The Ten Most Common Grilling Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
|Photo by Erik Charlton via flickr|
|The coals need to be white before you start grilling.|
3. Don't Properly Prepare Your Grill
You don't want to be like my fiancé and singe your eyebrows or eyelashes, so don't let the grill get too hot before opening the lid. At the same time, though, you must properly heat the grill (charcoal or gas) before cooking the food. For a charcoal grill, Killen says you need to burn the coals down until they are white (after you add the lighter fluid and start the fire) then put the meat on the grill.
4. Use Too Much Lighter Fluid
Speaking of lighter fluid, no one wants to taste chemicals when they bite into any food. After your coals become ashy or white in color, Killen says you need to use as little lighter fluid as you possibly can, and make sure that it burns enough before you start grilling.
Photo by Molly Dunn Let the meat speak for itself.
5. Over-Marinate Before You Grill
Yeah, this shocked me too. But despite popular opinion, you should not heavily marinate your meat before grilling, especially with salt. Chef Goncalves says you don't need a lot of seasonings if you have a good piece of meat. He also says a lot of marinades have sugar, which burns on the grill.
Chef Killen notes that these store-bought marinades, or homemade marinades with lots of oil, vinegar, powdered seasonings and salt, actually take moisture out of the meat. "Season it very lightly," Killen says. "Let the steak or thing your grilling speak for itself. People go buy marinated fajitas in a bag and then they'll throw them on the grill. Those things are terrible. They're tender because they've got so much tenderizer and stuff in them, so of course they're going to be tender, but they're not that good."
Lightly season with olive oil, pepper and chopped garlic at first, then add your salt at the end of the cooking process, like Goncalves and Killen say.
6. Move and Flip Meat with Tongs
If you can't use tongs, then what else are you supposed to use? Chef Killen suggests using a heat-resistant glove so you don't puncture the meat or knock off seasoning. But, if you are nervous about using a heat-resistant glove, then gently use tongs to move or flip your meat.
Chef Killen also recommends using a pancake turner or large spatula to flip chicken. You can easily scoop up the entire bird without cracking into the wings or legs, resulting in a dry chicken.
"I always tell my staff to treat it like a baby," Killen says.
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