Grilling, just like any other type of cooking, is an art form. And never let anyone put your grilling down, especially if they can’t do it themselves! Unlike conventional cooking, grilling is a combination of the stove and the oven. You have direct heat coming up from the gas burners or the charcoal. Then you have indirect heat that fills the grill like an oven when the lid is closed. Also, grills have more heat and less control. With an oven, you can set the temperature to the exact temperature you want. With a grill, you can either turn it on, or light a match to start the charcoal, and the heat keeps rising. Most gas grills can reach 500 degrees in just a few minutes. This is one reason why you can’t just “set it and forget it” when grilling.
Managing heat, both directly and indirectly, is the key to grilling. While it’s easy to cook food very quickly on a grill, you want to make sure you flip the food to cook it evenly and thoroughly. If you turn the food too quickly the food can turn out dry and tough, but if you don’t cook the food enough, it can be raw and disgusting. The secret is rotating the food only when needed. When you’re cooking a steak or a hamburger, get your spatula down low right by the grill. Be careful not to burn yourself. Then, slowly lift up the corners of the meat or burger. You’ll notice lines on the meat from the grill starting to create dark black lines, now it’s time to flip!
Knowing when its time to turn and when things are cooked is the whole skill of grilling (and what makes great chefs). Just about everything else is recipes, how good the food is, and basic cooking knowledge. This is the hardest thing to teach, especially over the internet, in text form. Ideally, a steak will be turned once, but this is very hard to accomplish. If the steak is thick (more than about 1 1/2 inches) you may need to turn it three times to get it cooked through and to the center of the steak.
The best way to learn (and eat great food) is to start with the easier foods. Purchase smaller steaks and move up as you feel more confident with your grilling skills. The same goes with hamburgers, start off around half an inch thick, then move up. This will help you learn what parts of the grill to use, the correct temperatures, and timing for cooking your meals. As your confidence grows, so will the meals you are able to grill.
Here are our 10 rules:
- Rule 1: Clean your grill after each meal. Nobody wants to eat off a dirty plate, your grill is your kitchen.
- Rule 2: Use oil or cooking spray, especially when cooking foods with little fat and oil. But keep in mind not to apply cooking spray or oil when the grill is lit, this can be very dangerous.
- Rule 3: Give yourself time, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither should your meal. Plan out everything and don’t rush.
- Rule 4: Don’t walk too far away from the grill, you don’t want to burn your food!
- Rule 5: Before cooking, try cutting off the fat. Fat can cause flare-ups and burning your food.
- Rule 6: Don’t add too many marinades or sugar substances while grilling, these can cause flare-ups and ruin that great grill taste.
- Rule 7: Your grill is hot, keep it away from anything flammable and small children.
- Rule 8: If you want to marinade or spice up your food, do it before cooking.. Let it sit for a good hour, the flavor will soak into your meats.
- Rule 9: Make sure you use the proper tools when grilling. Nobody should bring a knife to a gunfight, grilling is the same way.
- Rule 10: Everybody loves grilled food, make sure you always make more than enough for everyone.