National Grilling Month: Helpful Guidelines For Grilling

  1. Marinating Your Food

 

Marinating your food before moving it to the grill is a great way to get more flavor into the food and really, tie the whole meal together! There are a few things to consider when you’re getting your flavoring ready to marinate.

Meat

There’s a common misconception that if you marinate food for a long time, it will automatically make the meat tender. In most cases, marinades only absorb into the outer ¼ inch of the meat! If you’re looking to allow your marinade to tenderize your meat, you’ll need to use an acidic base, like Apple Cider Vinegar, to help tenderize the meat.

Add more flavors and seasonings to the acidic base to kick the flavor to the next level!  But be weary of time. With an acidic marinade, marinating too long can make the meat very tough. Here are some basic guidelines for different types of meats.

Most meats only need 2 hours for proper absorption but

Chicken, Beef, Pork

Poultry can marinate up to 2 days while beef, pork, lamb, and veal can be marinated for up to 4 days.

Fish and Shellfish

Seafood is “delicate” so only marinate f0r 30-60 minutes before cooking.

 

Vegetables

Vegetables aren’t as “vulnerable” as meats but soft, tender vegetables like mushrooms and squash marinade the best. Others are better to just lightly season with oil, salt & pepper, to keep the integrity of the vegetable and flavor.

A Sample Marinade:

  • Acidic vase like vinegar, wine, citrus juice, yogurt
  • Olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • Salt, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce
  • Aromatics like onion, garlic, and/or ginger
  • Herbs and spices
  • Optional: red pepper flakes, hot sauce, chili sauce, buffalo sauce

 

  1. Cooking to the proper temperature

When it comes to cooking food to the proper temperature, there are a few general rules that will help you cook your meats and vegetables to the perfect temperature.

Steaks

Steak can be intimidating because cooking them to the preferred temperature of your guests can be a bit of an unknown. However, using a thermometer will help you cook your steak to the perfect temperature, every time!

Try to keep the grill around 350 degrees and add your meat directly over the fire. Flip the steaks over after about 60 seconds [thicker steaks, wait roughly 2 minutes].

Rare: 120-125 degrees
Medium-Rare: 130-135 degrees
Medium: 140-145 degrees
Medium-Well:
150-155 degrees
Well-Done:
160-165 degrees

Chicken

Again, keep the grill around 350 degrees with the lid on. The temptation with chicken is to want to “mess” with it, or continually flip it, but avoid this! Let the grill and the temperature do it’s thing! Your chicken will cook more evenly and will cook more efficiently.

Fully cooked chicken will have an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Pork

Pork can be challenging because it’s very easy to overcook pork! Pork, like steak, can have a variety of internal temperatures based on the preference of your friends and family.

However, it’s typically best to cook pork until the internal temperature is 145 degrees.

Medium-Rare: 130-135 degrees
Medium: 140-145 degrees
Medium-Well: 150-155 degrees
Well:
160-155 degrees

Fish

Flakier fish may be a bit challenging when putting them on the grill. Having foil, or some other grill protectant can come in handy. If you don’t have either, lemon slices can help maintain a barrier between the grill and the fish, and will add additional flavor!

Fish should have an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

  1. Taking Care Of Your Grill

Before using your grill, use your brush and do a quick once-over to remove any residue left over from your last use. To help avoid a sticky grill, use a cooking spray with a high-smoke point, or some other oil with a high smoke point to the grill before use.

Once you are done with grilling, you should burn off the residue for 10 minutes. Afterwards, use your long bristle brush and scrub them then let the grates cool down. Use a spray bottle filled with a mixture of water and vinegar and wipe the grates using a rag.

 

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