Outdoor grilling is as American and football and apple pie. Who doesn’t love a nice, hot steak right off the grill? In order to get the most out of this tradition with as little mess as possible, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
Clean Your Grill: Before you even turn on your grill, make sure it’s clean first. Food scraps and debris left on a grill can affect the taste of what you’re grilling, so be sure to thoroughly clean the grill before cooking. To make life easier, you should always clean your grill after every use, before any grease and food scraps have a chance to harden and stick to the grill. Be sure to wait until the grill has cooled before cleaning. The racks can be cleaned with any dish soap designed to fight grease and the surfaces can be cleaned with a mix of baking soda and water.
Use Cooking Spray: Spray your cooking area with a non-stick cooking spray prior to grilling. This will prevent whatever it is you’re grilling from sticking due to heat when you try to flip it or take it off the grill. If you don’t spray your cooking area, you run the risk of your meat tearing when you remove it from the grill. This will cause the meat to lose a lot of its juice which will cause it to dry out much faster.
Don’t Alter the Temperature While Cooking: Be sure the grill is at the desired temperature before placing any food on it. If you allow the temperature to fluctuate while cooking, it can result in your food drying out or burning. If you’re using a charcoal grill, wait for the fire to go down and the coals to turn from black to gray before placing your food on the grill. This will ensure a steady temperature and also allows most of the lighter fluid to burn off into the air and not into your food.
Cut Back on the BBQ Sauce: Don’t cover your meat in barbecue sauce before putting it on the grill. You don’t want to ruin the meat’s natural flavor. Also, most barbecue sauces are high in fat and sugar. Fat and sugar burn very easily so putting too much barbecue sauce on your meat can cause it to dry out or possibly burn. Instead of slathering on the barbecue sauce, it’s best to marinate the meat before you grill it. If you must use barbeque sauce, apply it to the meat shortly before removing the meat from the grill. This will prevent drying out or burning.
Don’t Poke Holes in the Meat: Resist the temptation to constantly poke holes in the meat to check if it’s done. This will cause the meat to dry as a result of its juices leaking out. In addition to drying out the meat, poking holes can cause grease to build up at the bottom of the grill, making cleaning up after the meal that much harder.
Be Safe: Never leave a hot grill unattended and be sure to let it completely cool after cooking before storing it. Also, once the meat is cooked, be sure not to put it back on the same plate or handle it with the same utensils used when it was raw. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria that was present on the raw meat.