Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY ERIC SOIMES
A spring breeze blows in, leaving all thoughts of winter – along with any worries
you have — behind. The sun and warmth reminds us that summer is coming and for
some of us that means it’s time to light up the grills.
Man has grilled food since the discovery of fire. There’s something special about cooking a slab of meat over a fire that makes it taste that much better, whether that meat is a big juicy steak, hamburger, hotdog or sausage. There are secrets
to a perfect barbecued piece of meat. Just ask any cook or self-professed backyard grill master.
First is the decision to cook with either gas or charcoal. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to the age old question of gas or charcoal, but to answer which one is better, a griller must try both.
“Barbecuing is an art form, and it takes a lot of practice to get it just right,” said Miguel Jimenez, who worked as a cook in Fuddruckers for three years.
Luckily the secrets of great grilling apply to both gas and charcoal barbecuing. The most important tip for the perfect grilling is do less. Touch the meat less. Flip the meat as little as possible. Let the meat cook without interference.
“The mistake that most people do is flip their steak or burger too much. One flip, when you see the juice is all you need, and when you see the juice again it is done,” said Miguel.
It’s a rule used by people who prefer their meat medium rare. For meat without any pink the middle, a griller would need to cook it for a little more time.
“Slow cooking on medium-low or low flame is the best way to go. Cooking on high heat doesn’t cook things faster, it just burns the food quicker.” Miguel said this secret was true for cooking on the stovetop as well.
Miguel also said where you place the burger or steak on the grill is important. For a nice slow-cooked burger or steak, a good griller should feel out the grill’s hottest spots and place the meat around the hot areas.
It’s important to remember safety while grilling. When looking for the hot spots, hold your hand over the flame, far enough away that you don’t get burned.
The last tip Miguel revealed for a prefect barbecue takes place right before grilling.
“The simplest thing is just clean the barbecue before cooking,” said Miguel.
Cleaning the grill will help the flames burn better, and the taste of the food will be better as well. A clean grill equals good food.
Follow these simple grilling rules and become a backyard grill master, even if it’s just on the terrace of your apartment building.