Grilling is the ultimate cooking experience. With nothing standing between the open flame and your favorite foods, you can unlock flavors that just aren't possible to achieve inside the kitchen. Best of all, anyone can do it. It doesn't require any culinary expertise, and you certainly don't need a degree from Le Cordon Bleu. All you need is a reliable grill, a few simple tools, an assortment of your favorite meats and veggies, and a basic understanding of the key grilling tips and fundamentals. If your meats refuse to cook evenly on all sides, or if you just can't lock in the juices despite your best efforts, here are a few simple but effective grilling tips to turn your next barbecue into an unforgettable, mouthwatering feast.
Equip yourself with the right hardware. You may have the greatest grilling machine on the planet, but it won't do you much good if you lack the tools necessary to turn raw chicken breasts into sumptuous entrees. For starters, you're going to need a good pair of grilling tongs and an extra wide spatula. You'll also need basting brushes, preferably in multiple sizes to accommodate a wide range of foods. Finally, make sure you have plenty of space to work with. You don't want to be stuck balancing four tools in your hand while struggling to flip that T-bone.
Say no to sticky grates. We all understand the frustration of seeing our handiwork stick to the grates. You grip your chicken thigh with your tongs, pull it away from the grill and find that 20 percent of your meat is still clinging to the metal. To prevent this, rub the grates with a bit of vegetable oil before you start grilling. You can use paper towels to spread the oil along the surface.
Seal in the juices. If you're like the majority of home grillers out there, you probably cut into your meat to observe the color and determine if the patty is ready for the plate. Unfortunately, cutting the meat only allows the juices to pour out. Rather than cutting into the meat, try pressing it with your finger. It becomes increasingly firm as it cooks. With a bit of trial and error, you will quickly develop a sense for when your meats have achieved the optimal level of firmness.
Exercise patience. This is one of the simplest yet most universally broken grilling tips. Resist the temptation to constantly move, flip and test your foods. Place the items on the grill, and just let them simmer for a few minutes. Don't flip them until grill marks begin to form along the surface.
Bring on the smoke. You don't need a wood smoker to provide your meats and veggies with an intoxicating smoky essence. Try adding hardwood logs, briquettes or chips to your gas or charcoal grill to achieve a delicious smoky flavor.
Wait a few minutes before serving. If you cut or bite into the meat as soon as it leaves the grill, the juices will quickly come pouring out like water through a broken dam. If you wait about 5 minutes, the meat will actually absorb the juices, providing you with a much more pleasing flavor and texture.
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