<This is a contributed post> Grilling isn’t just for summer anymore, thanks to indoor griddles. With a few tricks involving some essential basics, you can really master your cast iron griddle to provide quick and delicious grilled meals for your family and friends.
1. Prepare your meat
Remove your meat from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (longer if it’s a thicker cut of meat) before grilling so that it can come to room temperature. Putting cold food directly onto a grill could mean that the outside of the meat may burn before the middle is fully cooked.
Pat dry your meat before grilling. The drier your meat, fish, or poultry, the better it will brown. This is because browning happens by raising your food’s surface temperature, and excess water will steal that heat. Blot your meat dry before grilling, or better yet, consider leaving it in a platter in the refrigerator overnight, uncovered.
2. Prepare your grill
Let your grill get nice and hot. If your grill isn’t hot enough, your food might stick.
Once it is hot, oil it lightly, which is a further precaution against sticking. Oiling also helps preserve your grill’s seasoning (this is particularly important if it is cast-iron).
3. Use salt at the right time
For most foods, salting before grilling can dry out the meat. Hamburgers are a good example, as salting them before cooking will dissolve some of the proteins. The resulting burgers will be firmer rather than the loose, falling-apart texture that most people enjoy.
However, chicken or pork is best salted beforehand. Salting these foods ahead allows them to get crispier faster for a more satisfying texture.
4. Use a thermometer
If you are new to grilling – and even if you’re not – it can be challenging to judge by eye how done a piece of meat, poultry, or fish is. You could press down on the surface, but you risk losing precious juices to the grill by doing so. Those juices are best staying where they are till everyone is ready to eat and enjoy them!
A thermometer makes it easier to get perfect and consistent results. There are even leave-in thermometers that beep when the middle of the food reaches the desired temperature. Remember to clean the thermometer’s probe in hot, soapy water each time you check to avoid bacterial contamination. You’ll be guaranteed to produce the perfect steak, chicken breast, or fillet of fish every time.
Professional chefs use thermometers to get consistent results. A medium-rare steak has reached a temperature of 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken needs to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle to be fully cooked and safe to eat.
5. Be patient
It can be tempting to want to peek at the underside of your food while it’s grilling, especially if you’re hungry or the crowd is restless. However, flipping your food or lifting it from the grill too early can cause tearing. Leave it on the grill till it’s properly done to get those lovely, caramelized grill marks.
6. Add your sauce at the end
It can be tempting to add your sauce or glaze at the start of grilling to add extra flavor. However, you’re actually better off waiting towards the end. Adding sauce at the beginning of grilling could mean charred or burnt bits on the outside of your meat.
Add about half of your sauce or glaze near the end of grilling time, and then save the rest for serving. You’ll be making the most of your meat, your sauces, and glazes.
7. Let the meat rest before serving
You may want to serve your meat as soon as it comes off the grill, but it is best to let meat rest before carving or serving. By allowing your meat to rest, you enable the juices to settle and distribute themselves rather than run onto your cutting board. Even 5 minutes will make a difference that you’ll be able to taste.
If you are concerned about heat escaping from your grilled delights, simply cover them with foil or put them in a warming container.
8. Life isn’t all about the bun
With more and more people going gluten-free or eating keto, you may want to provide alternatives to buns. Toss some veggies on the grill, such as slices of onion and peppers. Large portobello mushrooms are incredibly delicious when grilled, and they go well with any meat. Your veggie guests can enjoy grilled portobellos as a yummy burger alternative.
Let’s grill away!
Even though the process of grilling might seem tricky at times, some practice will do. These are the essential tips that you can try while grilling, but you can always up your grill game using relevant seasoning or putting extra work into sauce making.