How to Cook Delicious Food on the Grill
As in the case of the other cooking methods, the grill has several important rules and secrets, which are simply necessary for everyone who wants to achieve perfection in street cooking.
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Your grill is a thing in itself, a full kitchen on the street. You can see a lot of new opportunities, from salads with bright summer grilled vegetables, to hearty dishes from grilled chicken and fish, and even grilled fruit desserts. This brief guide contains the basics to help you get to cook on the grill, and how to practice you will do it almost with your eyes closed.
What is a Grill?
Grilling involves cooking on a grill over a heat source, usually coal or ceramic briquettes, heated by a gas burner. Direct exposure to heat quickly burns the surface of the food, creating a distinctive, rich aroma, sometimes with pleasant “burnt” notes, and a wonderful crust. If food is cooked on moderate heat, it will acquire not only a crust but also a more intense aroma of smoke.
In addition to what we call the grill here and later in this article, there are other devices and ways to imitate grilling. One of them is a grill pan, a heavy pan with a grooved bottom, which allows you to fry foods over high heat with a minimum of butter, getting a delicious “grid” that is imprinted on their surface.
When choosing between a gas or coal grill, be guided by what suits you best: the end result will be very similar, if not the same. Of course, dishes cooked on a charcoal grill have a wonderful aroma, but it can be brought with the help of chips added at the right moment.
For greater versatility, choose a grill with a large frying top and lid. In the US, where grill championships are held, two-thirds of shoppers prefer gas grills because of its convenience and the persistent heat produced by the gas burner, the rest choose the traditional charcoal heat.
Another family of grills is electric street grills, in which the heat source is a spiral located under the grate, heated with electricity. This is a very convenient device that makes cooking on the grill almost hassle-free, but you will not take it with you to a picnic, so this is a choice for those who prefer cooking in the backyard of an out-of-town cottage.
Among other useful tools that you will need in the process of cooking on the grill, I will mention the following:
- Coal igniter.
- Long tongs.
- Lubrication brush.
- Thick mittens.
- Wire brush.
- Disposable foil dishes.
- Meat thermometer.
Direct and Indirect Heat
The basis of the grilling workshop is the correct use of two types of heat, direct and indirect. The difference between them lies in how you place the products relative to the heat source, that is, a bunch of coals or heated briquettes, as well as in adjusting the heat with a cover.
For thin slices of meat that are cooked quickly (cutlets, steaks, chops, etc.), and for most vegetables, direct heat is best suited – the food is located directly above the heat source, and the lid usually does not close.
As well as the usual roasting, this method involves rapid cooking with strong heating, and is not suitable for large pieces, because due to the strong heat, the surface of the meat will burn before it is cooked inside.
For food that requires a longer cooking time (for example, pork shoulder or whole chicken), indirect heat is used — the coals are shoveled in one or two piles, and food is set aside from them so that hot air circulates around it.
When using this method, the grill is covered with a lid, which creates convection heat. This is a more delicate method of grilling, and with it you can completely cook large pieces, preventing them from burning.
The simplest rule for determining the appropriate method of grilling is: if the dish is cooked for less than 20-25 minutes, use direct heat, otherwise, indirect heat.
An exception is the fillet of large fish, which is better with indirect heat, although it could be cooked directly above the fire in less than 15 minutes. The fish fillet is so tender that in direct heat it will cook too fast and dry. In addition, if the skin burns, a fishy taste will appear, which many do not like. When using indirect heat, the fish will cook in the best possible way and preserve juiciness.
Heat the grill at maximum heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the cooking method you intend to use. This will help burn any leftovers from previous grill use, so it will be easy to clean them off.
Then, go over the grill with a bang, preferably with copper bristles – the steel can damage the enamel of some grills (if you do not have a copper brush, crumple up the foil sheet, clamp it with forceps and wipe the grill).
Thoroughly clean the grate rods to remove food residue from previous cooking. Repeat this procedure before each use of the grill.
Before the summer season starts, heat the grill at maximum heat for an hour, and then clean the grill. This should be done only once, to prepare the grille for the season. In fact, by burning everything you can, you use the principle of a self-cleaning oven for your grill.
Stirring Up The Grill
If you have a gas grill, simply turn on the burners to maximum power. If you intend to use indirect heat, turn off one side of the grill after heating.
In the case of a charcoal grill, the simplest method of kindling charcoal or logs is to use a starter, a special ignition device. If you don’t have one, just use lighter fluid or a crumpled newspaper to burn coal. Let the coal burn until it is covered with white-gray ash, the appearance of which indicates the achievement of the most suitable temperature for cooking.
If you use the direct method, evenly distribute the coal over the entire surface of the grill, otherwise separate the coal and move it to the side from the center of the grill, under which you place the disposable aluminum dish.
Place food over a dish that will catch dripping fat and direct heat towards food. Many cooks move coal to one side of the grill, leaving the other empty – but the distribution of coal on all sides of the food (if space permits) creates a steady heat that envelops it.
How to Cook on The Grill
Actually, in the process of cooking on the grill, there is nothing difficult, it is only important to maintain the desired temperature and look after the products so that they do not burn or, on the contrary, do not dry out.
To maintain the desired temperature on the gas grill is very easy, you just need to turn the knob. On the charcoal grill, the heat is controlled by vents. In order not to limit the flow of air, do not cover the holes in the bottom of the grill with charcoal.
In addition, leave a hole on the top of the grill open at least partially. The more you open the air vents, the more intense the heat will be. If you need an average temperature, cover the holes by about half.
Lubricate the food (not the grill) with oil or marinade in order to enhance the caramelization and the appearance of these famous grill strips, as well as to avoid sticking. If you do not grease the food, the juices will evaporate as it is cooked, and it will turn out dry – this is especially true for cooking pieces of vegetables.
Recipes for Grill and Barbecue – a Selection of the Best
Grill recipes have gained immense popularity, it is tasty, appetizing and very exciting. On the grill, you can cook not only traditional kebabs, but also fresh vegetables, and even fruits. Dishes cooked on the grill have a rich aroma with a slight savory taste of smoke and crispy crust and are quite easy to prepare if you know certain basics.
The grilled dishes have a crisp crust, an appetizing “smoky” aroma, and a pleasant, slightly bitter taste. Recipes for grilling are easy to prepare. An amateur cooker can raise cooking at a restaurant level and even add a vegetable salad recipe.
The basic set of cooking appliances consists of a spatula and long tongs for turning the products, a brush for lubricating the grate with oil, and thick mittens. Do not miss the moment when the meat dish reaches readiness, you can use a thermometer for meat. It is better to determine the internal temperature of a steak with a thermometer than to pierce it and release the juice.
To maintain the cleanliness of the grill grate, you can buy a wire brush. In haste, it is easy to build a replacement brush from a crumpled ball of foil clamped with forceps. With a brush or foil, you need to rub the hot grill: all food residues will easily move away.
A variety of products are suitable for grilling: vegetables, poultry, meat, fish. You can start with simple recipes. It is important to remember that all products are laid out on a pre-heated and oiled grill.
Baked vegetable salad is a dish that deserves attention. It is prepared easily and quickly.
- Salad dressing.
- Olive oil – 3 tbsp. l.
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp. l.
- Mustard – 1 tsp.
Prepare vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, onions cut into pieces with a thickness of 1 centimeter. Pepper to remove the stem and seeds, divided into several parts. Tomato can be cut into ready-made salad or baked whole.
Put the pepper on the grill. Fry a little. Then remove and put in a closed container so that the pepper has come to readiness.
Fry the remaining vegetables on each side until grill strips appear. After that, transfer them to the baked pepper. If the tomato is used fresh, at this stage, chop it and add to the salad.
Add chopped garlic and herbs to the salad.
Prepare the dressing: beat butter, lemon juice and mustard a little, salt and pepper. Add dressing to vegetables and mix. Salad of baked vegetables is ready. It can be submitted separately or add them to poultry, meat or fish cooked on the grill.
Cooking a Bird
Grilled chicken fillet can be used to prepare an interesting dish in the spirit of the best Italian traditions.
- Chicken breast fillet – 4 pcs.
- Mozzarella cheese – 100 g.
- Basil – 12 leaves.
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp. l.
Prepare foods: cut mozzarella into thin slices. Each filet of the fillet is cut horizontally so as to get a “pocket”. Cut to the end is not necessary.
The resulting chicken “pockets” expand and sprinkle with salt and pepper inside. Fill the fillet with cheese slices, cover them with 3 basil leaves and fold the halves. Covered “pocket” smeared with olive oil. The layout on the grill.
Cook the dish under the lid. On one side, fry the fillets for up to 4 minutes, turn them over and continue frying, occasionally turning them over for another 10-12 minutes.
Fragrant chicken fillet is ready.
A classic among grilled meat dishes – beef steak.
- Beefsteak weighing approximately 600 gr. – 1 PC.
- Lime (need 2 tsp. Zest and some juice)
- Ground black pepper.
- Chili pepper ground.
Mix in a bowl grated lime zest with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the meat with lime juice, then grate the beef with the spice mixture.
Put the steak on the grill and grill for 7-8 minutes. Then turn to the other side and fry for 7-8 minutes. To preserve the juiciness of the meat when cutting into pieces after removing it from the grill, it needs a little “rest” – about 5 minutes. To steak is easy to chew, you need to cut it across the grain.
Fish lovers will appreciate the salmon steak.
- Salmon steak – 800 gr.
- Lime – 1 pc.
- Green chili pepper – 2 pcs.
- Olive oil.
Prepare the seasoning mixture: grate the lime zest and pre-peeled ginger, chop the chili and basil. All mix and salt. Add a little olive oil.
Wash the fish, blotted with napkins so that no water droplets remain. Grate with seasoning mixture, sprinkle with lime juice and leave to marinate for 15 minutes.
Put the salmon on the grill. Fry on both sides until stripes appear. Put the prepared salmon on the dish and sprinkle again with a small amount of lime or lemon juice.
These simple recipes will allow you to save the benefits of each ingredient and nourish guests with a hearty meal.