Basics of Grilling

grillingI’ve mentioned previously that I always let Ryan cook our meat – which also includes anything that requires firing up a grill. In an effort to be a little more self-dependant in the kitchen, I convinced Ryan to teach me his secrets. It turns out grilling is way easier than I thought, and now I feel comfortable throwing a piece of meat and some veggies on for dinner. Here are some basic steps for grilling a simple meal on a summer evening.

grilling4Prep your meats and vegetables before heading to the grill. Wash all veggies. For vegetables like zucchini and squash, cut into 1/4″ thick strips. For tomatoes, cut in half once. Coat in olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

DSC_3119Prep for meat will very depending on type. For chicken, remove the skin (the fatty areas). For steaks, dry the meat with a paper towel, season as desired.

DSC_3131Gather all supplies. You’ll need: charcoal (and vegetable oil + paper if you are using all-natural lump hardwood charcoal – a chemical free, natural alternative to match light charcoal), a grill brush, tongs, a rubber brush if you’re applying sauce, and a meat thermometer.

DSC_3126Open grill. Use grill brush to do a brief cleaning of surface. Remove top rack so you can insert the coals.

grilling2You’ll want them to be concentrated in one area in a pyramid shape.

grilling3If you are using lump hardwood charcoal, soak pieces of brown paper (paper grocery bags work well) in vegetable oil and set throughout coals. Light either paper or coals if you opted for match light and continue to keep grill open until coals have completely caught fire.

DSC_3154You may have to shift coals around slightly (using your tongs) to help them catch.

DSC_3153Once the grill has reached at least 250F degrees and coals are covered in ash, replace the top wire rack and close the lid. Allow the rack to heat up for a few moments. Scrub rack again with grill brush for a better clean.

DSC_3163Arrange food on cook top so meat is centered on top of direct heat (where you have placed your charcoal), and the vegetables/corn are in indirect heat (on sides away from coals works best). Vegetables will only need to cook for a few minutes, corn slightly longer. For chicken, if rubbing with sauce, allow meat to cook on each side a little before rubbing to prevent rubbing your brush over raw chicken (you don’t want to rub raw chicken juices on your cooked meat later on if you plan on repeating the rub). Turn periodically to allow chicken to cook through. If cooking steak, you will want to bring grill to higher heat (between 350F and 450F– lower temperature for thicker steaks, higher for thinner) for searing. Depending on how well done you want your steak, your time on the grill will vary. Sear on each side, Ryan prefers only flipping once, and depending on meat thickness, the time on each side will vary, but for rare you will bring the internal temperature to ~135F, ~140 for medium-rare, ~155 for medium, or ~165 for well done. Once meat has reached desired doneness, remove from heat.

grilling1For meat, this link provides a good guide for safe cooking temperatures based on type (chicken was 165F). Check meat continuously, and stick thermometer longways through center of meat to ensure you are getting the most accurate reading. Once meat has reached a safe eating temperature, remove from heat, and enjoy.



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