Father's Day Cookout: Beginner's Grilling
It's time to start your Father's Day planning! You may have a few gift ideas and activities in mind, but with the summer weather to enjoy, you'll likely spend the day on the back patio grilling. But not everyone is an expert at grilling and the only way to become an expert is by practicing outside the play kitchen. We can help you get started with 6 grilling tips for beginners.
Conventional wisdom tells us we should keep the grill next to the house so we'll have easy access to the kitchen, but it might not be ideal for every yard. When you're thinking about putting out your grill, think about where and how the smoke will flow through the air. You don't want smoke to billow into your house, so consider spots away from doors and windows, but close enough to the house that it's not a hassle to run into the kitchen to get gadgets you forgot. You also want to make sure to put it on a flat, fireproof surface, away from where the kids play.
Grease Your Grill
You don't have to douse your grill with grease, but lightly lubricating the grate prevents food from sticking. Fumes from cooking spray is dangerous so instead, dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and use tongs to rub the grate with your oiled paper towel.
The Right Temperature
If you're cooking meat -- particularly chicken -- you have to get the internal temperature correct. The best way for a beginner to check if something is done is by using an instant read thermometer. The safe internal temperature for chicken and ground meats and sausage is 165°F. Temperatures for red meat vary, depending on how well you like your meat cooked. If you don't have a thermometer, you can cut into the meat and decide what color you want your red meat to be. Chicken breasts are easy to check: if there's any pink when you cut into it, it's not done, but if it's white and you can see the grain of the meat, it's ready to eat. Dark meat on chicken is trickier. Generally, if you pull apart the bones, the joint will be brown if it's done. If there's any blood, throw it back on the grill.
Hot, Hot, Hot!
Make sure your grill is hot before you put any food on it. It can take up to 40 minutes for your grill to get as hot as you need it. Generally, gas grills take less time to heat up and they offer more control over temperature compared to charcoal grills. If you're using a charcoal grill, it should be hot enough when the coals are ashy. To make sure it's hot, hold your hand about an inch above the grate, if you can't stand the heat after two seconds, it's ready.
You don't have to be an expert griller to use rubs and marinades, but it helps. What you need to remember is not to overdo it. That means you shouldn't marinate your meat too long because it can make your food tough to eat. About 30 minutes for fish, 2 hours for poultry and overnight for beef and pork are adequate amounts of time for marinating.
Similarly, you want to go easy on rubs and salt. For rubs, lightly dust the meat with the seasoning mixture using a quick, gentle massage to get the best flavor and texture. For salt, remember to season just before cooking or your meat might be a little tough to eat.
You don't want to rush grilling. Patience is important from start to finish:
1. Don't lift the lid too much once your meat is on the grill. It slows down the cooking process and you'll have to wait a lot longer to bite into your burger if you keep checking on your meat.
2. Don't flip meat excessively. In fact, you should only flip it twice at most. Once you put your meat on the grill, try to leave it alone. Of course, you can flip it if it's not done cooking after two flips.
3. Give it a rest. Once your meat is done cooking, let it rest. This helps the meat retain its juices that make it flavorful and moist. For most grilled meats, about 5 minutes is enough time.