10 Tips for Summer Grilling

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July 9, 2011

To me, Summer always means that it’s time to break out the grill and have a cookout with some family and friends! So, I’m providing my top ten grilling tips to ensure that your cookout will be a success. With these tips, some fantastic food, refreshing beverages, and great company, this Summer will be one to remember.

1: Keep It Hot
Preheat your grill, otherwise food will stick. To see if your grill (gas or charcoal) is ready to cook on, hold your hand five inches above the grate and count the seconds until you pull away (don’t burn yourself- it’s test, not a competition). Two seconds means the fire is “hot” and three to four seconds if the fire is “medium-hot.”

2: Baste burgers with butter
The natural sugars caramelize, making the meat extra-delicious.

3: Dip meat in cold water
I got this grilling tip from chef Laurent Tourondel: “Some chefs will say this is crazy, but you can make a burger juicier by dunking the patty in cold water for about 30 seconds before grilling.”

4: Use mayonnaise in marinades
Coating vegetables with a mayonnaise-based marinade creates a beautifully blistered crust when grilled. It is amazing with asparagus, broccoli and fennel.

5: Leave some fat on steaks
Chef Tim Love offers this advice: “Be sure there’s at least a quarter-inch of fat around steaks and chops to keep them moist. Score the fat in advance so that the meat doesn’t curl up on the grill.”

6: Grill your sauce on a stick
When grilling a meal, thread ingredients for sauces onto skewers to cook alongside the meat. While the meat rests, puree the sauce ingredients in a blender to make a unique and smokey condiment.

7: Cook ribs low and slow
Use a thermometer to keep the temperature at a steady 250˚ and wrap the ribs in foil after adding your braising liquid mixture.

8: Tie fresh herbs to a basting brush
Chef Robert Del Grande swears by his grandmother’s trick: “I saw her do this when I was a kid. She would tie fresh herbs to a brush and baste chicken on the grill with it. Some things just stick in your mind.”

9: Use a citrus squeeze
Keep lemons, limes and oranges on hand for spritzing over simply grilled meat, seafood and vegetables. This adds a delicious brightness and “pop” to any grilled item.

10: Leave an Unheated Space on the Grill
Even if you’re cooking over a single-level fire, leave a small space unheated so that you have somewhere to move food if you have a flare-up or if something is cooking too fast.

Be safe, always keep water or a fire extinguisher handy.