper if desired, and rub lightly with a bit of olive oil. Lay the meat down on the grill and do not move it until grill lines/brown caramelization occurs on the entire surface. Turn the meat over using a spatula. Try not to use a fork as this punctures the meat and allows the juices to escape.
3. When it’s done….
Remove the meat when it’s almost done to your liking. A steak will cook a little after you remove it from the grill or oven, so stop broiling when the steak tests slightly less done than desired.
Use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the steak. Thermometer readings should be: 120°F to 125°F for rare; 130°F to 135°F for medium rare and 140°F to 145°F for medium. Or, if you don’t have a thermometer, you can also test the meat or chicken by sticking the sharp edge of a knife into the centre to check if the juices are clear, but don’t poke too much or the juice will escape. You can also test the level of doneness by pressing the meat with your finger. Rare meat will be soft and wobbly, medium will have a springy firmness, and well done will feel very firm and unyielding.
4. Cleaning your grill:
Use a stiff grill brush to clean off anything stuck to the grates. A crumpled piece of aluminum foil will work as well. It is always best to leave the grill on high for 10 minutes with the lid closed to clean it fully and burn extra residue left over.
Points of interest:
– When the fire is lit and very hot directly underneath the piece of meat you are grilling, it is known as direct grilling, which is the standard grilling technique, with the food cooking at a high temperature that will sear the food.
– Indirect grilling is cooking on the part of the grill that is not directly on top of a heat source. This section is where you can keep your dinner warm or cooking at a slower rate so it won’t dry out and burn if it’s not needed right away. Sometimes you can light only 2 out of 3 burners in the gas grills, or use the part of the grill that has less coal to create a section for indirect grilling.
– Also note that keeping the lid of the grill closed while cooking can speed cooking time to almost double.
– Never use the same utensils when handling the raw meats and then the cooked meats. You should use a separate spatula or fork to remove the cooked foods from the grill so as not to possibly spread bacteria or germs.
I hope this has been informative and helpful, and if you haven’t started grilling this season yet, now would be the perfect time to start!
Thes recipes originally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine.
Food Preparation for picture by Chanie Nayman
Food and Prop Styling by Amit Farber
Photography by Daniel Lailah