6 Grilling Mistakes to Avoid to Enjoy Better Grilled Meat
Grilling is an art form. Some cooks love grilling because it allows them to manipulate their food at a closer level than they might be able to in other cooking methods. Others love the control they get to exercise over their meal's appearance. Grilling gives a cook the power to change the look of a meal with just the right char here and some smoke-infused seasoning there.
If you are a grilled meat lover and enjoy the act of grilling, you should learn to avoid these common grilling mistakes:
Mistake 1: Oiling the Grill
The idea of oiling the grill to help keep food from sticking is widespread. However, greasing the grill does more harm than good. Oil tends to burn at high temperatures, creating a dangerous flare-up. Even worse, the oil can coat the grill so that it cools the metal, creating an uneven cooking surface. Instead of oiling the grill, consider oiling the food.
Mistake 2: Not Properly Preheating the Grill
While it's tempting to fire up that grill as soon as you get home, you might be doing your food a disservice. Often, a grill will require a little bit of preheating before you can get it to the right temperature.
Keep an eye on your grill's temperature when you first turn it on, and if you don't see it rising, let it sit for a while longer.
Mistake 3: Over-Marinating the Food
The problem with marinating is that it's hard to determine precisely how long the food needs to soak. Some cuts can soak for as little as 15 minutes, but it can take up to six hours for other cuts. The longer you marinate, the more flavor you'll get, but it can also lead to some soggy meat.
A good rule of thumb is to marinate for at least an hour. That window gives the meat enough time to absorb the marinade's flavor while keeping the meat moist.
Mistake 4: Repeatedly Opening the Lid of the Grill
Opening the grill lid can cause your grill to lose up to 75 percent of its heat. And while you might think you're a good multitasker by checking on your food, opening the lid will only ruin the food's inherent smoky flavor.
Don't open your grill lid unless you're planning on basting the food, adding new fuel, or flipping the food over.
Mistake 5: Guessing When the Meat Is Cooked
Grilling a steak or burger without a probe thermometer is always a gamble. A lump of well-cooked meat should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. And while you can look at it, smell it, and poke at it, none of those indications are precise enough to determine whether that meat is done.
Make sure to use a probe thermometer to test meat's temperature, and always remember to remove whole cuts when they’re still slightly pink in the center.
Mistake 6: Overcooking the Food
It's easy to get excited about your food and to go just a little too far. Overcooking the meat can lead to less-than-desirable flavors and textures. In many cases, your food continues to cook after it comes off the grill. If you're not sure whether it's finished, you can use a thermometer to double-check.
There are a wealth of other mistakes you can make while grilling, but these six are among the most common. By avoiding these mistakes, you'll be able to make the most of grilling and will never have to sacrifice a meal. The most important thing is that you have fun grilling. Whether it's a steak or a hamburger, grilling is an excellent way to offer a unique taste to your food and to control it in a way that you can't in other cooking methods.
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