America is the land of the free and the home of countless people, mostly men, who consider themselves experts on grilling. Here are some simple suggestions for everyone else that hopefully can improve your grilling techniques. I use charcoal, so all ideas and suggestions are based on using a charcoal grill.
Remember that grilling is not just for meat. It also provides a wonderful way to cook vegetables. When cooking vegetables, the microwave is your friend for denser items, such as sweet potatoes, onions, Irish potatoes, and acorn squash. Learning how long to microwave vegetables is largely a matter of practice and experience. It is better to set your timer for too little time and then add additional time until the vegetable seems about ¾ done. Then brush it with olive oil, sprinkle it with appropriate seasonings and plop it on the grill over medium heat. Other vegetables that contain more liquid, such as crookneck squash and eggplant do not require so much cooking and do not need to be precooked in the microwave before grilling. They do need to be brushed with olive oil and seasonings. With a little imagination and practice, grilled vegetables can become a favorite part of your cooked-on-the-grill meal.
Steaks, hamburgers, and sausages are some of the meats most often cooked on a grill. They are all simple and fun to prepare.
For succulent steaks, it is best to cook them as soon as possible after purchasing them. Keep them out of the freezer. If you must freeze them, make the time they spend frozen as brief as you can. Some simple suggestions for grilling steak:
• Have steaks at room temperature when placed on the grill.
• Have the bed of charcoal slightly larger than the area the steaks cover.
• Be sure the charcoal has burned until it is hot, with plenty of gray ash showing – medium high temperature.
• Season steaks with your favorite rub while the charcoal is getting hot enough to cook.
• Sear steaks on both sides to seal in juices.
• Then, for a 1 ¼-inch thickness: cook 2-3 minutes on each side for rare (120°-129° F), 6-7 minutes on each side for medium well-done (150°-159° F), or somewhere in between, depending on your preference.
• After cooking, let steaks rest 5 minutes before serving.
Hamburgers are simple to prepare.
• Buy high-quality meat, but avoid lean and extra lean varieties. Either will make drier burgers.
• Use plenty of salt, pepper, and, if you like it, garlic powder.
• Make patties about ¾ of an inch thick and a little larger around than the buns you will use.
• Let your charcoal get to a high heat before placing the patties on the grill.
• Grill for 5-6 minutes on each side. They will be medium well-done when a thermometer registers 160° F.
• Enjoy them with plenty of sliced tomatoes, onions, cheese, and all the trimmings on your bun.
Sausages may be the simplest of all meats to cook on the grill. Simply prepare a hot fire; slice each sausage almost in half, so they will lay flat on the grill; put them on to cook. Keep the grill’s lid on tight with the vents open, to keep the flames down. Cook until they look done, bring them in, and make some wonderful sandwiches by teaming them with hot dog buns, chopped onions, pickle relish, grated cheese, and whatever else you like on this type of sandwich.
Grilling is a simple, fun way to prepare delicious food. Go forth and do it!