If there’s one thing to get excited about with warm weather, it’s grilling. There is nothing quite like making delicious food in the great outdoors. Grills are pretty forgiving for the novice chef, but there are a few things you can do to take your grilling up a notch.
1. Place Your Charcoals with Care
If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure you lay your coals in a place that makes sense for how you’re cooking your food. If you need indirect heat, put the coals to one side and grill on the other. If you need a really hot grill, concentrate the coals in the middle and drop the grate down.
If you are doing a combination of cooking methods, put the coals in the middle and leave room around the edges. The grill will be hottest in the middle and cooler as you go towards the sides.
2. Use an Onion to Clean the Grill
A grill brush is a great tool for sure, but why not also impart some extra flavor? Cut an onion in half and use a fork to rub the ash off the grill. After you’re done you can cut off the ashy bottom and grill the rest of the onion.
3. Oil the Grill
No matter what food you’re grilling or how long you’ve been in the grilling game, anything can stick to a grill grate. To avoid stickage, take a paper towel with a pair of tongs, dip it in oil and rub the grates.
4. Make an Indent in the Middle of Your Bugers
Have you ever grilled a burger only to have it turn out like a meatball? You can avoid the plumping and make your burger more patty-like by making an indent in the patty with your thumb before cooking.
5. Double Skewer Your Kebabs
Whether you’re cooking shrimp, kebabs or anything on a skewer, make sure you run two through your food. This will ensure your food doesn’t spin around when you try and flip it. Also make sure to soak wooden skewers overnight to avoid a trip from the fire department.
6. Use Foil for Fish
If you are a confident griller with mad spatula flipping skills, definitely go for some fish on grill contact. But for us mere mortals, there is a good chance that a piece of fish is going to stick and break when grilled. Put the fillet on a sheet of aluminum foil or make a foil packet for an awesome steamed fish recipe.
7. Accompany Your Fish with a Grilled Lemon
On the subject of fish, cut a lemon in half and place it on the grill for a perfect complement to your meal. The juices start to caramelize and it gives great flavor to any seafood that could use a little acidity.
8. Start Grilling Your Salads
It seems a little odd to throw a piece of lettuce on the grill, but it is a delicious way to revamp the tired salad recipe. Cut a head of romaine in half and slather on your favorite dressing before cooking.
9. Whip Up Some Dessert
Grilling doesn’t have to be just a savory affair. Cut up your favorite fruits to put on the fire and serve with ice cream. Pineapple, peaches, strawberries and watermelon are all great fruits to try. Make a little balsamic reduction and you’ve got yourself a dessert fit for Ina Garten.
10. Soak Your Corn in Water
Corn and summer go together like grilled cheese and tomato soup. In the category of “make sure it doesn’t catch fire”, soak your corn with the husk on for about 10 minutes before hitting the flame.
11. Make a Makeshift Stovetop
Grilling is the best way to keep your house cool during the warmer months. If you have a few things to prepare on a stovetop, try doing it on the grill. You probably can’t boil water but if you need to melt some butter or make a sauce, grab a sauce pan and set it right on the grate.
12. Invest in a Thermometer
It’s often hard to gauge if a piece of meat is done on the grill since heat can vary depending on the type of grill and weather. If you want to be sure that you cooked your meat properly, get an instant-read thermometer. It will save you a lot of trouble and give you the perfectly cooked meat.
13. Let Your Food Rest
It may be hard not to dig into a steak or some chicken right off the grill, but you have to be patient or else all the juices will spill out. Give a piece of meat a little time to rest off the grill. It will finish cooking and redistribute its juices.
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