Cookbook

FYI: Grills and Grilling

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Grilling Tips and Techniques

Posted by Phyllis A. on May 20, 2000, 8:55 pm

Spring and summer immediately bring to mind the great outdoors and all the fun we can have in the sun. One of the greatest pleasures is outdoor cooking. Before fixing up the grill and popping on a burger, hot dog or steak, peruse some tips and tidbits from HGTV's TIPical Mary Ellen and Smart Solutions.

To tenderize chicken or pork chops before barbecuing, boil them in a saucepan for 15 minutes or microwave them for two to five minutes. Then drain and marinate in barbecue sauce for 30 minutes. Now the meat is ready to barbecue.

Don't forget that you can put other foods besides meat on the grill. Try barbecuing vegetables as well. Wrap onions, corn on the cob or sliced potatoes in heavy-duty foil. Dot them with butter or margarine or even barbecue sauce, and seal the foil. Then put the package on the grill for a few minutes.

Concerned about food spoiling during your cookout? Try to avoid egg salad, potato salad and pasta dishes, especially on hot days. Also avoid mayonnaise; use butter or margarine instead.

Never buy pre-husked corn; all of its flavor will be lost with no husk on it. Grilling corn is a great idea. If you want to grill it in the husk, soak it in water for two hours to prevent it from scorching. To sweeten the corn, add 2 tablespoons brown sugar to the water. Otherwise, take it out of the husk and lay it on foil. Add butter and spices to the corn before wrapping it up. Cook 20 to 25 minutes, rotating once.

To keep meat flat when grilling, simply cut a few small slits along the outside fatty portion. This will prevent the meat from curling toward the center.

Keep a spray bottle filled with water near the grill for flame control. Simply spray a small amount of water on the fire when it becomes too high.

Use a muffin pan to hold condiments such as mustard, ketchup, relish and onions. This eliminates the need to pass around several bottles and jars.

To grill fish, use a fish grate or double aluminum foil with holes punched in it. Place a couple of lemon slices in with the fish. Leave the skin on the fish.

Grill fish six to 10 minutes for every inch of its thickest part. (For example, for fish that is two inches thick, grill for 20 minutes.) If fish is frozen, brush it with oil and double the grilling time.

When cooking chicken use indirect heat over a longer period of time. This will allow the to cook through without burning it on outside. Before removing from grillcheck for doneness with meat thermometer.

When cooking beef steaks or pork chops on the grill, start with high heat in order to sear the meat. This will help the meat stay juicer. After five to seven minutes, turn the meat over, then turn the heat down to medium.

The best tool to have for grilling is a pair of tongs. Tongs eliminate scraping any burnt material from the grate onto the meat, as would happen when using a spatula. Tongs also grasp the meat firmly. Never use a fork because once you pierce the meat, the juices will flow out and cause meat to become dry. Plus, dripping juices can cause a flare-up.

What's the difference between a T-bone and a porterhouse steak? A porterhouse has tenderloin larger than three inches. That's why a porterhouse steak costs more -- the additional tenderloin.

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Perfect Grilling Solutions

Chef Harry Schwartz offers tips on making a safe and successful barbecue.

Safety tips:
Finding a place to put a grill in your yard can be harder than expected. It should be placed away from all flammable material, such as grass, trees and the house, and it should sit on a nonflammable surface, such as brick or concrete.

Use long-handled utensils to avoid being burned -- the best protection comes from wooden handles. For protection, some people wear oven mitts that cover the whole forearm.

Always warn people nearby before starting a fire.

When using lighter fluid, add it only before lighting the coals, never while they're burning. Let the fumes from the fluid burn off before adding food to the grill.

To prevent food poisoning, keep raw meat in a cooler or ice chest until right before putting on the grill. Thoroughly wash your hands and any utensil used on raw meat to prevent food poisoning. One solution is to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the grill.

Grilling tips:
To prepare the fire, fill an empty milk or juice carton with charcoal and place in the bottom of the grill. Light the top of the carton. The wax lining of the carton slows its burn speed, allowing the coals to heat to the desired temperature. As the carton disintegrates, the coals spread across the bottom of the grill.

To heat coals quickly, drill a hole in the bottom of a metal pail, fill the bottom with crumpled paper and pile coals on top Set the coals on fire and leave in the pail until they begin to turn white and embers form in the center. Being careful not to burn yourself on the hot pail, dump the coals in the grill.

Use a marinade on meat or poultry to add flavor. Or tie a bunch of rosemary or other herb of your choice with natural cooking twine; throw the bundle on the coals to cook the flavor into the meat.

Cleaning tips:
Heat the grill until the grate temperature is high enough to kill bacteria. Scrub your hot grill with a wire brush to remove buildup -- crumbled aluminum foil works just as well.

These tips are intended as possible solutions only and HGTV cannot guarantee absolute success. HGTV has not tested the tips and does not assume responsibility if the desired results are not achieved. To guard against any type of damage or unanticipated result, HGTV recommends that you use care and observe appropriate safety precautions.

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