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Stew Leonard's Grilling Gurus Offer Tips and Tricks for Making Grilling a Cinch

When to Use Indirect versus Direct Heat


Food can be cooked directly over the grill if they take less than 25 minutes to cook. You can also use direct heat to sear meats to seal in the juices and create grill marks before moving it. Foods that can be cooked over direct heat are steak, kabobs, sausage and vegetables. Another method for gas grills is to turn one side on high (for direct heat) and the other side to medium. For a charcoal grill, use more briquettes on one side.

Grilling Guru Tip

Do not put barbeque sauce on food before grilling, or the food will burn. Brush sauce on the last few minutes of cooking and right before serving. If you marinate a piece of meat before grilling, wipe off any excess marinade before placing on the grill. Another option is to put a rub on the meat before grilling. To make, combine equal parts of kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, and brown sugar. Rub it on the meat and let it sit for a few hours before grilling it. Great for ribs, pork chops and chicken.

Use indirect heat for more delicate foods (like fish) or foods that need to be cooked slowly so they do not dry out, such as roasts, ribs, and whole chickens or turkeys.

Grilling Guru Tip

Keep the lid on the grill closed as much as possible, and turn food sparingly.

Grill Meat Like a Master

 

  • Custom Trim and Cut: Trim away excess fat (too much fat can cause flare-up on the grill and give food a burned flavor). Cut to desired thickness - the best thickness for grilling is 1"or 1 ½" - anything less will tend to dry out the meat.
  • Marinade: Place the filet in a zip lock bag or shallow dish. Season with olive oil, shallots, red wine, garlic, salt and pepper. Whole filets need to marinade overnight and filets already in steak form need to marinade 1 ½-2 hours. Let steaks dry to prevent flare-ups from the olive oil or pat dry before placing on grill.
  • Prepare the grill: Just before cooking, lightly oil the grilling rack to keep meat from sticking to the grill, or tearing when you turn it, so it will not loose any of its natural juices.
  • HOT, HOT, HOT!: Make sure the grill is very hot (about 600 degrees) before putting the filet on. The first few minutes on the grill are crucial, since this sears the meat and seals in the juices. To sear, make hash marks (a diamond crisscross effect) by turning the filets 90 degrees.
  • Turn filets sparingly: To keep filets flavorful, only turn them once during grilling. Cook the filets for about six minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. Do not pierce with a fork, or the juices will seep out. If using the touch method, press the meat with your finger. If it is still very soft, it is rare. If it is slightly firm and elastic to the touch, it is medium rare or medium. If it is tight and firm, it is well done.
  • Keep the grill clean: The best time to clean the grill is when the grill is still hot. You can also spray the grill with a non-stick spray to release any leftover food particles. After cleaning, be sure to keep grill dry to enhance grill life and keep food clean.

 

Grilling Guru Tip

Always allow meats to stand before carving to allow the juices to redistribute back into the meat. Individual steaks should stand for 5 minutes, and roasts should stand for 10 minutes.

Great Grilling Gadgets


These are the grilling guru's top three must-have gadgets for the grill:

 

  • Kebob Racks: Includes easy-to-turn skewers and the racks keep kebobs secure during cooking.
  • Shaker Baskets: Keeps vegetables from falling through the grill rack.
  • Corn Baskets: Holds four ears of corn at a time and grills corn evenly without burning.
  • Cedar Grilling Planks: Great for grilling fish on the grill. Just soak plank, heat on grill for three minutes on each side, and add food - no turning or flipping needed.

 

Grilling Safety Tips

 

  • Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Cook all foods to their proper temperatures using an instant read thermometer. Ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the centers are no longer pink and the juices run clear. Steaks should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and can have pink centers.
  • Do not re-use plates and utensils that were once used for raw meats.
  • Always refrigerate leftovers right away.