Barbecue Success – Top 10 Tips 

 Originally Written: May 7, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

food-on-grill2As you all probably know by know, I love cooking and baking. And over the years, I have pretty much mastered a great number of tips that make those kitchen tasks easier and definitely produce more satisfying results. And I do enjoy cooking on a barbecue as well – finding out to do’s and not to do’s took some time – so here I decided to put together the very basic rules of great summertime cooking!

1. Always, always preheat the grill, and use tongs to turn. Poking holes with an oversized fork allows juices to escape, drying the cut. And you don’t want to dry out those pricey tenderloin steaks such as fillet mignon, sirloin, T-bone and rib-eye. To test for doneness, rare meat feels fleshy when touched, well done feels firm.

2. Before cooking, rinse meat in cold water to prepare the surface for the flavouring.Pat gently with clean cloth or paper towel and season with spices or your chosen rub.

3. Leave the lid closed as much as possible – remember—every time you lift the lid to peek, you lose 38°C. So leave the lid down, turn just once, and use a thermometer to gauge if meat’s done!

4. One of the most important barbecue tips is that you should always control your fire. If the fire ever gets too hot or burns out of control, you can risk totally destroying your meat and effectively wasting all of the efforts you have used to cook the meat up to that point.

5, In order to reduce he possibility of flare ups and other fiery catastrophes, the most important thing to remember is that you should trim off all of the excess fat on your pieces of meat. Removing the fat will prevent the fat from interacting with the fire as the meat cooks.

6. Another of the important barbecue tips to remember is when to apply any sauces or rubs.  While people have historically thought that barbecue tips recommended that they should add any flavoring to the meat before it goes on the grill, this is not always true.Before you begin barbecuing, you have the option to apply any rubs you might wish to add to the meat or you can soak your meat in some type of sauce to have the chicken or beef absorb all of the flavorful juices. However, if you wish to apply a barbecue sauce, you should always wait until after the entire outside of the meat has cooked, as dripping sauce too early in the cooking process can char the meat and lead to flare ups of the fire.

7.  Don’t abuse your burgers! If you are used to pressing hamburgers with a spatula, stop right now! That spit and sizzle may sound exciting, but your burgers’ juiciness is going up in smoke.When preparing your hambrigers, choose lean meat, make your patties ahead of time, and chill for at least 30 minutes to keep them from breaking apart while cooking. Preheat the grill to medium, then sear one side. Never press them flat! A one-inch burger takes 6-7 minutes per side. Flip and, if you wish, add barbecue sauce a couple of minutes before they’re ready, or a slice of cheese in the last minute.

8. Choose the right meat! Buy AAA or Prime quality meat. Preheat the grill to hot, season the steaks with kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper a half hour before cooking. A hot grill ensures the meat will sear—cook the surface quickly to seal in juices—and continue cooking (an inch-thick rib eye takes about 4 minutes per side; add another minute for a 1.5-inch thick steak). Flip. If you like, garnish with a pat of butter mixed with scallions after flipping.

9. Careful with chicken! Chicken breasts, which marinate so beautifully, can be stuffed, rolled or chunked into kebabs. But don’t let chicken (or fish or seafood) marinate for more than half an hour or the delicate flesh may become mushy. Chicken is a prime candidate for overcooking. When cooking chicken breasts, preheat grill to hot and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on one side. Turn, cook another 5 -6 minutes, apply barbecue sauce in the last minute and you’ll have the juiciest chicken you’ve ever had in your life.
You could also try a dry rub, a mixture of herbs and spices literally rubbed onto the meat’s surface. Cook halfway before basting, to avoid washing the seasonings off.

10. Tasty vegetables are easy ! Foil pockets (shiny side of foil out) will nicely steam seasoned vegetables—but never use them to marinate with a tomato, citrus or other acidic sauce. It reacts with the metal and can discolour the food.A rich variety of vegetables can be deliciously made directly on the grill. Candidates for direct contact are eggplant, corn (in or out of its husk), tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, Portobello mushrooms and peppers. Brush with olive oil before grilling. For other vegetables, use a grilling basket.

I do hope these tips will help you get the perfect grilling results. Please feel free to comment, add your tips or ask questions!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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