Mastering fire is one of the primary skills the primitive man had to learn to survive. Grilling meat is the closest method of cooking to what our ancestors did billions of years ago.
You can whip up the best dishes over the grill in any weather – rain or shine. It’s not only fun to grill meat outdoors; it’s also healthy for your mind and body.
But the question many inexperienced, wannabe grillmasters ask themselves is, how to grill meat perfectly? We’ll break down how to grill meat in 12 steps.
What are the Benefits of Grilling Meat?
Rich in Essential Nutrients
Grilling meat is considered the best and healthiest method of cooking because it locks in all the essential nutrients in the meat.
If you want to savor the juiciest and the most natural flavors of the meat, then the grill is the quickest and easiest route to achieve that.
Less Fat and Calories
When grilling, the fat is naturally stripped off from the meat which makes it a heart-healthy option rather than frying in oil.
The excess fat drips rather than reabsorbed by the meat. This also retains all the healthy nutrients such as thiamine and riboflavin which are micronutrient pivotal for energy metabolism.
Locks in Natural Flavors
As grilling retains more moisture, this allows you to enjoy a mouthful of natural flavors.
This means you won’t need any extra butter or condiments to add up to your meat. This translates to fewer calories which are good for your body.
Great Outdoor Activity
Grilling also allows you to connect with nature and bond with the family while cooking sumptuous meals outdoors.
It’s a recreational and relaxing activity that friends and family can enjoy all year round.
12 Tips to Grilling Meat Perfectly
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Grilling allows you to quickly yet skillfully cook your meat without overdoing it.
Here are the best tips on how to grill meat in perfect fashion.
1. Clean Your Grill
This may seem very basic for cooking whether on the frying pan or grill, but cleaning the grill before and after use with a foil or brush helps get rid of residue that could contaminate your food.
2. Grill OVER or UNDER
You can grill over or under heat depending on your meat and type of grill. Grilling overheat is mostly for those using grill and charcoal plates while grilling under heat is for oven grills.
When you grill over the heat, you need to preheat the grill. It is recommended to directly brush your meat with oil rather than do it on the grill to prevent sticking.
To achieve that even and perfect grilled or charred marks on both sides of your meat, you need to turn your meat halfway while cooking.
Let the meat stand for a while until it becomes easy to flip around. Careful and close attention to grilling is key to getting your meat done tastefully.
Always check your oven manual when grilling under heat, to see whether you would need to grill with the oven door closed or open.
The procedure would vary depending on the oven type. There are also ovens with fan-assisted grills which is great for those who opt for thicker cuts.
3. Use Only Premium Cuts of Meat
There are different degrees of doneness when grilling meat. You can choose from rare, medium-rare, medium, and well done.
To achieve this doneness levels, you would need premium cuts of meat because using secondary cuts to grill might leave you with rubbery and inedible meat.
When you are grilling meat with a thick layer of fat over it, you need to create small cuts in the fat to prevent buckling.
4. Room Temperature Before Grilling
If you place your meat on the freezer overnight then you must bring it down to room temperature for at least 20 minutes before placing it on the grill for cooking.
5. Preheat the Grill
It is important to preheat the grill pan to at least medium-hot. Prepare your meat and brush it lightly with olive oil while at it.
6. Recommended Doneness Level
You can cook your meat at any desired doneness level. However, for safety and health reasons, nutritionists and other health experts recommend your meats to be cooked at least medium-rare enough to kill the bacteria, especially in ground meat.
7. Check Grilling Charts
Time is not really the best way to determine the doneness of meat when grilling. You would need cooking probes or meat thermometers to check on your meats.
Keep an eye on the grilling charts to determine how long you would need to keep the meat on the grill.
This would, of course, depends on many factors such as the cuts of the meat, thickness, types of meat, and the desired doneness level.
8. Grilling Style for Every Meat
Not all meats are created equal especially when placed over the fire.
Steaks and pork chops are usually grilled over direct heat. It is best to sear meats for over two minutes then moved to a lower heat for perfect charring.
For roasts, you would need to place it on indirect heat and cooked to medium as opposed to well done. For burgers and hotdogs, it would only take around 4 to 5 minutes of searing and grilling time to achieve juicy perfection.
For poultry, it is recommended to grill in direct heat except if you are cooking whole birds. Also, make sure that whole birds are fully defrosted before you place it over the grilling pan.
For seafood, it is generally recommended to cook these using medium-hot grills. However, if you intend to cook scallops, shrimp, and calamari, then go for a hot grill. For whole fish, you would not low heat for grilling.
9. Remove Excess Fat from Meats
It is important to trim off excess fat on your meat but you do need to retain just a little bit of fat for an added richness in flavor.
10. Identify the Cool and Hot Spots of Your Grill
Set up your grill and place your hands at least 6 inches away or above the grill to determine its cool and hot spots accurately.
11. Flip It!
Turn your meat and flip it repeatedly allowing them to cook and achieve that perfect-looking grill marks.
12. Let it Settle
Allow the meat juices to settle for at least 5 to 10 minutes and then serve.
Grilling is the direct application of radiant heat for cooking meat and vegetables.
Grilling may look very basic and simple but there are strategies that one should master to create perfectly grilled dishes. Always go for premium meats than a new grill.
Eventually, it’s your skill in grilling that matters most in the end. Cooking over or under fire takes a meticulous understanding of how the fireworks and cooking by the rules are how you win the grilling game.