The smell of the sear, the sound of the sizzle, the taste of barbecue goodness!
A sure-fire sign of spring is when the neighbourhood wafts of steaks, burgers, and grilled fish on the barbecue. Grilling is about more than the smoky taste that briquettes or charcoal can provide, sometimes its less about the meal itself and more about the men socializing around the grill telling tall tales of the best cooked salmon and top tips on getting the best sear. It’s the cold drink, the friendly banter, and the fresh air that makes the experience unique.
Uncover that grill and let’s get ready for some spring/summer grilling fun
Always start with a clean grill. Even if you forgot to clean it after the last meal, you can still get it ready for this one. Preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes and then clean off the grill grates with the right tool/brush. It is easier to clean the grates of a hot grill, and gets the residue off from last night’s supper.
Gather your tools
Before your food is grilling, organize all your tools so you’ll be able to tend to the grill and not risk burning the food while grabbing supplies. Avoid cross contamination by using clean tongs and plates, and washing cutting boards after they’ve held raw meats. Your hands count as well. Always wash hands after touching raw meat.
Season your grill
If this is your first grilling session of the spring, it’s a good idea to season the grills before your first seasonal cook. To season, preheat the BBQ, brush off the residue, then oil the grills to prevent food from sticking and to season your grill. Repeat this every fifth time you BBQ. How do you oil the grids on a hot grill? Grab an oil-soaked paper towel with long-handled tongs and rub the oil soaked towel over the grids. Once it’s oiled, heat them for approximately 30 minutes. Now your grill is ready.
The secret to the good sear? It’s all in the pre-heat. Giving your grill time to warm up is what creates the perfect space for a properly seared crust that you can follow to a perfect pink (or red depending on preference) centre.
Marinate! Especially when cooking meats. Marinades infuse your meat with flavour and add that extra kick that’s sure to impress.
Use a meat thermometer
The neighborhood BBQ experts will tell you the best way to tell if meat is cooked, is to cut it open and check coloring. Some think it’s all about how it squeezes in your tongs, but truly the only surefire way to be sure your meat is cooked properly is to check its temperature. Overdone and underdone can be avoided by checking the temp. Don’t cook meat past its goal temperature: 165 degrees for ground poultry; 160 degrees for ground red meats or mixtures and fresh pork; or 145 degrees for red meat steaks or chops.
Don’t stop at the meat. It’s a big grill, use all of it and load it up with your entire meal. Vegetables in a grill basket, potatoes, even fruit kabobs can be grilled. Toss veggies with oil and seasonings then add to the grill basket.
Give it a rest
Before cutting into your steak with friends and family, give it time to rest. Five or 10 minutes is plenty of time to build your guests anticipation and allow the meats temperature to regulate. This rest time will allow the meats juices to disburse within instead of pouring out all over your plate. Cut a well rested steak open and the juice will stay exactly where it should, in the meat.
Get creative with grilling this season. Try new recipes, try fruit on the grill, invite friends to enjoy your cooking efforts as well!