Time to Learn to Cook on the Grill With Charcoal: Part 2 (Grilling Tips)

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The Time Has Come for You to Try Your Hand at it

No matter how many times I do it, each time fills me with joy!  Cooking on a grill is my stress relieving activity.  At it’s highest level, we’re talking about art.  At it’s lowest, it’s still a science (cause you gotta make sure that meat is cooked through enough that you won’t get nobody sick).  And all that in-between is pure fun!

But we all had to start somewhere.  Yes, I can remember being in front of that hot bucket of coals wondering what I was doing.  It may have been awhile ago, but I know what it’s like having them hungry folks behind you that you want to please, but scared you’ll mess up at the same time.  It’s natural.  And your people won’t mind too much…just remember this — if they knew how to barbecue, then they’d be sweatin’ in front of that grill while you waited impatiently in the background.  That’s okay though, cause we are about to feed them people!

In the previous post, we reviewed how to get the grill started with adding theEverstryke Perma Match charcoal, lighting it & getting the coals properly heated. We are now ready for the nitty gritty: cooking some food!

 In this post, we are going to discuss some general grilling tips for cooking out, because this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. There are plenty of factors that come into play, like the type of meat (or veggies) that you slap on there. Obviously, not all food cooks the same, but we can still observe some general guidelines that apply to backyard grilling as a whole. Let’s get started.

 What Will We Need?

Not a lot, actually. We are going to stick with [seven] eight basic things:

  1. Grilling Thongs

  2. Grilling Spatula

    Strong Pair of Thongs

    Every Grill Cook Needs a Good Pair of Thongs.

     

  3. Grilling Pitchfork

  4. Plates

  5. Seasonings

  6. Aluminum Foil

  7. Beer (optional)

  8. FOOD

Food Preparation

Seasoned Meat

Make sure to properly season and prepare the meat before cooking.

I went over firing up the grill first, because that’s what I do. Then while that bad boy is getting hot, I tend to my meats. I believe that in order to have nice & tasty dishes, you should prep your foods the night before. That means cleaning (washing the meat once your take it outta the packaging), seasoning & covering the food, so it’s ready to roll when you start the grill. However, some meats I tend to when the grill is heating up. So here’s what ya do to prepare your meat:

  • Take it out of the packaging & wash it in the kitchen sink. Lukewarm water is fine. The key is to run water over the meat at all angles so it is clean of any bacteria (this isn’t necessary for hamburgers).

  • Place it on a plate from the cabinet, so the excess water has a place to settle. I don’t pat it dry (but you can with a clean paper towel if you prefer), so I sit each piece on a plate till I’m done cleaning

  • After that, season your meat. Here’s where the fun begins; there are endless types of seasonings, but to keep things simple, just use pepper, garlic powder, & seasoning salt. Your food will taste fine with these three. But please feel free to experiment & have fun. Sprinkle it over the meat so it covers it, but don’t drown it.

  • Place on a dry plate (or put it into a dish of marinade) & cover until you put it on the grill.

The Moment of Truth

Bbq chicken

Cooking the meat is the best part!

Everything we have gone over leads to this – slapping that meat on the grill! This is what it’s all about; all the preliminary prep work is for getting that mouth watering food tasting right. First things first; it is important that you understand that everyone has their own way of cooking their food. What this means is that although grilling is basically the same wherever you go, feel free to cook how you feel comfortable.

 So the first grilling tip is to relax! That meat’s going to taste just fine. Here’s what you do:

  • Place your meat on the center area of your grill, seasoning side face up (facing you). This is the hottest portion, so you can be sure that it will cook through properly.

  • Close the lid. This will not only encase the food in heat, you’ll also get the full benefit of those smoky flavors soaking into your meats.

  • Wait at least 5 minutes before turning!!! Honestly, this is the hardest step because while the food is cooking, we all get an irresistable urge to fiddle with it. DON’T! Let it cook at least five minutes before you check it.

  • After those five minutes, turn it onto it’s seasonings side. Now, let it cook another few minutes (it doesn’t have to be 5 – 3 minutes is fine). Don’t cook the seasonings side as long, because 1)The meat is cooking through on the other side, we’re just browning this side. 2)That’s the side you leave up for presentation when the food’s done.

 Crucial Grilling Tip: In order to know how done the meat is, use your spatula to test it by pressing on the food to check it. Don’t press too hard, cause this will squeeze the juices out of it, but this way you can check the firmness. (If you haven’t done much cooking at all, do this; press the meat when it’s raw, so you can have a reference point for how soft it is when raw) As your meat cooks, it will get firmer. You will know it’s done when you press it & two things happen: 1)It is firm against pressure & 2)*Especially for hamburgers* You see clear grease coming out when squeezed. This means the meat is cooked well all the way through.

 Once your meat is cooked, take it off the heat and place it directly into a dish or on a tray & cover with aluminum foil. Try to leave it alone for about five minutes to settle. Now enjoy your food! See, that was easy, wasn’t it?

General Grilling Tips

Grill Flare Up

Most Important Grilling tip: Watch Out for flare ups!

  • Try to refrain from poking & prodding the meat. All this does is puncture it so those tasty juices flow right out. Ever had dry babecue? That’s why.

  • If you are not comfortable with pressing the meat to check if it’s done, then get a reliable meat thermometer. There’s no harm in that, since its most important to cook comfortably.

  • When you have finished grilling for the day, close the lid, shut off the vents, and let that fire burn out overnight. You can clean it the next day. Remember – charcoal can burn inside of a grill for a long time. To stay on the safe side, always give that fire a full day to burn out.

  • Hot dogs cook just fine with an open grill. Hell, you can teach your kids to grill by starting with those bad boys.

  • Keep your grill clean! If you’ve ever cleaned a grill, you know how much fun it isn’t, but its very necessary.

  • Experiment & have fun!! What I teach & advocate is learning to develop a feel for grilling.

 Everyone has their way of doing things – this is a prime example of just that. After just two or three cookouts, you may not know how to cook everything, but I can ganruntee you that you will have developed a much stronger comfort level with the process based on experience. And the best part is, if you devote just a little time to it, you will improve leaps and bounds as ya go. That’s what makes the whole thing fun!

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