With Labor Day around the corner and tailgating season about to arrive, there is a lot of grilling on the horizon. These tips are perfect to keep in mind for all the late summer grilling you’ll be doing over the next few weeks.Read on to learn how to transform your grilling game for the tastiest tailgate and Labor Day celebrations:
Prepare Your Surface
Before you start grilling, your grill should be hot (about 500 degrees Fahrenheit) and should have been cleaned with a wire brush. Place your hand three inches above the grates, and count to three: If you need to pull your hand away before you hit “three,” it’s ready to cook on.
Make sure you rub the grates with an old wash cloth dipped in a small amount of oil before putting anything on your grill. Use your tongs to handle the washcloth so that you don’t risk burning your hand.
Get in the Zone
If you’re working with a large gas grill, create cooking zones by keeping one section at a lower temperature than the other. As your meat and vegetables start to cook through, you can move them to a cooler area to slow down the process.
Tools of the Trade
Keep all your grilling equipment within reach while you’re cooking: a metal spatula, heavy duty metal tongs, a good grill brush, and a small squirt bottle (used to douse any flare-ups), should always be nearby.
Select Fresh Proteins and Vegetables
If you’re planning to grill steak make sure it’s fresh, like we use at LongHorn Steakhouse, and never frozen. Fresh chicken, fish, and vegetables (such as zucchini, onions, artichokes, and cauliflower), are also perfect for summertime grilling.
Seared Diamond Marks
Searing your food locks in flavor, while creating those great grill marks which are synonymous with summer. Grill your steak for two or three minutes on one side, then give it a quarter turn, flip it, and repeat, to get those signature char lines.
Test for Doneness
You can test for when your meat is done in two ways. Firstly, you could use a meat thermometer. Steaks should be minimum 120-130 degrees F if you like it rare, and up to 170 degrees F if you prefer your steak well-done. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can estimate its doneness with your hand: Start with an open, relaxed palm, and using your other hand, touch the smooth area directly under your thumb. That’s how a rare steak should feel when you touch it with your tongs. If you touch your thumb and forefinger, that demonstrates a medium steak. Thumb and middle finger is medium-well, and thumb and pinky is well-done.
Use Your Tongs
Only use tongs to touch your meat. Poking with a fork to rotate or pull it from the grill will let the juices and flavor out.
Let it Rest
Make sure you let your steaks and other proteins rest for at least two minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat, so that it has the best possible flavor.
These grilling tips are courtesy of Chef Josh Evans, Executive Chef at LongHorn Steakhouse.