Ten Commandments to perfect grilling
Make sure you have everything you need next to the grill before you start grilling — this means food, rubs, marinades, sauces, tools, water, cloths. When the heat is on, you don’t want to go looking for something you need. These are our top 25 barbecue accessories essential to getting you grilling like a master
Gauge your fuel.
There is nothing worse than running out of charcoal or gas when you’re in the middle of a cook. When cooking with charcoal, make sure you have a spread of glowing hot charcoal that is at least 2 inches wider than the cooking area. This ensures that heat is distributed evenly and that there are no ‘cold’ spots. Uneven heat distribution can result in unevenly cooked meat.
Preheat grill to the right temperature.
Grilling is a high heat cooking method. The grill needs to create a well-seared crust and grill marks of a master. You can only achieve this with high heat. How high is high? Ideally the temperature should be around 620 F when using the direct method. A charcoal grill is ready when there is a layer of grey ash over the burning coals. To test whether the fire is ready for cooking, put your hand a couple of inches above the burning coals. If you need to pull your hand away after 2 or 3 seconds, it means the fire is ready for a perfect sear. Every grill master has an internal thermometer as a secret weapon in their box of tricks.
Keep it clean.
There is no excuse for a dirty grill. Nothing is as unappetizing as bits and leftover pieces scattered over the grill before you even start cooking. Grills in restaurants are usually spotless before the cooking starts for the day, and so should yours. The best way to clean a grill is when it has been pre-heated. Take half a lemon and rub it all over the grill. Lemon juice is a powerful natural cleaner and disinfectant, and great for cleaning grease and oil. Then simply scrub the grill with a scraper, or use a piece of aluminium foil or a bristle-free grilling brush. Ideally you want to do the cleaning before the guests arrive.
Keep it lubricated.
An unlubricated grill is a sticky grill. Unless the fire is extremely hot (and probably too hot for cooking), the meat will stick to the grate if it is not kept properly lubricated. Quickly rub the grill with some olive oil by using folded paper towels or a brush, before you put the meat down.
Turn, don’t stab.
Grilling is an art, so don’t stab your masterpiece with a fork, or worse, a knife to turn the meat. Use grill tongs or a heat-resistant spatula to gently turn food over until it is cooked to perfection.
Know when to baste.
Bastes with oil, citrus , vinegar and yogurt can be used to baste throughout the cook. Never use a baste that has been used on raw meat or for basting chicken. This can potentially ruin the taste of the basting. When marinading the meat, set aside enough to use as the basting while cooking. Sugar-based marinades are usually used at the end of the cooking. The sugar burns quickly and will leave a beautiful black char if used during the cooking process. Baste the meat right at the end to caramelize the sugar into a coat of crispy deliciousness.
Keep it covered .
When cooking larger cuts of meat and poultry, you should always use the indirect method of cooking. Pre-heat the grill, keep the lid tightly closed and resist the temptation to take a peek every now and again. Trust your time chart and turn every 30 minutes if you have to. The lid helps to keep a constant temperature that will ensure a perfect result. Opening and closing it all the time will cause temperatures to vary, leading to a low quality cook.
Give it a rest.
Whether you’re grilling, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, or steak, always let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes on a cutting board before serving. This will give the juices and flavors a chance to settle and make for a tastier, juicier meat. You want to serve the meat while it’s hot and tender, so be careful not to let it rest for too long.
Never desert your post.
Grilling is an easy cooking method, yet it deserves your constant attention. When you put something on the grill stay with it until it is cooked, especially if you are using the direct method. When using the indirect method, set a timer to ensure you check on the meat at the correct times.
Above all remember to have fun!