Grilling is one of my favorite pastimes. Whether you're in the back yard with your deluxe gas grill or on the balcony with a hibachi, grilling is one of the most enjoyable ways we can think of to experience the summer.
I've created this great grilling guide to help you kick off your grilling season. So, read on, dust off the grill and get ready for the sizzle of the BBQ or Grill.
Barbecuing is NOT Grilling!
Grilling is cooking over direct heat, usually a hot fire for a short time. Barbecuing is cooking by using indirect heat at low temperatures and long cooking times. It is the smoke from the wood gives barbecue its unique and delicious flavor. Barbecue cooks have individual preferences about the proper meats and sauces to use, which differ from region to region. The various seasoning methods produce different results, and can be divided into three main categories: rubs-wet and dry, marinades, and sauces.
Although barbecuing is one of the oldest cooking methods on earth, remember that the rules are not set in stone. Use these guidelines as a base, and then create some classics of your own.
Brush your cold grill with oil or spray to prevent sticking during the cooking process. Use one-gallon zip-lock plastic bags to marinate up to 1 pound of meat or vegetables in 2 to 3 cups of marinade; seal, remove the air, set bag in a large pan or baking dish and allow to marinate, refrigerated. Turn marinade bag occasionally. Delicate items like some fish and chicken should not be marinated more than two hours refrigerated.
Glass baking dishes or non-metallic pans work well for marinating too. Avoid aluminum completely, which will interact with some acids in the marinade. Try not to use soft plastic or rubber containers, since they tend to pick up odors very easily. Trim excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups; knife cut fatty edges to keep meat from curling around outside edges.
Groom The Grill:
Use a wire grill brush to loosen stuck-on food particles, then spray, or wash with hot soapy water. When you're ready to grill, rub the grid with canola oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray (as mentioned above) to prevent food from sticking.
Fill a plant mister or spray bottle, with 7 parts water and 1 part white vinegar; use to spray grill when flames flare up only if you're unable to separate coals that will automatically stop flares and cool down grill. Do this sparingly to keep ash off foods and it is NOT my favorite way to cook.
Preheat gas grills at least 15 minutes. Charcoal grills, light at least 35-45 minutes before intended use, and allows heating for a good 15 minutes.
The Right Heat:
When you roast or bake, you know when to add the food, based on the oven temperature. When you grill, you can estimate the temperature, too. Hold your hand, palm side down, about six inches from the coals. Count "one thousand one, one thousand two," etc., until the heat is uncomfortable and you have to pull your hand away. If you can keep your hand in place for:
2 seconds -- it's hot, about 375- F or more
3 seconds -- it's medium-hot, about 350 to 375- F
4 seconds -- it's medium, about 300 to 350- F
5 seconds -- it's low, about 200 to 300- F
To Flavor Your Barbecuing: add aromatic hardwoods, such as Hickory, Alder, Mesquite or Oak chips. Also chunks of aromatic fruitwoods, such as Apple, Cherry or Grape vine cuttings. Soak your chips or woods chunks in cold water for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes or longer, then add to hot coals or on top of you gas grill heat bars. Start grilling when grill temperature stabilizes at around 300 degrees Fahrenheit.