When the weather gets warm, sweet summer breezes carry amazing fragrances that beckon us to head outdoors and fire up our grills. Our real estate agents are thrilled to show you beautiful New England properties that boast patios and spacious gardens that make perfect spaces for summer grilling. If this sounds like your ideal way to spend a lazy weekend, check out these tips to make your summer grilling extra delicious this year.
Grilling Tips for This Summer
- Scrub that Grill
Make use of that heavy brass wire brush that came with your grill and scrub all remnants of last night's meal from the grates. This job is best done when the grill is still hot, so it's a good habit to scrub it right after the meal is over. Dip the brush into a bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub the grates. Leave it to cool before rinsing off soap residue.
- Preserve the Juice
Is there anything better than a nice, juicy steak? Then why squeeze out those juices? Searing the exterior of the meat seals in the flavorful fats and moisture. Don't undo that action by flattening the meat with a spatula. When grilling, use a spatula or tongs to turn it and take it up. A fork will pierce the meat and allow the juices to run out into the hot coals leaving the cooked meat dry and tough.
- Use a Meat Thermometer
They say nothing beats experience, but in this case, that isn't really true. Seasoned cooks generally do a great job judging how done the meat is by touching it and checking for the level of firmness, but this is not a fool-proof method. There's no reason to guess when you can accurately check the internal temperature with this very inexpensive tool. A steak is fairly forgiving in that a little over or underdone will still be delicious. Poultry, on the other hand, is actually unsafe if the internal temperature doesn't reach at least 165ºF. Dark meat is at its best between 170º and 175ºF, while the optimal temperature for white meat is 160º to 165ºF. Pork should also cook to a higher temperature than beef.
- Dry Meat Thoroughly
That may seem counterintuitive if you've been marinating the meat for the last 24 hours, but ensuring the surface is dry is critical to a good sear. Excess moisture on the outside means you are essentially boiling the meat instead of grilling it. There are several ways to tackle the process, including letting it sit, uncovered, on a plate in the refrigerator, salting it just before grilling, or blotting it with a paper towel.
- Remove Food from the Grill Early
Once removed from the heat source, food continues to cook. The temperature will actually increase by about five degrees. So, the secret to perfectly cooked is undercooked! If you want a steak to be medium-rare, the internal temperature should be 130º-135ºF. To achieve that, remove it from the grill when the thermometer reads between 125º and 130ºF. Remember when you consult a meat temperature chart that you will need to subtract about five degrees since the food will continue cooking.
- Give it a Rest
After fussing with the meat for hours, from marinading to drying and grilling to just the right temperature, it may be hard to set it aside and leave it alone. But it needs an additional five to fifteen minutes to go through the final phase of preparation. If you get impatient and slice it too soon, all of the delectable juices will run out of the meat and onto the plate. When you allow it to rest, those tasty drippings will distribute themselves throughout the meat. The size of the cut will dictate how long you must let it rest. A thin steak will only need about five minutes, but a London broil or thicker cut will require a full fifteen.
- Be Bold
Often people will limit themselves to steak, chicken, and maybe potatoes or corn, but your grill is far more versatile than that. Balance your meal with fresh vegetables such as asparagus, squash, mushrooms, and onions. Carrots quickly become soft and take on a smokey flavor that can't be beaten, while eggplant develops a creamy interior with a tasty charred exterior. Veal, pork, and lamb are delicious grilled. And don't forget fish and seafood. A grilling basket makes cooking delicate fish fillets much easier and helps keep them from falling apart. Skewers are the best way to keep shrimp from falling through the grates and ensure even cooking. Foil packs with garlic butter and lemon are another great option for cooking shrimp to perfection. Step out of your comfort zone and try some new recipes. You won't regret it!
If you're ready to start grilling for your family and friends in the backyard of your new home, contact us to help you find the perfect venue.