Summertime is a great time to have family and friends over for an outdoor barbecue. Whether you’re talking about hot dogs and hamburgers, or chicken, steaks and spareribs, you want to make sure you have your grilling technique down. More often than not, for those of us who don’t grill on a regular basis or for those willing something somewhat unique for a special occasion, the question arises, “how long does it take to grill chicken?”, or “how long to grill filet mignon on an outdoor gas grill?” (if you’re lucky enough to be grilling filet mignon!). Because the last thing you want to do is have everybody over for a get together and then end up burning or under cooking the main meal. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to outdoor grilling.
One of the main things to keep in mind is that outdoor grills very tremendously in the amount of heat they produce. Whether it’s a charcoal grill, gas grill, electric gas grill or natural wood-burning barbecue pit, usually each is almost as unique as the chef cooking on it. Until you get to know your grill and know how hot it cooks, or even what areas of the grill tend to get hotter, you’re going to have to accept that it’s going to be somewhat a game of trial and error. Of course, by following some typical guidelines and keeping a close eye on your food, you should come out with some delicious grub.
If you’re just getting started in the outdoor grilling arena, one thing that is highly recommended is keeping a notebook. His may sound odd, but trust me. Because of the variables mentioned above associated with your grill, plus variables associated with different cuts of meat in different cooking styles, you don’t want to rely solely on your memory. If, as you grill each meal, you record in your notebook things such as the starting temperature (ballpark ranges are fine), type of meat to be cooked, area of the grill used, temperature of the meat when you started, and of course how long you left things on the grill and the final outcome (ie, was it a success). This way, when you come back to do it again whether it be a week, a month, or the following season, you’ll have a good starting off point and a basic road map to increase the chances of success.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many times we will cook better if it isn’t thrown on the grill totally cold. In other words, allow your meat to sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before placing it on the grill. This will help reduce the chances of toughness.
Another way of making sure your meat remains as tender as possible is to be sure to use Palms rather than a fork when you turn the meat. Using a fork will repeat a leap year semi letting out all the Jews and leading to a much tougher and result. If you do want to pierce the meat near the end of the cooking cycle to check for doneness, use the thickest part of meat. If this one is done, then certainly the others are as well. If you’re cooking chicken look for the juices to run clear, not opaque. Clear juice signals that the chicken is fully cooked and ready to be taken off the heat.