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Grilling Techniques to Save Your Ugly Grill

The Skinny:

Learn some tips that will make your food taste great no matter what shape your grill is in!

The Breakdown:

We’ve all seen a truly ugly, nasty grill. A grill that’s riddled with rust, black gunk and an exterior so sad you know that the poor grill is crying on the inside and outside. Who wants to make food on something that looks old and busted?

For some die-hard Enthusiasts, you can’t escape the call to grill. No matter the situation, no matter the grill. The flame beckons, and meat must be cooked.

Any grill, no matter how ugly, will always bring out the strengths and weaknesses of the grillmaster. Here are some tips to remember to make your food taste great.

  • Clean the grill. One of the best ways to avoid an ugly grill is to clean your grill, after each use. Clean your grill before and after every grill season. Clean your grates. That nasty black gunk is not seasoning. Believe in the power of a great cleaning brush. No brushes? Foil and tongs work just as well.
  • Preheat the grill. Give your grill enough time to get to the appropriate cooking temperature. Even if you’re using a gas grill, let the grill warm up for at least 10-15 minutes. You want your grates nice and ready for the fixin’s you’re about to make.
  • Use a chimney starter. Leave the lighter fluid alone. ‘Nuff said.
  • Cook food at room temperature. Get your food ready for the big show. Cooking cold meat makes it more difficult to get the internal temperature of the food just the way you want it. Why make things harder for yourself?
  • Use the lid. Your grill gets hotter when the lid is closed. You can control the temperature of your grill better when the lid is closed. When the lid is closed, the heat that’s cooking your food comes from the bottom and gives your food a nice, toasty hug.
  • Cook with zones. Arrange your heat in zones for direct (where food is directly over the coals or gas burner) and indirect cooking (when the food is around or near the highest source of heat). You have better control of how your food cooks when using the indirect cooking method, and can more likely avoid burning your food to a crisp.
  • Use oil. To avoid food sticking to your grates, use oil. While there’s debate on whether you should oil your grates or just oil your food, use oil.
  • Don’t mangle the meat. Let the grill do its thing and cook the food. Meats usually will only need to be flipped once. Don’t press down on burgers or any other meat, which will push the juices out and all that juicy flavor is wasted.
  • Use a thermometer. The most accurate way to make sure food is done is by checking the internal temperature. Instant-read digital thermometers work best, but there’s nothing wrong with old-school thermometers.
  • Let food rest. After the food has reached its desired internal temperature, let it rest. The juices are redistributed throughout the meat, giving you a juicier, better tasting meal. Remember that resting time depends on the thickness of the meat. The thicker the meat, the longer the rest.

Until next time, Enthusiasts. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but a stomach can’t deny perfectly grilled food. Stay beautiful.

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