10 Easy Tips for a Perfect Summer Grilling

When it's summer, the grilling season enters full swing as it is a pastime enjoyed by many. One of the great things about it is that it is possible to grill anything however, there are some food safety steps to be observed regardless of what is being cooked. In this article, we talk about the safe grilling of all foods.

By Cookist
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Everyone knows, summer has now become synonymous with barbecues. Whether you're a beginner or an expert, you definitely need to know these tips for preparing perfect grilled dishes. You might underestimate some of them, but trust us if you want to cook a juicy, beautifully grilled meat or fish on your barbecue.

1. Don't Forget to Prep

Before you fire up the grill, get everything organized. Arrange your tools, gather your ingredients, grab your seasonings, and make your sauces.

2. Gather Your Equipment

Make sure to gather your equipment before you get grilling. As far as equipment goes, you'll need a pair of tongs, a grilling fork, and a sharp knife to grill. Look for a set of tongs that are made from stainless steel but have a plastic handle so you don't burn your hands while you're cooking.

3. Clean your hands, equipment and (most of the) food

No matter what is being grilled, the process needs to begin with clean hands. It is important to wash your hands before and after touching raw meat, poultry, and seafood items to avoid the spread of foodborne illness microbes.

You should also clean the food items, but not every item requires that.

Fruits and vegetables need to be washed thoroughly under clean running water to remove any debris. For firm food like a zucchini, a vegetable brush can be used to scrub, and after washing, don't forget to dry the items with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.

Avoid washing or rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood items as doing so infinitely increases the risk of cross–contamination because bacteria can be spread to other food items, equipment, and surfaces. If it must be done, ensure a thorough cleanse, and afterward, sanitize all surfaces, including the inner sink. After cleaning the raw meat, poultry, and seafood items, keep them separate from ready-to-eat foods like dips or any fruits and vegetables you have plans to grill.

4. Master Lighting Coal

Lighting coal can be tricky. To make it easier, use a fan air blower specially made for barbecuing to help light the coals quickly and evenly.

When it's ready, immediately put raw items on the grill, grab a clean dish and keep it close for when the items are finished cooking. Keep a watchful eye on the utensils used while grilling as they could be contaminated with harmful bacteria, which could easily spread to the fully cooked burgers being taken off the grill.

Don't forget that it is not safe to use the same plate or utensils you originally used to move raw items to the grill, except they have been thoroughly washed and sanitized.

5. Use Wood Chips

Imbue your grilled foods with more flavor by adding wood chips to the charcoal. Oak, hickory, applewood, and beech are all woods that give barbecued foods a wonderful smoky flavor.

6. Know Where to Place Food on the Grill

Some foods benefit from direct heat while others need indirect heat to cook properly. Meat, like beef, lamb, pork, as well as vegetarian options like tofu, thick-cut eggplant, peppers, and onions need direct heat to cook. Chicken and fish, as well as more delicate veggies, should be placed off to the side.

7. It's All About the Right Temperature

When it comes to cooking, grilling uses direct high heat to prepare food items. The whole process is what leaves the famous grilling marks people love to see, but those marks may confuse you, making it seem like the food is done when it is not.

This is a big issue. While grilling meat, poultry, and sea foods, it’s essential to use a food thermometer to be certain they are truly being cooked through to a safe minimum internal temperature.

Safe internal temperature recommended may vary depending on what is being cooked, so be sure to use a handy list to know what is what.

  • For beef, pork, lamb, and veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145°F (with a 3-minute rest time)
  • Ground meats (including burgers and hot dogs): 160°F
  • Anything poultry: 165°F
  • Fish: 145°F

Where grilling fruits and vegetables is concerned, there are also a few guidelines worthy of note:

  • Marinated vegetables can be infused with flavor and moisture but never use leftover marinade that was prepared for raw meat, poultry, or seafood items.
  • Fruits and vegetables don't have a safe minimum internal temperature; however, different fruits and vegetables have varying cooking times. If the fruit or vegetable is thick, it will take longer to cook and die to the high heat of the grill; this may lead to only the outside getting well cooked. To beat this, cut fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces, and the grill heat should be kept at a medium to low temperature.
  • Thinner sliced fruits and vegetables should be turned often, and extra attention should be paid to them so you don’t end up with burnt-end products.

8. Season Generously

Every home cook knows that seasoning is everything when it comes to making great-tasting food. Generously run meat in oil then add salt, pepper, or and dry rubs you're planning on using before grilling. Don't be shy – this is what will help your barbecue taste amazing. On a similar note, know when to add sauce. If you add barbecue sauces too early, your meat will look burnt on the outside but be raw on the inside. The best time to add sauces is once your meats have nearly finished cooking.

9. Don't Flip

There's a widespread belief that meat needs to be flipped often on the grill. Don't do this. You should only flip the meat once or twice when it's grilling. Leave it to cook on one side for about half the total cook time. Not only will it help your meat to cook evenly, but it'll also improve the flavor.

10. Let it Rest

Once you've taken the meat off the grill, let it rest for several minutes before grabbing a knife and slicing it. This will help keep it juicy and moist.

Employ these pointers, and you’re guaranteed delicious and, above all, safely grilled food all summer long.

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