7 Grilling Habits to Break
09.30.2019 Meat Tip Monday
It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year: tailgating season! Whether you’re grilling at home or outside the stadium, don’t let yourself fall into bad grilling habits that will be difficult to unlearn. In this blog post, you’ll learn seven of the worst grilling habits and how to finally break them.
1. Not Cleaning the Grill
Cleaning the grill is a lot like folding laundry and washing dishes, no one wants to do it but it has to be done. Although it’s easy to put it off to the last minute, get into the habit of cleaning the grill after you finish cooking. This new routine will pay off in the long run as it’s easier to brush off fresh residue than it is to scrub baked-on crud that’s been sitting there for days.
2. Using Lighter Fluid
Stay away from lighter fluid if you can help it. Not only will the kerosene permeate your food, lighter fluid is also dangerous. There’s always someone at the tailgate party that thinks it’s funny to squirt more lighter fluid just to watch the fire flare up and burn off their eyebrows.
We suggest a chimney starter as a better alternative. Simply use a match and a sheet of newspaper to get 100 charcoal briquettes glowing in 20 minutes. With practice, you’ll soon be able to produce certain temperatures using a chimney starter.
3. Leaving the Lid Open
Much like holding the fridge open lets all the cold air out, leaving the grill lid open allows the heat from the coals to escape. Opening the lid also exposes the briquettes to whatever wind that may be present. Wind can not only affect the temperature of the grill, but can also blow ash onto your food. By keeping the lid closed, you can make precise adjustments to the temperature by opening or closing the air vents. When you open the entire lid, you loose control of the grill’s temperature.
4. Grilling Cold Food
When you take a steak from the fridge directly to the grill, the steak is going to take longer to cook because it’s cold. By the time the center of the steak is to your liking, the edges will be burnt to a crisp. It’s essential to let your steaks (or whatever you’re cooking) to come to room temperature before placing them on the grill. Set your steaks on the kitchen counter for about 30 minutes while you set up your grill, light the chimney starter, and let the coals reach the perfect temperature.
5. Applying Sugary Marinades Too Early
Marinades with a large amount of sugar will start to burn on the grill, causing a smoky, blackened crust on your food long before it’s fully cooked. Avoid coating your food with a marinade before grilling, instead brush it on during the last few minutes. This allows enough time for the marinade to caramelize, but not enough for it to burn.
6. Improperly Arranging Your Charcoal
Instead of distributing your coals evenly across the grill, place them on one half of the grill and leave the other half empty. This is called a two-zone fire which creates a hot zone and a cool zone, allowing you to cook both steaks and veggies at the same time. Start by placing steak directly on over the coals and when they’re nearly cooked, you can move them to empty side of the grill. Place veggies over the hot and cool zone divide to slowly grill and rotate as needed.
7. Overcrowding the Grill
If every square inch of your grill is occupied, you’ve got nowhere to move food from a hot zone to a cool zone. Loading too much food at one time on the grill can instantly lower the temperature and increase your food’s cooking time. To prevent overcrowding, leave at least 30 percent of your grill space open. Depending on the amount of food you’re cooking, you may need to grill in two shifts which will be better in the long run.
Do you have any of these bad grilling habits? We hope you take our suggestions on how to break these habits just in time for tailgating season. Stay tuned for more Meat Tip Monday blog posts and remember to give your grill some TLC!