It’s grilling season! And you know what that means: the infamous “which family member can throw down better than any” competition. Whether it’s a battle of who makes the most tender ribs, the tastiest sauce or the perfect fire, a good ole’ family cookout can be fun and delicious. No matter who comes out on top, just remember, you’re all family! Check out these grilling do’s and don’ts for the perfect family cookout:
– Turn meat just once on the grill. For burgers, turn them when the juices start to pool in the center of the burger patty.
– Apply sauces containing honey, brown sugar or molasses during the last 10 minutes to prevent the sauce from burning.
– Cook foods that take less than 30 minutes directly over the coals. Examples include boneless chicken, steaks, fish fillets, hamburgers and hot dogs.
– Foods that take longer than 30 minutes to cook and are higher in fat are best cooked over indirect heat. Examples include bone-in chicken, ribs and brisket.
– Don’t pick up the food to see if it’s done on the bottom, moving it around, and turning it over every ten seconds. Put the food down and give it a chance to cook. This will also give it a chance to sear on the bottom so that it naturally pulls away from the grates and doesn’t stick.
– Don’t cut into your food to see if it’s done. It lets the juices come pouring out and the food dries out on the grill. The best way to test food is by poking it with your finger. As it cooks, it becomes firmer and firmer. A rare steak feels squishy; a medium steak feels more springy; a well-done steak feels as taut as a trampoline. The rule of “the longer it cooks, the firmer it gets” also holds true for fish and poultry.
– Meat and poultry should rest for at least a few minutes before slicing or serving. This will allow the juices to stay in the meat. You may feel like the food is getting cold, but actually it’s still cooking. Cover it up with foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Fish does not need to rest and should be served immediately, as it loses heat very quickly.