The sunny evenings of summer are the perfect time for firing up the grill. It is also the perfect time to begin enjoying some of your garden harvests. Three of our favorite vegetables to grow and grill are the eggplant, tomatoes, squashes, and peppers. While recipes are a big part of having a tasty grill day, techniques are also important.
Here are a few tips to take your grilling from amateur to master.
Start with a clean grill.
Trust us — it makes a difference. Leftover food (charred or not) will transfer to the current food you’re cooking, which will change the quality of taste. Close the lid and heat your grill first for an easier clean. Then, use a stainless steel brush to clean your grill.
If you see loose brush bristles anywhere in the area, it’s time to get a new brush. You definitely don’t want those in your food.
It’s tempting to just slap food on the grill as soon as it’s mildly warm. Resist this temptation and instead preheat your grill for at least 15-20 minutes with the lid closed. A properly preheated grill will sear food on contact, thereby keeping the moisture inside your food and preventing sticking.
Let food come to room temperature first.
Whatever you’re grilling, let the food come to room temperature before you place it on the grill. This helps your food cook more evenly — especially meat. It’s a slight difference in taste, but ultimately a detail that matters.
Don’t play with your food.
While you’re grilling, avoid flipping, squeezing, or flattening as much as possible. The more you flip, the more likely you are to leave food behind on the grill and miss out on a good sear. If your food feels stuck, try letting it cook more — it might come unstuck.
Alternatively, squeezing and flattening food on the grill — especially meat — just squeezes out flavorful juices. This makes your food dryer and less favorable. Leaving your food be means maximum flavor.
Undercook everything slightly.
When you grill, there’s a thing called carryover cooking. Carryover cooking is the fact that, when you take your food off the grill, the food temperature goes up 5 degrees.
This means that your food will continue to cook after it’s taken off the grill.
When you grill, it’s best to undercook everything slightly so as to avoid carryover cooking overcooking everything.
Have a spray bottle nearby for flare-ups.
Flare-ups are when the flames burst up through the grates — usually because you’re cooking fatty meats that drip oils onto the coals/gases.
These flames aren’t great for the flavor of your food, so keep a spray bottle of water nearby.
When flare-ups occur, spray the flames with water immediately to put them out.
Keep the lid closed as much as possible.
Keeping the lid closed while you grill keeps the grates hot, speeds up cooking time, and prevents flare-ups. It’s tempting to check on your food every 2 minutes, but try and resist!
Keeping the lid closed also traps a delicious smoky flavor that will permeate through the food you’re cooking.
Recipes for Grilling
“FROM GARDEN TO GRILL”
Now that you have all the techniques down, you need recipes. Here are a few of our favorite summer grill recipes, from the Gardenuity kitchen and more.