Fresh Meat Grilling Guide
The summer season is really a whole bunch of seasons rolled into oneâ€¦ pool season, beach season, baseball season and of course, grilling season! Grilling is quick, communal and a fun way to bring friends and family together. The next time you pick up fresh steaks, burgers or chops, use this grilling guide for delicious results!
The Great Debate: Charcoal or Gas?
Everyone seems to have a preference, but itâ€™s always good to evaluate your options! Gas grills burn cleaner, environmentally speaking, releasing less carbon dioxide and soot into the environment. They can also be easier to control with regard to temperature, pre-heating, and evenness of heat. However, gas grills are less portable than charcoal grills, and some grillers miss the smoky flavor charcoal provides. That flavor may be a result of the aromatic compound guaiacol, which is formed as the charcoal breaks down and burns, imparting a spicy, â€śbaconyâ€ť aroma to grilled foods. From a health standpoint, there is little difference between grilling on gas versus charcoal.
Always Take Your Temperatures!
This goes for the grill itself as well as the finished product. The pre-heating step is an important one, as it helps to reduce issues with food sticking to the grate and ensures a sear on contact. Depending on the recipe instructions, preheat your grill to high (400-450Â° F), medium-high (350-400Â° F), medium (300-350Â° F) or low (250-300Â° F), allowing 15-20 minutes for the desired temperature to be reached. Once you feel that your items are finished cooking, always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature according to the following USDA safety guidelines:
- Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb and fresh (uncooked) Ham: 145Â° F with a 3-minute rest time
- Ground Meats: 160Â° F
- Poultry: 165Â° F
- Fish and Shellfish: 145Â° F
Know Your Flavor Options
For certain cuts of meat, the right sauce can be the difference between pretty tasty and downright delicious. Depending on your cooking method, your meat and the amount of time available for cooking, a marinade, rub, â€śmopâ€ť or simple sauce will give you a way to cook with even more flavor.
Marinade: Letting meat marinade in an oil or liquid mixture for up to 3 hours is best for leaner cuts of meat that may dry out or taste bland during cooking.
Dry Rub: Pat a spice or herb rub generously onto meat 15-20 minutes before cooking. Rubs are excellent for forming crusts on meat with higher fat content, like ribs and chops.
â€śMopâ€ť Sauce: Tougher cuts that are cooked â€ślow and slowâ€ť work well with a thin â€śmopâ€ť sauce like beer or vinegar. Brush at regular intervals during cooking.
Simple Sauce: Sweet sauces like barbecue sauce are best applied in the last few minutes of cooking. This lets the sauce caramelize without burning; watch the meat closely after youâ€™ve brushed on the sauce.