Now that the rains are gone and warmer days are here it’s time for the grilling season. Not gifted at the grill or not looking forward to the upset stomach afterward? Here’s seven tips that will help you rock your next family barbecue and stay-off the food borne illnesses.
1. Preheat Your Grill
Give your grill plenty of time to preheat. When cooking meat give it about 15 – 25 minutes. This ensures the grill is at the proper temperature and any bacteria on it are dead. A properly heated grill will begin to sear the food immediately, prevent sticking, and help the meat retain its moisture.
2. Cut Meat and Vegetables Separately
Use separate cutting boards, knives, and plates for meats and vegetables. This will reduce the chance of contaminating foods that aren’t cooked.
3. Marinate Meat in the Fridge
If you marinate your meat before grilling, place the marinating meat in the refrigerator not on your counter. Don’t use the same liquid to baste your meat as you do for marinating as raw meat has microbes that will cause your upset tummy.
4. Make Sure Your Meat is Cooked
- Shrimp should cook for 2-3 minutes per side, scallops 3-4 minutes per side, salmon fillet for 3-5 minutes per side, and Ma hi-mahi should cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast and chicken thighs should cook 6-8 minutes per side. Chicken thighs with bone-in and skin take 15-25 minutes per side. Both should reach 165 degrees F.
- Boneless and skinless duck breast should cook for 4-8 minutes per side and reach 150 degrees F.
- ¾” bone-in pork chops cook for 3-4 minutes per side and should reach 145 degrees F. Pork tenderloin should cook 14-16 minutes per side and reach a temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Beef flank steak and strip steaks can be cooked to varying degrees – rare, medium, and well-done. Cook them for 6-8 minutes per side until it reaches 140 degrees F for medium. Strip steak will cook for 4-5 minutes per side, again until it reaches 140 degrees F for medium.
- Lamb loin chops need to cook for at least 5-6 minutes per side and reach 145 degrees F to reach medium.
5. No Thermometer, No Problem
To ensure that your meat is fully cooked, use an internal thermometer.
If you don’t have a handy-dandy meat thermometer, use your hand to check to see if it is done.
Allow your left hand to hang loose in front of you and poke your right index finger into the fleshy area between your thumb and index finger. This is how a rare steak will feel when you touch it.
If you’re trying to cook a steak medium rare, hold your hand the same way except spread your fingers apart. How it feels when you poke it will be how a medium rare steak will feel.
If you’re cooking the steak medium, ball your left hand into a fist and feel the fleshy area. This is what a medium steak will feel like.
A well done steak will feel completely firm, with no give at all.
6. Stop Flipping Your Meat
Don’t turn your meat more than once during cooking. If you turn your meat too often, it will dry it out quicker than if it’s only turned once.
7. Allow Your Meat to Rest
When your meat is done and it’s time to remove it from the grill, put it on a clean plate. Add a tented piece of aluminum foil over the meat, and allow it to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes. This lets the juices have a chance to redistribute which is what makes summer cooking so delicious.
Grilling the perfect steak is not as hard as you may think. Following these seven tips will turn your barbecue regrets into jubilant admiration. Get that grill, grab your marinade, and start cooking.
Your Turn – What Do You Enjoy Grilling in the Summer?
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