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Thursday, May 19, 2005 

Grilling Tips

Lifehacker comes through with more food related tips. Today they link to an article giving a few tips on grilling meat. As summer is almost here, they're very timely. My biggest gripe about being in an apartment building now is that I can't grill. I don't have a deck. Unfortunately, the article doesn't have any tips in that regard for me.

The tips are from a site called A Work in Progress and titled "Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong."

1. Flip Early, Flip Often. This is the big shocker. It was hard to imagine doing this at first, and when I told people, they thought I was crazy. Think about it this way: you want a juicy steak, right? Or juicy chicken, or hamburgers, or whatever. The juice is nothing more than the blood in the meat. When you put the meat on the grill, there is more heat below the meat than above. The heat forces the liquid up, through the meat. Ever see a big pool of liquid on top of the steak when you lift the cover off the grill? It's been on too long. You don't want it to come out of the steak, you want it to stay in the steak. So you flip every four or five minutes. Sometimes I flip every two or three, depending on what else I'm doing. Flip it before any liquid has a chance to escape out of the top. Repeat often. Flip, flip, flip. It really works. And if you think this takes a lot of time and concentration, you're right. There's time enough for socializing later. Do you want to grill an excellent steak or not? Okay, then. Concentrate.

If you do nothing else, try this the next time you're grilling.

2. Rotate. There are probably different "hot spots" on your grill. Especially if you use charcoal. Instead of overcooking one steak, undercooking one, and getting two "just right," rotate 'em so they each get a chance to be over the hot spot, or the cold spot. It's almost assembly line for me, especially if I'm cooking a bunch of wings. I'll take whatever is on the far left of the grill and, when I flip it, I'll move it to the far right. Then I shift everything over to the left. This will give all the meat equal opportunity to cook.

Again, you could probably stop here. The next one takes some practice, but it's worth perfecting.

3. Testing for Doneness. This really does take practice. Tap on the meat with your spatula, tongs, whatever. The meat gets less fleshy (loose) the longer it cooks. Tendons tightening and whatnot. Hold your hand loosely and push at the base of your thumb. Now spread your fingers apart and feel the same area. Feel the difference? With practice, you'll be able to tell when the meat is medium, or medium rare, simply by pushing against the meat with the tongs. Took me awhile to get the hang of it, with a lot of sliced open practice steaks to help me see how done something felt. Basically, the less give there is, the more it's been cooked.

here are two more numbered tips and another page of smaller tips. The posts are apparently almost three years old, but the timing is right for them to be released again.

Great tips!

I do a little grilling at a local restaurant and it's amazing how much shit I take for doing these things.

Until they sit down to eat.

Keep 'em comin'!

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