Five Nonos for Summertime Grilling
Failing to Preheat the Grill
When it comes to the temperature of your gill, it's easy to guess and hope for the best, but you're taking a big chance.
A quick way to figure out how hot the grill actually is, is to hold your hand in front of the grate (being careful not to burn yourself, of course) and count the seconds before the heat forces you to back off. If you're going for a temp of about 375, you won't last longer than two seconds. Three seconds of holding your hand over the grill is about 350, while five seconds is roughly 200 to 300.
Shunning Marinades, Rubs and Sauces While there's nothing better than a classic steak simply salted and peppered on the grill, don't forget the importance of cooking with rubs, marinades and sauces. Rubs, in particular, are great for seasoning beef, pork or chicken for grilling (especially fatty cuts of meat), and you'll gain a tremendous amount of flavor as the rubs penetrate the meat.Marinades act in a similar fashion by infusing the meat with flavor, but they also tenderize, especially if you're incorporating some kind of acid (vinegar, soy sauce, lemons or limes).
Slapping Ice-cold Foods on the Grill This is one that bears repeating. A cold piece of chicken (especially bone-in, which takes longer to cook) might appear nice and caramelized on the outside, but if it's too cold when cooking, it might still be pink on the inside. Always allow food to come up to room temperature before grilling, so it cooks evenly and thoroughly. Letting food rest about 20 minutes ought to do the trick, depending on the temperature of your house.
Stabbing, Pressing or Over-flipping Food
It's important to be nice to your food, so don't beat up on it while it's cooking. This means stabbing it with a carving fork (which is the fastest way to say bye-bye to all those precious juices), pressing down hard with a spatula to expedite the searing process, and generally being impatient (i.e. turning food over and over while it's cooking, which will cause it to stick). Handle foods with care and let the grill do the work.
Cutting into the Meat
If you're not sure whether the meat is properly cooked, use a meat thermometer or simply use your fingers. For steak, press down on the center. If it feels like the fleshy part of your hand just below your thumb, it's rare to medium-rare. If it feels like the section of your hand between your thumb and forefinger, most likely its medium.