Cooking on a charcoal Grill
With Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial start of summer) coming up, many of us have the same thing in mind: firing up the grill. While gas is certainly convenient, there's something truly special about meals prepared on a charcoal grill. Those juicy burgers, sausages, and chicken also come bearing a smoky taste, purely reminiscent of the outdoors and summertime. But before getting started, whether you're a novice or a master griller, be sure to steer clear of these five common mistakes.
1. Not cleaning public grill grates before cooking.
Charcoal grills require some cleaning and maintenance to make sure they function and cook properly. This goes for you own grill in the backyard and the ones found in public parks and at campsites. While public grills are perfectly safe to use, you should give them a quick cleaning before tossing your food on.
Follow this tip: Whether you're planning to fire up a charcoal grill at home or one in a public space, the first order of business should always be cleaning the grates to ensure there's no stuck-on food. This is especially important when using public grills since you don't know what was cooked on there previously, or the last time it was cleaned.
Preheat the grill and then use a stiff wire brush to remove any charred debris from the grates. Not only will this prevent those old food bits from getting stuck to what you're grilling, but clean grates also make for nicer grill marks.
More: How To Clean a Charcoal Grill
2. Adding food to the grill too soon.
Grilling takes patience — especially as it's heating up. When you jump the gun and add food before the grill is fully preheated, it's very likely to stick to the grates, and it can impart off-flavors on the food if you're cooking with briquettes.
Follow this tip: The grill needs to get good and hot before any food is added. After lighting the grill, cover it with the lid and let the charcoal heat up for at least 15 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it looks gray and ashy.
3. Using the wrong type of heat for what you're cooking.
When using a charcoal grill, the charcoal acts as a direct heat source. Cooking food directly over hot charcoal is similar to cooking over high heat on a gas grill. Some foods are better cooked over direct (or high) heat, while others benefit from indirect (or low to medium) heat. When not using the best heat source for the job, you run the risk of undercooking, overcooking, or even burning a meal.
Follow this tip: Before adding the charcoal to the grill, consider what you're cooking. This will determine whether direct, indirect, or a mix of both is the best option for you, and whether to spread the charcoal over the whole grill or just a portion. Foods like burgers, hot dogs, steak, and chicken breast all benefit from direct heat since they have a relatively quick cook time, while larger foods with a longer cook time (like whole chicken, pork loin, and ribs) are best cooked over indirect heat.
4. Not using the vents on a charcoal grill.
Unlike a gas grill, charcoal grills have vents, typically located on the hood and on the bottom of the grill. These parts of the grill control air flow, which is essential to keep the charcoal burning, and for controlling temperature. Two things can happen when you forget to either open or close the vents: The charcoal may burn out before your food is finished cooking, or the heat may soar way too high, potentially burning your food.
Follow this tip: Adjust the vents as you preheat the grill and during cooking to control the temperature. For extra air flow, keep the vents open when lighting and preheating the grill. If it seems like your food is cooking too quickly, try closing the vents a bit to lower the temperature. Or if you want to raise the heat, try opening the vents a bit.
5. Lifting the lid too much.
Unlike ovens and gas grills that lose heat when the lid is opened, the opposite happens with charcoal grills. Opening the lid feeds extra oxygen to the coals, which causes them to burn even hotter and ups the potential for burning food.
Follow this tip: Open the lid to flip food and check its progress, but keep the lid closed as much as possible. This is especially important when cooking larger items that benefit from cooking over indirect heat for a longer period of time, like ribs or a pork shoulder.university of west georgia south university login university tees purdue university global texas university california baptist university university of cincinnati olivet nazarene university mount saint mary's university hawaii university william penn university where is clemson university post university university of miami hospital emporia state university georgia state university catholic university of america university of bridgeport longwood university st andrews university andrews university husson university arkansas state university western connecticut state university university of hawaii manoa seton hill university receivables performance management embry riddle aeronautical university longwood university devry university loyola university maryland towson university saint martin's university appalachian state university drury university property management san diego xavier university of louisiana locations property management academy of art university augustana university where is purdue university university of california san francisco jackson state university buffalo university old dominion university university of miami acceptance rate mary baldwin university abbreviation for management university of washington medical center university of new mexico duquesne university central florida university morehead state university oregon university toledo state university dillard university nc state university indiana university basketball university of phoenix university of vermont university near me st ambrose university quinnipiac university loyola university keiser university blackboard granite state management & resources rushmore loan management claflin university jordan 9 university gold university of colorado boulder scrum project management austin peay state university university of michigan dearborn santa clara university maryville university dominican university heidelberg university sl account management irvine university of phoenix login claflin university western oregon university financial peace university university of bridgeport webber international university virginia union university point university university of maryland faulkner university dalhousie university university of glasgow university blue jordan 1 project management methodologies jacksonville state university alabama state university university of st thomas university of california riverside trevecca nazarene university desales university money management international central michigan university saint leo university lasell university cable management box point university university of alaska anchorage university of louisville university of detroit mercy neumann university university of alberta auburn university difference between college and university north carolina central university north carolina central university chronic care management university of tennessee chattanooga southern illinois university university of cincinnati football elmhurst university colorado mesa university shepherd university duke university hospital governors state university seattle pacific university concord university