Gas Grill: Getting Over Your Fear of Grilling
Many families think of grilling as the man’s turf — which is fine, as long as the man actually grills! I used to be intimidated by cooking over fire, and rarely touched the grill. Now that I’m over the initial fear, I love how quickly and flavorfully the grill helps me make Scramble meals. Here are some of my favorite tips for safe and easy grilling:
- Before turning it on (or after turning the gas grill off), clean the grill with a metal scraper, and coat the grates with nonstick cooking spray or rub it with some cooking oil on a paper towel, so food doesn’t stick to the grates.
- Preheat gas grills for about 10 minutes on high with the cover closed, and preheat charcoal grills for 30 minutes until the coals are grey. The grill should be very hot before you start to cook.
- If you have a gas grill, keep a spare tank of propane to avoid running out of gas mid-dinner prep. If this does happen to you, as it has to many of us, you can substitute your broiler for the grill. Just keep the rack about 5 or 6 inches from the heating element. (Think of it as an upside down grill).
- Both gas and charcoal grills cook more efficiently with the cover closed — this also helps avoid flare-ups.
- Many vegetables, fish fillets, and even tofu and sliced bread can be grilled with great results, as long as the pieces are big enough or you use foil or a grilling tray to keep food from falling through the grates.
- To keep meat juicy, don’t pierce it or press down on the meat with a spatula while it’s cooking. Trim visible fat before grilling, and rotate food around the grill after you flip it to cook it evenly.
- Don’t put cooked meat back on the dish with its raw juices and potentially harmful bacteria.
- My friend Cathy Barrow (a.k.a. Mrs. Wheelbarrow) suggests buying a $20 headlamp from L.L. Bean for year-round grilling.
- Turn off and clean the grill as soon as you’re done cooking — it’s easy to forget to do that later.
- Finally, my husband Andrew and I find it more relaxing to grill in advance for company, and serve the food cold or reheat it when guests are ready to eat. That way we get to actually enjoy the company, rather than sweat over the grill.
For 5 more excellent grilling tips, visit my friend Chef Danielle Turner’s site, Cooking Clarified. And for some great recipes, try our Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Portobello Mushroom Fajitas, Grilled Pomegranate Chicken, Grilled Island Chicken, Grilled Pork and Pineapple Kabobs and Grilled Trout with Fresh Herbs and Lemon Slices.