Labor Day is almost here! In Wisconsin, that means it’s time to bust out the grills for one last hurrah! In honor of the long weekend, we’ve put together a list of grilling tips and tricks that will help you care for your grill and impress your friends and family.
Get the Best Flavor Before You Grill
Foods fresh from the grill automatically taste great because of that delicious, charred flavor. But to make your fare taste even better, try using a marinade, brine, or rub.
Marinades are flavor-infusing sauces that can be used on both meats and vegetables. They typically include some combination of herbs, spices, condiments, oils, and an acidic component (like wine, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.). Do some research on what type of marinade is best for what you’ll be grilling. Tip: Make your marinade the night before so that the meat or veggies can soak in it overnight.
Brines are salty solutions that add flavor and tenderness to grilled meats. Brining is actually a well-established method of food preservation that ensures meats hold their moisture during grilling. The best way to brine a meat for grilling is to soak it in a container large enough to submerge it completely, but without allowing it to float to the top of the solution. Tip: Add some herbs and spices to the brining mixture to get a bolder taste.
|Via Dr. Frank Lipman|
Rubs are dry or wet (with the addition of a small amount of oil) seasoning mixtures rubbed directly onto meats before they are grilled. There are so many different types of rubs that can add a very specific taste to your meal (like Cajun, Barbeque, Caribbean, etc.). Rubs can be applied and left on for 30 minutes to overnight. Tip: Bottle up your favorite rubs to be used again.
Buy the Right Food for the Job
Not all grilled meats are created equal – some cuts of meat are better for grilling than others. Check out the list below to see which cuts are the best.
Flank steak is similar to skirt steak, but since it’s leaner and tougher as well, marinating is highly recommended. It’s less expensive and more flavorful than most cuts of steak. Grill over high heat for 5-7 per side to get a medium rare delight.
Pork chops are great for grilling because they’re more substantial than chicken, but less than half the price of a good steak. Dry rubs work well on pork chops, which should be cooked on the grill for 4-5 minutes per side. For a more tender cut, try getting the chops on the bone.
Chicken legs are naturally juicy, so they make a great grilling meat because they’re hard to dry out. They’re also less expensive than boneless chicken breasts. Cook for about 30 minutes over medium high heat.
Baby back ribs are one of the best meats to grill. They’re super tender, and if you’re patient enough, the pay-off is huge. Cook the ribs slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours over medium high heat. This ensures a juicy inside with a crispy crust.
|Via PNW Local News|
Ground beef – because who doesn’t love a great burger? Plus, you can add various flavors by mixing in chopped onions and jalapenos, shredded cheese, and any number of spices. Burgers are also one of the fastest things to cook on the grill – cook for 2 minutes on each side, then move to a lower-heat area of the grill for another minute.
Tip: You can successfully grill any cut of meat as long as you do some research on how long to cook it, what type of marinade, brine, or rub to use, and monitor the temperature.
Take Care of Your Grill
Caring properly for your grill will not only keep you, your food, and your home safe, it will also ensure that you’ll be cooking on it for a long time.
Give your grill a good “Spring cleaning.” When you take your grill out at the beginning of the season, empty out any old ashes and give the whole thing a good scrubbing with steel wool. Before your first cookout, take the time to heat up the grate for a good 30 minutes. Afterwards, scrape it down with a grill brush. This makes it easier to scrape off any residual food from the previous grilling season.
Clean and oil the grate before every use. Not only does this make for a more hygienic cooking surface, it also prevents your dinner from sticking and gives it those beautiful grill marks. To clean the grate, let it heat up over a very hot fire for about 5 minutes. Then, brush the grate with a good grill brush – one with a long handle and firm bristles – to ensure that any leftover food particles are swept away. Using tongs, oil the grate by dipping a wad of paper towel in vegetable or olive oil and then rubbing it across the bars. Be careful not to use too much oil, as this could cause flare ups or even start a fire. Tip: Try oiling the grate with a chunk of bacon fat for extra flavor!
|Via Real Simple|
Clean out the charcoal after every use. Leaving a pile of ash in your grill can make it especially hard to clean. To make this task as easy as possible, keep a big metal bucket next to your grill where you can quickly dump out any remnants of charcoal. Then, move the bucket to a place where the contents won’t get wet, and dispose of the remains once they’re cool.
Store your grill properly. At the end of the season, dump out the ashes and put the grill cover on. This last step is extremely important, especially if you’ll be leaving your grill outside for the winter. Leaving the grill cover off for several months can cause serious rusting, which will dramatically shorten the life of your grill. It’s also a good idea to leave the grease on the grate instead of cleaning it before you put it into storage, as this can prevent rusting on the grate.
Expand Your Horizons!
Don’t stick to the foods you know! There are plenty of foods out there that are perfect for grilling, and with a little research and practice, you can be eating trendy and exciting meals at home. For the adventurous eaters, try some of the following recipes:
|Via Foodie Crush|
From all of us at Bubb’s, happy grilling and happy Labor Day!