Memorial Day honors the patriotic men and women who have laid down their lives in honor of our country. Wherever we are, as a nation, we pause at 3pm for a moment of silence to remember them. Traditions for this holiday include draping flags at American veteran gravesites, attending a parade or simply spending the day with family and friends.
For many, Memorial Day Weekend means the first cook-out of the season with family and friends.
To avoid last minute grilling disasters, take a little time to prepare ahead. Now is when you should test out your grill and pull out your tools. Replace anything that is broken or rusted. And, start thinking about what you want to grill.
The ‘secret weapons’ for truly great grilling
• A fully functional grill with enough supplies to keep those flames alive (propane, wood, charcoal, etc.) for as long as you need to finish all of your grilling.
• High quality ingredients. Grilling truly shows off the flavor of your food. So, whether you are grilling steak, turkey burgers or portabella mushrooms, it is best to splurge on the highest quality you can find. Now, I like my grilling to speak for itself, but the best grilling technique won’t cover up mediocre (or worse) ingredients.
• A digital thermometer. This is the easiest and best way I have found to make sure meat is done right the first time. Putting meat back on the grill means risking it will end up overdone. A digital thermometer takes out the guess work, saving time and aggravation.
Preparation and Technique is where you hit the bull’s-eye
Prepare the grill before you put the food on:
1. Brush loose particles off the grates.
2. Fire up the grill.
3. Superheat the grill for 15 + minutes. This will cook off any residue left from the last time you grilled or anything else that might have gotten stuck to the grates.
4. Use a wire mesh, or similar, long handled instrument to clean the grates as there is likely to be ash left from the previous step.
5. Oil down the grates and any grilling baskets with cooking oil before putting your food on on the grill.
1. Have your digital thermometer and a BBQ mitt close by and then put the meat on the grill. Time any veggies or other foods you are grilling as best as possible. It all cooks pretty fast, so don’t sweat it.
2. When the juices are bubbling up through the top of your meat, flip it over. Periodically, stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. (The thermometer will tell you when it is done based on your preference.) Be sure to flip it only 1 time (I prefer a spatula over tongs).
3. To get a nice, fancy diamond grill pattern on your meat, turn the meat 45 degrees (1/4 turn) mid-way through your cooking on each side.
4. Or, if you wish to “brand” your meat, be sure to have your branding iron heating on the grill next to your meat. WARNING: The iron will be hot – be sure to use tongs and a BBQ mitt to pick it up. Brand the meat right after you flip it to side 2.
Tips for making your grill last longer and looking new
• After you grill, but sure to clean the grill well and let it cool down before you cover it .
• Empty the pan and refresh aluminum foil on it (if it needs it) every 2nd cooking. Having foil in the pan makes for easier clean up.
• Place a good fitting cover over your grill. It is likely that you will need to replace the cover every 6 months, especially if your grill is exposed to direct weather, heat and/or sun all year round. Cooler climates will offer less wear on your grill cover.
• Get your grill tuned up/super-cleaned every couple of years.