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Grill Basics

Gas vs. Charcoal:  The heated debate (no pun intended).  Gas is economical, fast, clean, convenient, and controllable.  Charcoal has a nice hot heat and adds a nice smoke flavor.

Must have tools:  Long handle tongs and spatula, grill mitt or heavy side towel, meat thermometer, good wire brush, wood or metal skewers, pizza stone and an old (non-coated) cookie sheet.

NOTE:  if you use wooden skewers , always soak them for a minimum of 30 minutes to prevent them from burning up.

The Basics:

  1. Make sure your grill is clean. The best way to clean a grill is to use your wire brush when the grill is very hot.  Turn on your grill.  Place your old cookie sheet upside down on the grill grates.  Cook off anything that is stuck to the grates.  Use your wire brush to remove the last stubborn bits.  Then holding an old wet rag with your tongs, wipe down the grates.
  2. Always preheat your grill for 15 to 25 minutes.
  3. Use a grill spray.
  4. Trim fats so that you don’t get flare-ups.
  5. Fatty meats should be cooked with indirect heat. Try heating your entire grill to high but turn down the burners directly under fatty meats.
  6. Keeping the grill cover down will create an oven effect.
  7. Remove meat from grill when it is almost done. It will continue to cook.  Let the meat rest.  Place meat on a warm platter and tent with foil.  This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat.
  8. If marinating, don’t overdo the time. Longer is not better.  Most marinades contain some sort of acidic liquid, plus salt or sugar.  .  If left too long, this will start to cook or cure the meat, can overpower the flavor of the fish or meat and cause it to become mushy, tough or chewy (the exact opposite reaction you want from marinade).

How to grill the best burger:

  1. JUICY! What makes them juicy?  Fat!  Use a 15/85 mix.
  2. SEASON! Ground beef alone is pretty boring.  Mix your spices and flavorings into the meat before your make the patties.   Try salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, finely chopped onions..experiment.
  3. SHAPE! The ideal thickness for a raw patty is ¾ inch.  Thinner and I will most likely be dry.  Too thick and…well, we’ve all had that burger that was too crispy on the outside and still raw inside.  If you want a thick burger, use two.  Make sure you make your patties a little bigger than the bun, they will shrink as they cook.
  4. THE PUFF! Burgers tend to puff as they cook.  Using the back of a spoon, press a small indentation in the top of your raw patties.  Your burger will still puff, but the indentation will compensate and your burger will stay level.
  5. THE PRESS! Never press down on your burger.  All you do is force out the juices.
  6. THE FLIP! You should flip your burger only once and only when it is ready to flip.  You’ll know when to flip by slipping the edge of your spatula underneath the edge of your burger and lifting gently.  If the meat sticks to the grate at all, back off and try again in a minute.  Remember, you can control the doneness of the burger when cooking the second side.  An instant-read grill thermometer is a great solution for this.

 ENJOY!!!

Tune in every Thursday at 3 p.m. for “Cooking with Karen”

If you would like to submit your favorite recipe, please email it to
kareno@winyradio.com

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