While I was in Arkansas, I had the chance to hang out with Grill Grrrl. She cooked for us and shared several grilling tips with us. She also told us not to be intimidated by the grill! I’ll be the first to admit, that I do not grill myself because we use wood and that’s just too much for me. BUT, I would like to do more grilling just to be able to take some of that responsibility off my husband. He doesn’t get to sit and visit as much because he’s always at the grill. Although, it was fun getting him on video making the baby back ribs.
Anyhoo, here are some grilling tips to help you be a successful griller!
- Meat thermometer: Using a meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of grilling. By knowing exact internal temps, you can remove meat at just the right time for moist, juicy results. I recommend the Thermapen – it’s an instant-read digital thermometer that shows temps in less than five seconds, so you’re not spilling valuable heat from the grill.
- A good pair of tongs: Find a pair of tongs that are comfortable to use and the right length for your grill.
- Cast-iron skillet: If you want to use your grill as a stovetop and cook a side dish while also working on other recipes, a cast-iron pan is a great addition to your grilling repertoire.
- Oil the grates: A well-oiled grill grate makes your food less likely to stick and eases cleanup. Fill a small bowl with canola oil, dip a folded paper towel in it and rub oil on the grates before starting your fire.
- Tent the meat: After you pull meat off the grill because it has reached the minimum internal temperature, tent the meat under foil for 10 minutes. Allowing the meat to rest allows it time to reabsorb its juices, giving juicy, moist results.
- Ingredients: Using the highest-quality ingredients makes a huge difference when cooking. Good-quality olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper should be staples in your pantry.
Minimum Internal Temperatures for Meat
These are the minimal internal temperatures for meat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Keep in mind that when you take your meat off the grill, it continues to cook, so it is OK to pull it off when it’s a few degrees under the listed temperature.
- Poultry: 165°F
- Beef: The USDA lists the minimal internal temp for beef at 145°F. However, if you like your steaks cooked medium, go for 140°F; medium rare, go for 135°F.
- Pork: 145°F
- Fish: 145°F
By creating different “zones” on your grill, you can effectively use your entire grilling surface while making different dishes at the same time. The easy way to think about this is that cooking on direct heat (ie, over the flame) is like using the broiler in your oven. Cooking on indirect is like baking in an oven.
- Heat sources: When using a gas grill, your heat source is a gas/propane burner. When using charcoal, your heat source is your lighted charcoal/fire.
- Direct: Direct heat is when you grill directly over the heat source (burner or charcoal fire).
- Indirect: This is when you cook on the side of the grill with unlit burners OR on the empty/cool side of a charcoal grill.
- On a gas grill, create direct and indirect cooking zones by setting half the grill burners on medium to medium-high heat, and the other burners on the other half to off or on low.
- On a charcoal grill, place your charcoal in a pile and move it to one side, with the charcoal taking up half of the grilling area. This creates a FIRE and NO FIRE zone on your grill.
Come on ladies, we can do this! Let’s get our grill on and show them boys we can cook outside just as good as they can. If you need some grilling inspiration, here are a few things we have grilled…..