Howdy folks. over the past two weeks we’ve touched on some basic grilling techniques and have added a couple of recipes to help develop them.  Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques in order to hone your skills.  Practice makes perfect and sometimes the best results come from mistakes…

This week, I thought that I’d answer some of the most FAQ that I’ve received over the years.  I’m hoping that they’ll clear up any misconceptions or doubts you might be having, as well as reinforce some general ideas about your grilling.  So let’s do this…

Q – Do I need to clean the cooking grates every time I use the grill?

Yes, you should clean your grill each and every time to remove any residue left on the grates which could cause your food to stick.  Food releases much easier from clean grates, which will also lead to more impressive grill marks on the finished product.  You don’t have to do a deep clean of the rest of your grill each and every time that you use it, but you should do a thorough detailing once a month.

Q – Do I need to oil the cooking grates before grilling?

This is an interesting question.  I’ve often seen TV grillers tell us to use a paper towel soaked in olive oil on the grates before cooking, which is fine (so to speak) but the oil will drip through and may cause flare-ups on both charcoal and gas grills.  I prefer to oil the food (add a little oil to the product during seasoning) prior to grilling.  Oiling the food helps it to release more easily as well as reducing the amount of oil wasted on the grates.

Q – When should I grill with the lid on?

You should grill with the lid on as often as possible.  Closing the lid helps to keep and distribute the heat evenly, cooking both the top and bottom of the food simultaneously. The bottom of the food always gets more intense heat because of the flame, but the lid helps to reflect and circulate hot air to the top. Remember, our grill is basically an oven with an open flame.  We keep the oven door closed throughout cooking, so try to do the same with our BBQ.  Also, remember that foods tend to dry out with the lid open.

Q – How do I know when my meat is fully cooked?

The best way to determine if your meat is fully cooked is to insert a thermometer into it.  Bacteria thrive and survive in temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Farenheit (4 and 75 degrees Celsius) we have to ensure that the internal temperature of our meats exceed 145 degrees Farenheit to ensure that the meat has been fully cooked.  That is the basic, however people want meats done to varying degrees of doneness (especially when it comes to beef)

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As with anything else, experience will enable you to have a greater knowledge and understanding regarding the doneness of your meat.  You will get to know the amount of grilling time required to properly cook your food and remember, turn your heat down after grilling the presentation side.  You may need to cook food indirectly for part of the cooking process to ensure that you don’t overcook your meal.  In the event that you have overcooked / burned the meat, you can try to salvage by placing into a pan of liquid and indirectly cooking for an additional 10 minutes in hopes that the liquid will work into the overcooked meat and help to infuse moisture back into it.  In my opinion, undercooking beats overcooking – you can always throw it back onto the grill to finish (similar to seasoning your food – you can always add, but you can never subtract).

 

With summer quickly approaching, let’s grill some tomatoes

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes contain vitamin C, which can help fight off cancer.
  • Vitamin C also helps keep skin looking healthy.
  • Tomatoes have high fiber, which is good for people with diabetes.
  • Consuming tomatoes can help reduce a person’s blood pressure.

 

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recipe provided by myrecipes.com 

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette

  • Ingredients: 3 yellow tomatoes.
  • 3 red tomatoes.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar.
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs.

Directions

  • Cut tomatoes in half; thread onto skewers, alternating between colors.
  • Brush tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350° Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes, turning skewers often.
  • Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and basil; drizzle over kabobs. Garnish to finish.
  • Makes 6 servings.

 

Until next week, Happy Grilling!