Grate (GREAT) barbeque grilling!
by GERALYN FARLEY
Coordinator and Associate Professor
Hospitality and Tourism Management
To master the art of barbeque grilling, there are three important rules to follow:
- Select the right type of meat, chicken, seafood or vegetable. Choose lean cuts of beef (loin, flank, top eye, bottom round); fatty fish (tuna, swordfish, salmon); chicken (boneless, skinless breast); and high water content vegetables (onions, peppers, squash, corn).
- Prepare the right marinade. Leaner cuts of beef are tough, unless you bathe them in acid ingredients, vinegar, or lemon juice for at least 12 hours. Fatty types of fish work well on the grill, so all you really need is salt, pepper and lemon juice, so as not to overpower these cuts. Often, boneless, skinless chicken can dry out on the grill. Try soaking these pieces in a brine (1T. Salt + 1T. sugar + 1 C. water) for two hours before grilling. Your favorite chicken and beef marinades work well with vegetables, too; marinate 30-40 minutes before grilling them.
- To know what “done” looks like…always use a food thermometer. Make sure you measure the food temperature in the thickest part of the meat and not touching the bone. Beef should be grilled over a high heat and turned as soon as little pearls of blood accumulate on top. Continue to cook steak 4-6 minutes (for 1-inch steak). Safe inside temperature for ground beef is 160 F.; medium rare steaks should reach 145 F. To grill boneless chicken, use high heat for 3-6 minutes. For boned in chicken, grill over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, starting with bone side down. Safe temperature for ground chicken is 165 F. and breast is 170 F. Fish should be semi-opaque throughout and 145 F. Insert a knife into the thickest part, and turn it a bit to get a look inside. If the fish is still translucent give it another minute or two. With vegetables, cook until crisp tender.
Additional tips for outdoor cooking
- After grilling your steak to perfection, let it stand for a few minutes to allow the juices to flow back throughout the meat. If you apply BBQ sauce, do so at the end of cooking to produce flavor without the burn.
- To give chicken a wonderful herb scent, try soaking rosemary or sage sprigs in water for 30 minutes; lay the bed of herbs on the grill; then place your chicken directly on top to cook.
- Never grill your fish on a dry grill…always coat the grill grates with no-stick spray before you light your fire. You can even try a water-soaked untreated cedar plank on which to place your fish on to cook. This adds a great smoke flavor and great table presentation.
- When placing vegetables on skewers, be sure to soak the skewers at least 10 minutes to prevent scorching. Try flavoring the skewers with your favorite sauce added to the water–for example, soy sauce, lemon juice or steak sauce. This gives your vegetables a hint of additional flavor.