This article was originally published in June 2013
It’s time to fire up the barbecue and welcome summer with open arms. Here, PCC Cooks instructor Jackie Freeman offers tips based on the most commonly asked questions she’s encountered in her grilling classes.
What kind of heat do I use?
Direct grilling is a high-heat method used to cook smaller, tender cuts of food quickly. Use for kabobs, hamburgers, fish, steaks and most veggies when you want a nicely seared exterior yet juicy or rare interior.
Indirect grilling is when food is cooked away from the heat source with the lid closed. Use for whole poultry and large roasts or for food that should be cooked low and slow, including delicate fish and root vegetables.
How do I know when it’s done?
Determining doneness is a skill learned over time. To gain experience, use a thermometer; it’s the best way to ensure your meat is cooked properly. For accuracy, insert it into the thickest part of the food being cooked. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Prepare foods uniform in size so they cook at the same rate.
- Preheat your grill for at least 20 minutes before cooking to allow the grates to get hot enough for searing.
- Your food will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill. Pull it a few degrees before your desired doneness and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
How do I add flavor?
Rubs, pastes and marinades add flavor and help to seal in juices. They can be applied several minutes to several hours ahead of cooking. Find marinade recipes »
- When marinating meats, avoid using aluminum containers, which can produce off flavors.
- Always marinate your food in the refrigerator and turn occasionally so it’s evenly coated.
Seasoning with salt immediately before or after grilling will allow meats to retain juices and brown properly when cooked.
Three burgers to try
Stout and Cheddar Beef Burger
Dark Irish stout keeps these beefy burgers moist and flavorful. Sharp cheddar cheese adds a tangy contrast to the robustness of the beer. Get recipe »
The Best Turkey Burger
Many turkey burgers can be dry and bland. We wanted to create a “go-to” burger that is moist, delicious and grills up beautifully — and we did! Get recipe »
Portobello Burger with White Bean Spread and Roasted Peppers
White bean spread adds a bit of zip to this hearty and satisfying vegetarian alternative. Get recipe »