Yeah, yeah…the title may be a little tongue in cheek. Of course, I’m not suggesting that girls are the only ones who can grill. In fact, I know there are a ton of women out there who deem the grill as the “man’s territory”. Heck, no! I want to inspire you to don your most stylish checked apron, grab a pair of tongs and settle on the back patio for a long summer of burgers, steaks, kebabs and corn on the cob. These are some of my best tips for honing yourself into the meanest, leanest grilling machine. By the end of the summer, your husband will be begging for a turn to wield the tongs. I don’t want to start any marital spats, but I have a feeling you won’t be willing to relinquish control.
For those of you who live in Utah, I’ll also be talking about some of these tips and making my Grilled Mushroom Sliders with Cilantro Almond Pesto on Studio 5 (NBC) this Monday, in the 11am hour.
Now let’s move on to those tips.
How to: Grill Like a Girl…My Best Tips
1) Learn how to turn the darn thing on Last summer, I wrote about the fear I used to harbor of blowing up the neighborhood by lighting the grill. Fear of propane can be a powerful thing. Ultimately, I got over myself and asked my husband to teach my the tricks of the trade. I wrote a detailed step-by-step on How to: Turn on a Gas Grill.
The response to this post was fantastic! I received comments and emails from grilling virgins who bit the bullet and turned on their grills by themselves for the first time.
Thank you so much! It is September now that I finally have found this article, but I just got the grill turned on for the first time myself!!! Yeay! Now the ribs are cooking away and I can’t wait for next year!
I did it! Thank you…had no clue.
Now get out there and turn that darn thing on!
2) Preheat the grill If you are a baker, you know the importance of preheating the oven to the desired temperature before popping in that batch of cookies. It insures even cooking, and adherence to the recommended baking time. Grilling is no different. Turn on your grill, close the lid and preheat to the desired temperature. This typically takes 10 to 15 minutes.
The ideal temperature depends on what you are grilling. Usually, however, you want to achieve a sear on your steak, chicken or ribs. Not only will searing over high heat produce those picture-perfect grill marks, but it also helps to insure that much of the meat’s moisture is sealed in.
So, how do you do this? I preheat my grill to 500 to 550 degrees F. Screeching hot! Then I turn off the middle burner to produce an effect called indirect heat. Place your meat on the hot part of the grill, cooking it for about 2 to 3 minutes per side to achieve a good sear. Then move the meat to the cooler part of the grill until it is cooked to the desired temperature.
3) Clean and oil There is more than one reason to clean your grill. The first is obvious – no one likes to find chunks of leftover charred meat sticking to their perfectly grilled steak. The second reason is just as important. Cleaning the grill will help to avoid the meat from sticking to the grill. Once the grill is preheated to the desired temperature, give it a good scrub with your grill brush to remove any unsavory bits.
Before placing the meat on the grill, give it a brush with some oil. It’s best to choose oil that has a high smoke-point, such as canola or grapeseed oil.
4) Forks out, tongs in You know those enormous American Gothic-sized fork that comes in every grilling set? Toss it! As tempting as it may be to turn your flank steak with that fork, there is one very important reason you want to avoid that at all costs. When you pierce the meat, you release the juices. If the juices are now dripping into your barbecue, they are no longer inside of the meat, which means you will end up with dry, chewy meat. Butch, your bulldog, may approve but your guests probably won’t. Use your tongs to do any necessary turning.
5) Step away from the grill! Okay, I’m not saying that it’s just men that do this, but…well, you guys may be guiltier of this one than most women grillers. You know who you are. You know that tendency to continuously open the grill to take a peek at the steak or those sizzling burgers? The peeking then turns into flipping. I promise, it’s not necessary to flip the steak five times (once is enough, my grilling friends) or to randomly move it around on the grill. Peeking also leads to the ol’ spatula press on the burgers. *Gasp* (Spatula press = leaking juices)
The more you lift the lid and peek at the grill, the further the temperature drops. Not only will this add to the total cooking time, but it also stops the meat from cooking evenly.
6) Let it rest The smell of that grilled meat is wafting to your nose and it’s all you can do to resist ripping into it with your teeth. Believe me, I get it. However, if you can just curb those carnivorous tendencies for a mere 10 minutes before cutting that meat, you will be rewarded with a much juicier product. That short resting period allows the juices of the meat to redistribute throughout the entire cut of meat. If you cut into it too soon, you’ll find that all the juices will run higgledy-piggledy onto the cutting board, rather than staying in the meat.
If you have any tried and true grilling tips, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.
Now, get out there, take control of those tongs and get grillin’ like a girl!
I’m sharing this in Tidy Mom‘s I’m Lovin’ It round-up this week.