The Art of Cottage Grilling

Barbecuing, it’s often said, is the easiest way to cook. Indeed, cleanup is simple, and any idiot can make a decent hot dog. Still, true grilling excellence is very difficult to attain. Follow these 10 essential rules, however, and it might just be within reach.

1. Use an instant-read thermometer to determine if your meat is cooked. Nobody likes slash marks in their steak – and nobody likes their chicken rare.

2. Wait until the last few minutes of cooking to add sauce. And lower the heat; otherwise, sugars will burn on the grill.

3. Trim fat to prevent flame flare-ups and the uneven cooking that results.

4. Always prepare your meat in a dry rub, a marinade, or at least oil with some salt and pepper, to prevent it from sticking to the grill.

5. Even if you do #4, always oil your grill. A trick: Take a half-onion on a long fork, dip it in oil, and run it along the grates. Grill. Eat.

6. Don’t poke, fork or squeeze meat; you want to keep the juices inside.

7. Commit. The temptation to sit down and crank brewskis while the food cooks may be great, but keep your eyes on the prize and recognize that while the meat’s on, grilling is a full-time job.

8. Cook steaks, burgers and fish with direct heat. But for bigger pieces of meat, go slow: Pork ribs and whole chickens will always taste best when cooked slowly, over indirect heat.

9. Get smoking. Some wood chips, soaked in water and thrown on the grill, will make the difference between mundane and magnificent meat.

10. Clean your grill after each use. If your BBQ gets hot enough, place a sheet of tin foil on the grill and crank up the heat to max. This self-clean method should turn food particles to ash. (Check the manufacturer’s info to make sure your BBQ can withstand this type of heat.)

Image courtesy of Another Pint Please.

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