Outdoor grilling is a time-honored tradition, but there are a few things to remember to make grilling a success. Grill safety, proper cooking conditions and the right cuts of meat all combine to make your party a delicious experience.
When it comes to safety, remember the basics:
- Operate the grill on a flat, level surface.
- Keep the grill at least 5 feet away from the house.
- Don’t leave an active grill unattended.
- Turn off a gas grill once the food is done cooking.
- Wash your hands after placing raw meat on the grill.
Creating the ideal grilling conditions is key to getting the most out of your meat. If you’re running a gas grill:
- Cook thin cuts of meat on direct heat for short amounts of time with the lid open.
- Cook thicker cuts using indirect heat with the lid closed. Cooking times get longer for thicker meat such as t-bones or porterhouses.
- If you need to get a lot of food cooked quickly, select filets, skirt steak or other thin cuts that you can get on and off the grill in short order. The thinner cuts are often less expensive, so you get savings in both time and money.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, the most important thing you can do is get the coals burning properly. Your charcoal grill should be started with the coals spread evenly. Light them and let the coals burn until they are white. Then you can cook with confidence, knowing the grill is as hot as it should be.
When you bring your uncooked meat to the cooking area, make sure it doesn’t touch any other food. Raw meat should be kept separate from other uncooked food, especially sides and other items that won’t be placed on the grill. When you are done grilling for the day, don’t forget to let the grill cool down before you try to clean it; you’ll find it much easier to deal with when the cooking surface is just as cold as it was before you lit the grill.
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