Grilling is a lean way of cooking that brings out the rich, intense flavors when the meat, poultry or fish is pleasantly charred. It is an excellent way to cook the more tender cuts of meat, as well as most vegetables that benefit from high direct heat. But adjust the heat source, and you can also grill a butterflied leg of lamb, a large bird or a whole fish.
The flavors of grilling will vary depending on whether you are cooking with wood, charcoal, over a gas flame or on a grill pan. But all methods have the advantage of being a low fat method of cooking since the fat drips away as the item is cooked.
Beef, lamb, chicken, pork and seafood are very good for grilling. Searing the outside of the meat is an important part of grilling technique to concentrate the juices inside. Do not pepper before grilling, as pepper is likely to burn at the high temperatures associated with this cooking method, and thus should be applied after cooking is complete to prevent bitterness.
Preparing the grill:
Whether an outdoor, indoor, or stovetop grill, it is important to keep your grill clean to avoid any bitterness being transferred to the food. And remember, rust is toxic. Also, food cooked on a dirty grill is more likely to stick. Using olive oil or vegetable oil, rub or brush the surface of the food to be grilled before placing it on the grates Scrub the grill with a wire-bristled brush after cooking is complete, while the grill is still hot. To clean a gas grill after use, turn the burner to high for five minutes after you have finished cooking to burn off the grease and other drippings.
Allow plenty of time to preheat the grill . A charcoal fire takes 30-45 minutes to reach the proper cooking heat after you light it. The coals are ready when 3/4 of them are coated with ash. To test the heat level of a charcoal fire, place your palm at the cooking level. If you can keep it there for 2 seconds, the fire or coals are hot; 3 seconds, medium-hot; 4 seconds, medium; 5 seconds, medium-low; 6 seconds, the heat is low.
Never leave the grill alone when you are cooking food.
The basic techniques for grilling are:
- Make sure your grill is clean and very hot
- Trim excess fat from the meat to avoid flare-ups.
- Bring meat, fish or vegetable to room temperature before grilling.
- If items have been marinated, dry them well.
- Lightly coat the surface of the item being cooked with oil or butter, not the grill.