Five Ways to Take Your Summer Grilling to a Whole New Level
reprinted with permission from brandpoint
The bright, sunny days of summer are your favorite time of year, and when the season arrives, you spend much of your time outdoors. Your yard becomes your living room, and you move your cooking to the grill.
Summer is grilling season, and there is nowhere you’d rather be than standing in front of your favorite grill for every game day, holiday, and weekend cookout. These events are when some of your best memories are made, and now is the perfect time to make this grilling season your best yet. To do just that, here are five ways you can up your grilling game in 2017.
Switch to lump charcoal.
The number one reason people grill with lump charcoal is because of the enhanced wood-fire flavor it imparts. When most people think of charcoal, they inherently think of it as briquettes and miss out on the natural advantages of its alternative, lump charcoal. Lump charcoal accounts for only 7 percent of the market, but the figure is growing steadily as more grill masters recognize the improved flavor. When you grill with lump charcoal, you’ll enjoy a quick, hot burn with less ash production. Lump charcoal is also natural and widely available in an array of varieties, allowing you to find the perfect charcoal to match your menu.
Use a smarter starter fluid.
Lighter fluid is a mainstay around the grill when you want to get cooking quickly. The chemical taste it leaves behind, however, poses a serious drawback. The reason you get that petrochemical taste is because the chemical vapor from the fluid gets into the food. You can gain the benefits of a quick burn without the chemical taste by using Smarter Starter Fluid. Made from recycled restaurant cooking oil, Smarter Starter Fluid doesn’t smell like traditional petroleum-based alternatives, so you’ll never have to worry about it corrupting the taste of your food. Being made from recycled cooking oil, Smarter Starter Fluid makes it safe for use around kids and pets. The result is 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, so you can feel as good about your environmental impact as you do your grilling. And, it’s perfectly suited for use on lump charcoal.
Customize the smoke flavor.
Lump charcoal already lends itself a natural smoke flavor when compared to briquettes, but to really customize that flavor in your food, you can complement your lump charcoal with wood chips or chunks. Chips are smaller and more readily available in most stores, but they burn faster. Chunks burn more slowly and give you a better chance to lock in that unique smoke flavor. Once you pick a wood size, it’s time to pick a flavor. Apple, cherry, oak, mesquite, and hickory are just a few of your options, so don’t be afraid to explore several. Whatever you’re planning to smoke, there’s a chip or chunk out there that offers the perfect flavor complement.
Take control of your temperature.
In the hands of an experienced grill master, the uneven heat offered by charcoal grills is a benefit, not a drawback. Creating two zones on your grill will give you the strong, searing heat of the fire on one side, and indirect heat on the other side to cook your meat all the way through. To accomplish this, pour charcoal into one half of the grill—this will be your direct heat source—and leave the other half empty as your indirect heating zone. Heartier meats like steak can then be cooked for two minutes on each side in the direct zone and allowed to finish cooking in the indirect zone, where you’ll lock in the entire flavor without burning your meat.
Target the topmost temperature.
To be sure your food is cooked to perfection, a temperature thermometer is a must. Dark meat chicken or turkey should be cooked to 175˚F, while white meat should be cooked to 165˚F. Beef and lamb should be cooked to 130˚F (for a rare result) all the way to 170˚F or higher for well done. And if your menu calls for brisket, keep the meat cooking until it reaches 185˚F to 205˚F.
You look forward to the summer grilling season all year. Now that it’s here, don’t let a single opportunity pass you by. Apply the tips above, and you’ll take your time-honored pastime to a whole new level in 2017.