Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Charcoal Grilling and the tips to success

So I've decided to graduate to the charcoal grill. I mean they say it does add flavor to the meat and I would like to say I have some actual skill. But where do I start? Well here's some steps I have gathered on how to succeed. I guess the first thing is whether or not I want to try using lighter fluid or go with the chimney starts like the pro's recommend. Why do they swear by a chimney? No lighter fluid smell or taste, and they say it starts the charcoal evenly and faster.
Next of course is how much to use. Here more is better, but a rough estimate is enough to cover the area of food being cooked. Does that make sense? If you are going to have enough burgers to cover a single plate, maybe 4 or 5 then enough charcoals to cover that same plate in a single layer. If you are going to cook for 20 then you'll need enough charcoals to cover a larger area with a single layer. Here too we are only working with food that is being grilled or cooked in under 20 minutes. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken breasts, or steaks.
So to start you simply fill the charcoal chimney first with newspaper then your charcoal briquets. Light the paper then let it sit for about 20 minutes. You should have all your briquets grayed then they are ready. Dump them out into the grill and spread them into a single layer. One thing that seems to help also is to oil the grill with cooking oil, probably easier to do before lighting the charcoal briquets. Next before you are ready to put the meat down you want to create two separate cooking areas. One for direct heat (searing the meat, or making those nice grill lines) this will also lock in the moisture and the flavor. Another area for indirect cooking where you can cook the meat slower and insure that the inside of the meat is cooked properly. To do this simply keep all the charcoal briquets to one side of the grill.
Now take your steaks or burgers and sear them on the hot side. 1-2 minutes on each side then transfer them over to the cooler side and cook them for about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness and how cooked you want them. Now here I will also note that I've learned a couple tips about keeping moisture in.
  1. Don't stab the meat. Use tongs or a spatula.
  2. Don't press the meat. Yes it makes an impressive flare up of fire but it also drys out the meat.
  3. Keep a spray bottle of water handy for any flame ups.

Now take the potato salad out of the fridge and you should all be ready to eat. Don't worry if more show up the coals should stay hot enough for at least an hour. Good Luck and let me know how it goes.

1 comment:

Charcoalmaster said...

Get a good grill. We make charcoal grills and cook on them for a living. I'm not going to link drop, but there are some grill out there that will make it easy, and some websites that have great recipes and how to's.