Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tricks of the Trade - Grill Like a Pro

Grilling is one of my favorite cooking methods because it's quick, and also delivers a unique flavor to the food (especially if you use charcoal), that cannot be replicated with another cooking technique. When done correctly, a grilled steak, piece of chicken, or even vegetables are irresistible! When done incorrectly, grilled foods can be not only a disappointment, they can be dangerous!

How many times have you been to a picnic when the person behind the grill is serving food that has been charred on the outside and raw on the interior? Not only is this unappetizing, it can be hazardous if the food isn't cooked thoroughly. Over the next few blog entries, we will cover the grilling basics that will have you grilling like a chef in your own backyard.

First and foremost, routine maintenance of the grill is extremely important. A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to keeping flames under control and keeping your food from sticking to the grates. Make sure you have a sturdy grill brush, and use it before and after grilling (sometimes, you might even need to use it as you grill). Also, take an old kitchen towel, roll it into a cylinder, then wrap with kitchen twine to keep it bound together. Dip this in canola oil and use it to oil the grill (use tongs to do this) so that you can keep your newly cleaned grill grates non-stick. Repeat as necessary.

Be sure to have enough propane, charcoal, etc. in order to ensure that you won't run out and have to make an emergency stop to the hardware store! It's always a good idea to keep an extra stash in your garage, shed, etc. to avoid such an inconvenient emergency.

Second, you will need an instant read thermometer (unless you're very confident in your ability to test perfect doneness visually). Undercooking is, of course, dangerous, but overcooking is another way to ruin a meal. An instant read thermometer will give you precise results, ensuring a perfect protein each and every time.

Next, plan ahead for the right number of tongs, spatulas, platters, etc. Make sure to use the right utensils (raw and cooked) so as to avoid contaminating cooked food with the utensils you used to turn raw food.

Last, be sure to let the proteins rest so as to keep them as juicy as possible. Cutting into meats without resting them first will cause the juices to run out, leaving you with dry steaks, chicken and chops.

Our next blog will focus on specific tips for grilling beef, along with a recipe. Prep the grill today in anticipation for an awesome cook-out tomorrow!


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