REPOST: Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong

Originally from: but the site seems down (permanently maybe….) so I’m reposting the version I got from the Wayback Machine

Personally I tend to use the bonus marinade recipe at the bottom a lot, hence the repost.

The short version:

  1. Flip early flip often
  2. Rotate multiple items around the grill
  3. The squishiness test for doneness
  4. And don’t put barbecue sauce on right at the start, it’ll burn
  5. + 2 marinades

Original after the break….

Everything You Thought You Knew About Grilling Is Wrong

I can’t even remember when I first learned to cook on the grill, and I certainly don’t remember any complicated lessons. “Go easy on the lighter fluid, but not too easy. Flip the burgers once after ten minutes or so, and then take ’em off when they’re done.” Nothing fancy.I was always pretty competent at making burgers (although I attribute that to my super secret blend of ingredients more than anything else), but I never dared tackle the quality food. Steaks, chicken, fish? I’d leave that to the older men in the family. They knew what was what around the grill. I was merely the acoloyte. The burger flipper.Fortunately, my wife gave me a great present for Father’s day a couple of years ago: grilling lessons. An unbelievably good investment. Although we only went through a couple of recipes, the few simple techniques we learned turned me around completely. Suddenly, I knew more about working the barbeque than anybody in my family. When I’d go visit my parents, I’d be the one grilling steak, potatoes, and veggies on the grill, giving impromptu lessons to anyone who’d listen.There are a few extremely simple secrets. Once you learn a good marinade (I’ll include on at the bottom), you’ll be amazed at the results. Trust me.

1. Flip Early, Flip Often. This is the big shocker. It was hard to imagine doing this at first, and when I told people, they thought I was crazy. Think about it this way: you want a juicy steak, right? Or juicy chicken, or hamburgers, or whatever. The juice is nothing more than the blood in the meat. When you put the meat on the grill, there is more heat below the meat than above. The heat forces the liquid up, through the meat. Ever see a big pool of liquid on top of the steak when you lift the cover off the grill? It’s been on too long. You don’t want it to come out of the steak, you want it to stay in the steak. So you flip every four or five minutes. Sometimes I flip every two or three, depending on what else I’m doing. Flip it before any liquid has a chance to escape out of the top. Repeat often. Flip, flip, flip. It really works. And if you think this takes a lot of time and concentration, you’re right. There’s time enough for socializing later. Do you want to grill an excellent steak or not? Okay, then. Concentrate.

If you do nothing else, try this the next time you’re grilling.

2. Rotate. There are probably different “hot spots” on your grill. Especially if you use charcoal. Instead of overcooking one steak, undercooking one, and getting two “just right,” rotate ’em so they each get a chance to be over the hot spot, or the cold spot. It’s almost assembly line for me, especially if I’m cooking a bunch of wings. I’ll take whatever is on the far left of the grill and, when I flip it, I’ll move it to the far right. Then I shift everything over to the left. This will give all the meat equal opportunity to cook.

Again, you could probably stop here. The next one takes some practice, but it’s worth perfecting.

3. Testing for Doneness. This really does take practice. Tap on the meat with your spatula, tongs, whatever. The meat gets less fleshy (loose) the longer it cooks. Tendons tightening and whatnot. Hold your hand loosely and push at the base of your thumb. Now spread your fingers apart and feel the same area. Feel the difference? With practice, you’ll be able to tell when the meat is medium, or medium rare, simply by pushing against the meat with the tongs. Took me awhile to get the hang of it, with a lot of sliced open practice steaks to help me see how done something felt. Basically, the less give there is, the more it’s been cooked.

Finally, some advice on sauces and marinades.

4. Barbeque Sauce. Common problem: you slather some delicious barbeque sauce over the chicken, and you get blackened chicken on the outside, raw chicken on the inside. The sauce takes much less time to cook than the meat, obviously. So give the meat a fair chance. If you think it’ll take 30 minutes to cook the chicken, then give it 25 minutes before you put on the sauce.

5. Simple Marinade. The final tip, in conjuction with the others, will get you started on the right foot. You don’t need more than half an hour with this marinade, and believe me, it rocks. Put your steaks into a glass baking dish. Add red wine (haven’t found much difference between types) until you’re covering about half of the steak. Rub olive oil into the top. The simplest next step is to add McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning (although you can mince some fresh garlic and sprinkle with crushed peppercorn instead, if you’ve got some extra time). Shake it on pretty liberally, then press it down, because a lot will fall off in the marinade and on the grill. After fifteen minutes or so, turn the steak over so the other half is in the wine, and repeat the steps with the olive oil and steak seasoning.

Bonus Marinade: Put one package of chicken into a glass bowl, then start the marinade in a large Pyrex measuring cup. You’ll have two liquids: soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and the ratio is 2:1. I start with one cup of soy sauce and 1/2 cup Worcestershire. Next add 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp rubbed basil, 1/2 tsp rubbed oregano. Mix everything well (still in the measuring cup) and pour over the chicken. Repeat, if necessary.

That’s about it. There are a couple of other minor tips, but these are the ones that I use pretty much every time I cook outdoors anymore. Enjoy the summer.

Also see More Grilling Tips, for some vegetable recipes, cooking potatoes, and rough cooking times.

2 Responses to “REPOST: Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong”

  1. […] REPOST Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong Posted by root 16 hours ago ( Feb 8 2008 when i 39 d go visit my parents i 39 d be the one grilling steak potatoes and veggies on the grill giving impromptu you must be logged in to post a comment dr robot nerd school is proudly powered by wordpress Discuss  |  Bury |  News | repost everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong […]

  2. […] REPOST Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong Posted by root 16 minutes ago ( Feb 8 2008 suddenly i knew more about working the barbeque than anybody in my family when i 39 d go visit my parents ever see a big pool of liquid on top of the steak when you lift the cover off the grill you must be logged in to post a comment dr robot n Discuss  |  Bury |  News | REPOST Everything you thought you knew about grilling is wrong […]

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