Grilling season is finally here again! Actually, we grill all year long even in the rain, even in the cold and even in the snowiest of seasons. But admittedly, nothing is better than grilling in the late afternoon sun on a beautiful summer day. Besides the obvious sensory advantages of grilling, there is also the glorious advantage of no kitchen clean up.
Whether you use a charcoal or gas grill, few preparations compare to almost any food, grilled. Grilling just seems to bring out foods natural flavors like nothing else. Over the years, we have written many, many articles on grilling and have literally hundreds of grilled recipes in our archives. So what’s new about grilling? A new season to try your favorite grilled recipes and to add new ones to your repetouir. To get you started, we’ve put together some helpful tips and new recipes ideas to get you back on the grill.
Grilling preparations for poultry usually begin with a marinade. Allowing poultry to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight imparts the marinade flavors as well as assures that the bird will remain moist and juicy throughout the grilling process. The biggest tip we can share in grilling poultry is to always grill it with indirect heat. With a charcoal grill, this is done by placing the poultry on the grill off to the side of the coals. On a gas grill, turn the flame on both sides of the grill to pre-heat. When the grill is very hot, turn the fire off on one side and add the poultry to the off side of the grill. Your chicken, duck or turkey will brown nicely, not char and cook all the way through.
Grilled steak is almost everyone’s hands down favorite and couldn’t be easier to do perfectly every time. The first and most important step is to select a steak that is suited for grilling. Grilled steak should ALWAYS be cooked over high flame, quickly. The most common cause for a tough grilled steak is the steak itself. Grilled steak should have some marbling and should be at least 1”to 1-1/2” thick. A steak that is too thin will cook too quickly and become well-done. The perfect grilled steak is cooked to medium-rare, striped with grill marks on the outside and pink in the middle, not raw, but pink. Steaks that are too thick are difficult to cook to medium-rare without burning the outside or ‘baking’ the steak. Our favorite grilling steaks are New Yorks, Ribeyes or Filet Mignon. Filets are a bit more tricky because they are very lean.
To test a steak to determine if it is medium-rare, start when the steak is raw. With a fork, press on the top of the steak. You will feel no resistance, it will appear lose. A medium-rare steak when pressed on top with a fork will give some resistance but still be movable with the pressure of the fork. A rare steak will feel similar to the raw steak but be cooked on the outside, a well-done steak will feel firm when pressed. This method also works with grilled salmon.
Grilled steaks do not need to be marinated although they can be. They can be grilled with just seasoning, rubs or herb butters added after they are cooked.
One of the first tips we’d like to share is to always grill fish with the skin on. The skin will protect the fish from the flame and hold in the juices and flavors. The skin can easily be removed after grilling by simply sliding a spatula between the skin and flesh of the fish.
Always rub fish with oil before grilling to prevent it from sticking to the grill. You should always oil the grate of the grill also.
Fish is also delicious when marinated prior to grilling. Unlike meat or poultry, general marinating time for fish is 30 minutes. Citric juices or acids in marinades will cook the fish if left in longer. Also, like a good steak, grilled fish is fabulous with simple preparations like a little rubbed garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper, drizzled with fresh squeezed lemons or limes and or sprinkled with fresh herbs.
Any vegetable can be grilled with fantastic results. Vegetables can be grilled directly on the grill grate or prepared in smaller pieces and skewered. It is very important to always coat vegetables with olive oil before grilling. Grilled vegetables have a distinct flavor that cannot be duplicated any other way. When grilling vegetables, watch them carefully as they cook, unwatched vegetables are quick to burn. Firm and root vegetables may need to be par-boiled prior to grilling. Par-boil them until barely tender as they will finish cooking on the grill.
Yes, fruit is amazing when grilled! Choose soft fruit, such as peaches, strawberries, kiwi or even bananas. Sweet marinades (sugars, spices and spirits such as rum or brandy) can be brushed on as the fruit grills. The easiest way to grill fruit is to skewer it. Grilled fruit is a special treat served over ice cream.
Here are a few great grilled recipes to get you started:
Grilled Steak with Chimichurri
Grilled Vietnamese Chicken Thighs
Grilled New York Steaks with Chive Butter
Grilled Corn of the Cob with Chive Butter
Plank Grilled Lemon Chive Chicken