I’ve been around the grill all of my life and until college I hated it. I remember summers when my dad would by massive amounts food and charcoal and we’d be out in the blazing sun all day preparing a grilled feast. My Dad, although having tons of Mc Donald’s fry cook experience (See Fryon? My Cooking Journey) isn’t the best griller. He simply overcooks things, to the point of lifelessness.
It was until I pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, to which my father is also a member, that I learned how to grill. I learned the most from two of the older members, Applewhite and C-Murder. Both guys are experts on the grill. Every homecoming they would break out their grilles/smokers and cook restaurant quality BBQ. They even smoked a whole hog some years. The entire campus would come to our area to get a plate. When I was a new pledge it was my duty to maintain the grill. That meant keep the fire going and cook the hot dogs, hamburgers, and sausages. I got so into it that when they retired their homecoming grills, I took over the grilling duties and trained up some of the younger members. It was during that time I really learn to appreciate the grill and learned these quick tips that can help you make great grilled food. Here they are:
- Burn the coals first- If you’re using a coal grill you have to burn the coals white before you start cooking. Otherwise your food will taste like lighter fluid. You’ll start your first batch of coals in the grill to get it to temperature. After you’ve gotten those coal white and hot your ready to cook. If you need to heat additional coals to keep the fire hot, you achieve this by burning off the coals in a metal trash can (unused of course) or metal barrel. Then scoop the fresh hot coals into the grill when they turn white. If you don’t have either of those you can use a disposable aluminum pan. If you go the cheap route be sure to sufficiently wet the ground you’re working on first. Otherwise you’ll start a fire. You might want to do that regardless.
- Have a hot and cool side- For Gas and coal grills you always want to have a hot side and a cool side. This helps if your fire kicks up too hot. It gives you a place to put your food until the flame calms. This also helps if you have sufficiently charred your food but it has not reach the proper internal temperature. You can continue cooking it on lower heat until it reaches proper temperature. You achieve the hot and cool side with a coal grill by piling more coals on one side than the other. After you’ve burned your coals off, pile the fresh hot coals together for the hot side. As they cool move them over and that starts your cool side. For gas just turn half of the burners down or off.
- Char first, then bake- A grill is basically a glorified oven. To ensure that you don’t over cook your food, give it a nice char to lock in the flavor. Then move it to the cool side or top rack and shut the lid to cook it to temperature.
- Keep the heat in- Newcomers to the grill have the tendency to continuously open the lid to check the meats. That’s not the best practice because you let the heat and all of that good smoke out. Smoke = Flavor!
- Low and slow- Grilling is a game of patience. Work with lower heat and infuse as much smokey charred flavor as you can.
- If you’re not serving immediately, cook it a little under– If you’re prepping for a cookout and anticipate food sitting in the oven or on a Sterno, cook it slightly under. Just enough so that by the time it’s ready to serve it will be at the desired internal temperature. If you’re serving immediately cook it to temperature.
- Buy a thermometer- Look, lets not play the guessing game. Buy a thermometer so you’ll know exactly when your meat is done to your liking. If you don’t have a thermometer you’ll have to work with what I like to call the “Jesus piece.” That’s the thickest pieces of meat you’re cooking. You’ll have to sacrifice it (get it? lol) by cutting it open to check for doness. Based on that, you get a relative gauge on the rest of the meat you’re cooking.
Follow these steps and you’re on your way to successful grilling. Stay Tuned for #TheGrillingBruhz part 2. On that Post we’ll talk all about getting the best flavor!
Share your pics of your grilled creations and of you grilling with a Husky Boys T on IG and Facebook with the hashtag #HuskyBoysGrill