Got the craving for some grilled food? There’s nothing quite like that smoky, savory flavor you get from a good grilled meal. After all, Grill Master was invented for a reason! But if you’re not familiar with how to actually plan and execute a great grilled feast, don’t worry. You can easily become an expert in no time. In this guide, we are going to show you exactly how to prepare grilled food in 8 easy steps. That’s right—no expensive grilling classes or fancy grilling gadgets are required! We’ll cover everything from choosing the right ingredients and grilling equipment, to properly pre-heating your grill and checking the doneness of your meal.
By the time we’re done, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to become a master of your own Grill Master domain. So let’s fire up the grill and get started!
Start With the Right Ingredients
One of the biggest keys to delicious grilled food is using the right ingredients. When you start with fresh ingredients that have been properly stored, you will be well on your way to a tasty dish. Choose meats like chicken breasts, steaks, or fish with no sign of bad smells or discoloration. Vegetables should also be freshly picked and stored correctly to make sure they retain their texture and flavor.
Once you have the right ingredients, it’s time to get prepping. Make sure you clean your grilling area and prepare the food for grilling by trimming away any fat and slicing vegetables into thinner slices so that they cook evenly on the grill. Marinating or basting your meat will also bring out its flavor even more.
Choose the Right Grill
Choosing the right grill is key to getting the tastiest grilled food. Gas grills are great for convenience- especially if you’re short on time- while charcoal grills give you that smoky flavor that can’t be matched by gas ones. If you go for a charcoal grill, opt for one with adjustable vents so you can better control the temperature. Whichever grill you use, make sure it’s well-maintained. Keep it clean and check it regularly to ensure there are no loose parts or rusty bits. It’s also important to consider the size of your grill- measure your space and make sure the size of the grill is proportionate to it. Don’t forget the accessories! Invest in dedicated tools like spatulas, tongs, brushes, and thermometers to help with cooking and cleaning up.
Preheat the Grill
You’ve got your ingredients and grill ready to go, so it’s time to preheat the grill. Preheating is a particularly important step, because it helps you get an evenly-cooked meal.
In order for the grilling process to begin, set the heat on your charcoal or gas grill and make sure you’ve got the lid open—you want to preheat the surface of the entire grill. On a gas grill, you should heat it up on high heat with the bottom vents closed for about 10 minutes. With charcoal, wait until your coals are ashy white. This will help ensure that you get those pleasingly charred marks on your food when it’s time to cook.
Remember, the higher temperature helps seal in the juices so make sure that your fire is hot! The hotter the better!
Oil the Grill
One critical step you must not overlook when grilling is oiling the grill. This helps prevent sticking, especially when you’re grilling leaner proteins like chicken or fish. It also helps keep your food from burning, since the oil forms a barrier between the heat and the food.
To prepare for oiling, start by preheating your grill, then turn off one side of it— that’s where you’ll be oiling. Next, grab a paper towel and dip it in vegetable oil or cooking spray. Then use tongs to hold the paper towel while you pass it over the grates of the preheated side of the grill until they are lightly coated with oil. Make sure to avoid contact with flames as much as possible to avoid flare-ups!
Grill the Food
Once the grill is preheated and oiled, it’s time to put your ingredients on the grill and start cooking. But before you do, take into consideration the size and thickness of your food—thicker cuts of meat may need to cook for longer, while thinner foods may cook too quickly.
Use the proper tools
Having some useful grill tools can go a long way in helping you get great results when grilling. A set of tongs will help you turn your food without damaging it; a spatula or fish turner allows you to flip delicate items without them falling apart; and a digital thermometer or instant-read thermometer will enable you to ensure that everything is cooked properly.
Monitor the food
When grilling food, it’s important that you monitor it carefully as it cooks. Move the food around often so it won’t burn, check for flipping or rotating every few minutes, and use a digital thermometer or instant-read thermometer when needed to make sure your food cooks at the right temperature. Don’t forget to adjust your heat levels as needed!
Don’t forget safety! You should always keep an eye on what’s happening on the grill and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Also make sure that all surfaces are clean, so that bacteria won’t spread from one piece of food to another.
Check the Doneness
The next step to preparing awesome grilled food is to check the doneness. You don’t want to serve something that’s charred and burnt, or worse, underdone.
It’s not always easy to tell when food is ready without cutting into it. But, there are few easy ways that you can ensure the doneness of your food.
Use a thermometer
The most accurate way of checking the doneness of your grilled foods is with a food thermometer. Different meats need different minimum internal temperatures before they are safe and fully cooked through.
Check texture and color
If you don’t want to break out a thermometer, you can also check for doneness by the texture and color of the food. Meat should be firm but not tough when prodded with a fork and fish should easily flake off when pierced with a knife. And all grilled foods should have an appetizing deep brown hue but not black charred marks.
Cut into it
The last resort would be slicing into the meat or fish to check if it’s cooked through properly—but this isn’t recommended as all the juices will be lost in the process. Plus, nobody wants to serve their guests with half-cut pieces of steak or fish!
Let the Food Rest
The seventh step to prepare awesome grilled food is to let the food rest. After taking your food off the grill, you might be tempted to dive right in. But it’s important to let the food rest a bit so that the juices that have collected can redistribute throughout — making your food even more juicy and delicious.
Why Let The Food Rest?
Letting the food rest helps maintain its moisture and keeps its flavors from evaporating into thin air. If you cut into a steak straight from the grill, all of its savory juices will spill out onto your plate, leaving your steak tough and dry. But if you let it rest for about five minutes for every inch of thickness, then all those tasty juices can stick around and give it some added flavor!
The Benefits of Resting Food
Here are some of the benefits of letting your grilled food rest:
- Keeps food moist and juicy
- Redistributes flavor profile
- Gives time to prepare other sides while proteins are resting
- Helps maintain temperatures of different proteins while resting
- Gives assurance that proteins are cooking evenly throughout before serving
By letting each item of grilled food rest before serving, you’ll maximize its flavor and texture—giving each dish an arobustness that’ll make everyone salivate with anticipation!
Serve & Enjoy
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for—it’s time to serve and enjoy your delicious grilled food! Set up your plate with the grilled items, side dishes, condiments and extras. Then, sit back and savor your hard work. Or better yet—share it with friends and family. It’ll be so much more enjoyable if you can share it with people you love.
Enjoy every bite of your meal, knowing that you put in the time to prepare a delicious dish. If things go as planned, you’ll have a masterpiece worthy of being a part of family traditions. Now that’s something to celebrate!
Grilling the perfect meal doesn’t come naturally, but with a little research and practice, anyone can become a grill master. With the eight steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to craft some unforgettable food with ease.
From starting with the right ingredients to using the correct grill type, to preheating, oiling, grilling, checking the doneness, letting it rest, and enjoying the meal, you now have the skills to create a delicious feast. So, grab the tongs, get the ingredients ready and have fun!