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If we don't take time out to celebrate our lives occasionally, what exactly are we here for?

Grill Mastery

Grilling is the classic method of cooking for the Memorial Day (and many other holidays/weekends) so for this newsletter I thought I'd give you a few ideas to help you grill like a pro and make the most of your upcoming summer holiday(s)!

Crank it up!

First, make sure your grill is hot!!! We're talking 5-600 degrees! The grates on most home grills are not very thick and thus when you put food on it, they will cool significantly and that can make your food stick. Having the grill very hot can help prevent sticking because it’ll give a good sear initially and help prevent sticking. Another big thing to remember when grilling is to make sure your grates are clean and to oil them and your food before putting it on the grill. Not oiling your food/the grill and not making sure your grill is hot are the 2 biggest mistakes I see home cooks make time and time again when grilling.

Good things come...

A grill cooks in 3 ways, 1- the grates directly touching the food (giving grill marks), 2- the radiant heat coming up in between the grates (the color in between the marks), and 3- baking that occurs when you close/put a lid on the grill. Starting and maintaining a hot grill will help give you color in between the grill marks. To get good grill marks, make sure you oil as directed above and give food a minute or three/four (depending on how hot your grill is) before trying to move it. Because the grates cool when you place food on them, be sure to give it a few minutes without moving your food to allow the grates to heat back up and actually sear the food before trying to move it around or it may stick and not give you those pretty grill marks everyone loves. For burgers, this can spell disaster because they can rip apart right on the grill. Be patient and give the grill time to get a good sear on your food! Also use the lid to your advantage; if you are cooking thinner steaks, chops, or veggies, cook with it off so you don’t overcook the meat before it gets a good sear. If you are cooking a really thick items, don’t forget about physics! Start a little lower (450-500 degrees F), turn it down (or disperse coals) after the initial sear and put the lid on to give a little baking action while you are searing each side so that way you can hopefully get to your preferred doneness at the same time you sear is beautifully developed!

Don't be afraid of seasoning!

Season your food strongly and right before putting it on the grill! When grilling, your seasonings will inevitably fall off the food and into the grill. Try to account for this by over-seasoning your grilled foods knowing that it all won't end up in the food. A grill mark is actually a sear (or more precisely, the Maillard Reaction) that happens on each individual slat in your grill grate. Salt draws out moisture and thus works against your sear/grill mark so be sure to season with salt right before you put your food on the grill so it doesn't have time to draw out the moisture in the food and hinder your searing/grill marks.

Trust but Verify

Don't forget the Thermometer! Chefs don't automatically know exactly when food is cooked, they check! It doesn't make you less of a grill master to use a thermometer, just an intelligent cook! Use a thermometer for checking the temp of your steaks, burgers and especially chicken! And always put it in the side of your meat and into the thickest part for an accurate read. Don't forget chicken needs to cook to 165F to be safe and salmonella free!! And it's ok to finish in the oven if your grill is too hot to cook it all the way on the grill! This happens all the time in a restaurant!

Easy, Sugar...

Lastly, a quick note about marinades; if they are sweet, slow and low are your best friends. Sugar will burn at 325 F degrees so grilling on the slower/lower side for anything you've marinated in a sweet marinade will help to prevent charring. Grill marks are great, but burnt food kills all the fun!

Right Meat for the Right Temp

Different types of meat are better for different types of cooking. Tougher cuts (chuck, rump, ribs, shoulder, Boston butt, etc.) need longer times to get tender (think 2-2 1/2 hours) so they come out best at lower temperatures (275-300 F) to make sure you don’t char the outside before they get tender throughout. More tender cuts (NY strip, ribeye, tenderloin, chops,

Yes! even oysters can be cooked on the grill!

ground anything, etc.) are tender already and cooking them longer simply dries them out. These come out best when cooked quickly on a hot grill so you can get a good sear before they overcook. And when it comes to chicken, slow or fast is just fine for any cut of it as it is pretty tender compared to pork or beef. Just make sure you take the time to cook it to 165F (and not over or it’ll be dry) throughout; I’m looking at you chicken legs…;) Choosing the right cut for how you want to grill or grilling the way that makes the most sense for the cut you like makes sure you have the best possible of all your grilled specialties!

Many Hands...

And don't be shy to spread the work around and have different people be in charge of different parts! One person handles the grill, another is in charge of things in the kitchen and another person can handle the sauce and spreads! Don’t forget to celebrate your life and your independence from mediocre grilling while you pursue your happiness on and off the grill!!

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