On a summer evening, there's nothing better than heading outside, firing up the grill, cracking open a beverage and grilling-and-chilling. If you're planning to fire up your grill tonight, you're not alone. A recent poll by the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association found that 75 percent of U.S. adults own a grill. Clearly, here in the U.S., we love us some barbecue.
But, there's an art to the grill and people don't always get it right.
According to the Meijer test kitchen chefs, who are busy testing different grilling flavors and cooking techniques, here are the top five grilling mistakes people make, and how to avoid them.
Grilling the wrong cuts of beef
The grill cooks quickly with high heat, so pick cuts that are tender and flavorful, like New York strip, ribeye and top sirloin. What to avoid? Lean cuts like filet mignon, top round or sirloin tip. That's because they don't have enough marbling to stay juicy and will dry out.
Too hot or not hot enough
Your grill should be sizzling hot when those ribeyes hit the grates. Let it warm up for at least 10 minutes before cooking. But, too hot and your food is burnt on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Ideal temp? 450-500 degrees.
Guessing when your meat is done
Even veteran grillmasters make this mistake. Too rare can be dangerous, too well done and your steak is shoe leather. The fix? Meat thermometer. Hint: Insert it into the side, not top to bottom.
Choosing the wrong fish
Flaky fish like cod falls apart, salmon loses its fatty oils and gets dry. Firm fish like halibut, tuna and swordfish are better choices.
Turning vegetables to mush
If your grill isn't hot enough, your veggies will steam instead of grill. Make sure it's piping hot and remember to take the veggies off while they're still firm.
Bonus tip: Lid open or closed?
If your meat is less than three quarters of an inch thick, leave the lid open. Thicker than that? Close the lid and don't open it too often. A closed lid turns your grill into a convection oven, with hot air circulating. Perfect for getting your meat evenly cooked, inside and out. An open lid will create searing action, giving you a crust on the outside while cooking the inside.
Bonus tip: Not letting the meat rest
After you take your meat off the grill, let it sit for 10 minutes or so. That allows the juices to get reabsorbed. Slicing too quickly will cause the juices to run out, which will dry out your meat.
With these tips, you'll master the art of the grill this summer!