Summertime and the living is easy. It’s time to fire up the grill. And grilling isn’t just for meat anymore, either. You can do virtually all your cooking on the grill so get outside, no more spending your summer evenings in a hot kitchen, why not plan to fix your meals on your deck or patio? Grilling adds no extra fat to your food, takes no more time than conventional cooking, and best of all, clean up is a snap. If you’ve never tried your hand at grilling, it’s time to learn this great American cooking technique. Remember, any food will taste better grilled, be adventurous, even try fruits such as pineapple, peaches or even watermelon!
With a gas grill, it’s a lot like a gas stove – turn on the gas and light it. Most gas grills even have temperature settings so there’s no guesswork. Charcoal’s a little trickier, but doable if you know the secrets. For one pound of meat cooked with the direct-heat method (smack over the fire), a good rule of thumb is 30 briquettes. For the same amount of meat using slower indirect heat, you’ll need about 50 briquettes.
If you inherited your grill and have no instructions, here’s a time-honored method to determine temperature: hold your hand palm down over the fire about six inches above the coals. Count in seconds how long you can comfortably hold your hand there: 5 mississippis: 200-300 degrees Fahrenheit; 4 mississippis: 300-350 degrees; 3 mississippis: 350-375 degrees; 2 mississippis: 375 and above.
l Arrange food at least ¾ “ apart for even cooking.
l Keep children and pets away from the grill when it’s in use.
l Set up your grill on a flat even surface.
l For gas grills, don’t store extra gas tanks under or near the grill.
l Don’t wear loose, flowing clothing when working with fire.
l Use nonstick cooking spray on grill racks, but don’t spray it over the fire, which can cause flare-ups.
l To prevent charring, which adds carcinogens to your food, trim excess fat, put on sauces near the end of cooking time, use the higher racks of your grill and keep your grill clean and well-oiled.