Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Grilling 101 | Family Economics
We all love grilling! Here are a few simple truths about grilling that will help you this summer.
The Basics of Heat on the Grill
• When grilling, you need to understand the two different types of heat that exist on your grill. Depending on the size and shape of your grill, and the location of the heat source, the grill can generate both direct heat and indirect heat.
• Direct heat can be found directly over the heat source and is best for quickly searing meats, such as chicken or pork, to seal in their juices. If you cook too much over direct heat, your foods can turn out burned, dried out and too tough to eat.
• Indirect heat exists in the other portions of the grill, not directly above the heat source. This could be on the upper rack on the grill. Or, it could be a section of the grill where the heat source directly below is not turned on. It is used for cooking meats for longer periods of time, like a beef roast or pork loin. It can also be used for hot dogs or perfectly browned marshmallows for s’mores (if you are not roasting them over a fire!)
• For most cuts of meat, I recommend cooking over direct heat for a few minutes on each side, then transferring the meat to a location with indirect heat to finish the cooking process. Your food will turn out perfectly moist and delicious with just the right amount of smokiness and the perfect “grill marks.”
Marinating and Brining
• While grilling meats naturally gives them a bit of smoky flavor, marinating and brining meat like chicken, pork and seafood before grilling can really vamp up the flavor of your meal. I recommend marinating the meats overnight in a large Ziploc® Brand Bag in the refrigerator. This will allow the marinade flavors to penetrate deep into the meats.
• Brining meats will cause the meats to be extra moist and delicious after grilling. You can create a brine by mixing salt with water and soaking the meat for at least two hours in a shallow dish in the refrigerator. The salt water softens the meat so the meat remains extra tender as it cooks.
• When you spot a sale on boneless skinless chicken breast or ground chuck, that’s the time to grab a few extra packages and grill them right away. Once grilled, you can slice and dice the chicken and freeze in two cup portions. When you need some delicious, smoky chicken for a pasta salad or a Caesar salad, you’ve already have some ready-to-eat stored in your freezer. Just let it thaw and warm it slightly before serving.
• The same concept applies to grilling burgers in bulk. Pick up a few extra trays of ground chuck when it’s on sale and grill 20 to 30 burgers at once. Once cooked and cooled, they too can be frozen in smaller bags of four to eight burgers. Perfect for a quick lunch for the kids, or for an extra hot evening when you don’t feel like standing by the grill!
Do you have a secret grill tip or trick to share with us?