- Charcoal grills are the best. Charcoal grills burn hotter than broilers or gas grills.
- Use a grill with a wide heat range and infinitely adjustable grate. Grill steaks on the hotter settings, chicken on the cooler settings.
- Grill with a hibachi if you don’t have much room. They are compact in size and can generate high grilling temperatures.
- Gas grills are not as good as charcoal grills, but are better than most kitchen-stove broilers.
- Stick with hardwood charcoal. Hardwood charcoal burns hotter than briquettes. It used to be hard to find, but is much more available today. There are different varieties available…try different kinds to see which one you like best.
- Mesquite is the hottest burning of the charcoals.
- Briquettes are OK, but are reformed and don’t burn as hot as hardwood charcoal.
- Don’t use starter fluids They smell like a refinery, and will give your grilled food the same flavor. Briquettes with starter already in them are similar. They’re convenient, but you’ll taste them. Starter fluids can be dangerous if improperly used.
- Use an electric coil starter or a charcoal chimney. Place newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, and stack the charcoal on top. Start grilling when the charcoal is gray.
- Try mesquite or hickory chips They can give a nice smoky taste, but they mostly only make the grilling area smell good. Best if used in a Weber type grill, which gives longer exposure to the smoke.
- Keep your grate clean Start your grill on the highest heat for 10 – 15 minutes before grilling to burn off the grease or crust. Alternately, do it after you finish grilling. Use a big, automotive wire brush for removing the tough stuff. If the grate is rusty from wintering over, use a Craftsman 3/8″, reversible, variable speed drill with a rotary paint stripper wheel (Power tools are the best! Aren’t they?). Sticking is no fun
- Brush a little vegetable oil on your grill grate before placing steaks on to cook. It doesn’t always work, but it helps.
Tips Grilling Steaks, Burgers, Kabobs:
- Place meat on a preheated grill…the hotter the better.
- Grill until red juices appear on the top (uncooked) side.
- Turn using tongs or spatula to avoid piercing the meat.
- Season the cooked side, but add salt only at the table.
- Continue to desired doneness. Use the “firmness to touch” method to gauge a steak’s doneness.
- For rare cooked meat: The human hand is in an open, relaxed state. Press the large thumb muscle between the thumb and index finger and it will feel like rare steak.
- For medium cooked meat: Stretch out your hand. Press the same muscle and it will feel like steak cooked to medium doneness.
- For well-done meat: Clench a tight fist, and the thumb muscle will feel like well-done steak.
- Buy only thick steaks! The easiest way to ruin a steak is to get it too thin. It will get overdone in a snap.
- Buy steaks that are 1 ¼” – 2″ thick. This will allow them to sear on the outside without being overdone on the inside.
- Freezing a thin steak and grilling it while frozen can help keep it from being overdone and dried out, but it’s no guarantee. You need a lot of heat to sear and char the outside and keep it rare and juicy (or your preference) on the inside. High Heat Reigns Supreme.
- Steaks are best if they are at room temperature before you start to grill them. Cold steaks just don’t turn out as well.
- To cook the best tasting steaks, you need very high heat to sear and char the steak on the outside. High heat produces that great grilled flavor and keeps the steak juicy by cooking it quickly before the juices can escape. It doesn’t really seal in the juices, as is popular belief — but it’s a good practice anyway for the best, and juiciest, steaks.
- Steaks continue to cook after being removed from the grill. Remove your steak a little before it is cooked the way you like it, so that it does not become overdone. After grilling, let your steak rest for 5 – 10 minutes before you cut it. This will keep more of the juices in the steak, and less on the plate as you eat it.
- For the best flavor, be sure to grill on the highest heat as appropriate for what you’re grilling.
- Chicken is different. Cook chicken using lower heat. If heat is too high, it will char on the outside, and be raw inside. Takes longer time at lower heat on higher rack or grate setting. Grill until juices are clear and no longer pink.
- Sausage is similar to chicken so you can use the same grilling tips.