Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cooking the Perfect Steak

Steaks are the epitome of barbeque cooking.  Yet, cooking the perfect steak can sometimes seem like an impossible task.  In order to get the steak perfectly charred on the outside, yet juicy on the inside, here are some simple steps to follow.

Have everything ready to go.  The best chefs and barbeque masters know that preparation is the first, and essential step, to making any great food.  Place all necessary plates, utensils, accessories, and seasonings near your BBQ so that they are readily accessible whenever you may need it.  Not only does this help you in the timing of cooking your perfect steak, it also keeps your, your loved ones, and your home safe from the dangers of an unattended grill.

Once everything is ready, the next steps is to light your grill.  Depending on the type of grill that you own, make sure that you light the grill with plenty of time for it to heat up and be ready to cook.  Charcoal grills take the longest to heat up, while gas and electric grills need a much shorter preparation time.

Once your grill is lit, the time has come to take the steaks out of the refrigerator.  Room temperature steaks cook more evenly than cold steaks, so make sure that they have plenty of time to warm up before you place them on the grill. If you are using a marinade, leave the steak in the marinade until it is time to put it on the grill.

Otherwise, prepare the steak for cooking by brushing both sides of the steak with a light layer of olive oil and a generous dusting of salt and pepper. When you’re grill is ready for the steaks, there is one final step in your preparation.

If you are using a charcoal grill, move the now gray-ish colored charcoals over to one side in order to create a cooler spot on the grill.  On any grill, keep the steak away from large or jumping flames.  The flame size will increase as the juices and fat run down the sides of the steak.  These flames can burn the outside of your steak and should be avoided.

The amount of time that you leave a steak on the grill depends on how “done” you want your steak, as well as its size and thickness. For a one-inch thick steak, “rare” will be 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second.  Medium-rare is 5 minutes and then 4. Medium is 6 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second. And well done is 8 minutes on the first side and 6 minutes on the second.  If you want to create the diamond pattern on your steak, leave the steak on the grill for 2-3 minutes and then, with a pair of tongs, rotate it 45 degrees, and cook it for the remaining time on the side.  Always use a pair a tongs when rotating of flipping your teaks in order to keep them juicy.  Stabbing or cutting your steak will cause the moisture and juices to run out of the steak, leaving it dry.

Once the steak is done, take it of the grill and let it rest on a wooden board for 5 minutes before cutting into it.  This will help keep the meat juicy, and leave you with the perfect steak.

 

 

Inspecting and Cleaning Your Gas Grill Burners

When you are the owner of a gas grill, you want to make sure that all the parts continue to work properly.  Regular inspection of parts will allow you to spot any potential problems early, saving your money on expensive repairs.  It will also make sure that your safety is ensured every time that you use your grill.

One of the areas that you need to regularly inspect is your burners. The burners are the heart of the grill, and should be checked at least several times throughout the summer grilling season.  If your burners are working correctly, that you are well on your way to making sure that your entire grill is safe, effective, and efficient.

The first thing you want to look for with your burners is how the flame burns.  If the burner flame is burning evenly around the entire perimeter of the burner, and continues to burn evenly at all different control settings, then you can be sure that the burner is currently operating properly.  However, even when your burner appears to be working correctly, it is always a good idea to inspect it in order to catch any early warning signs of problems.

To properly inspect your burners, you will want to remove them from the grill.  Use a wire brush to clean the outside of the burner.  The brush will remove any residue or loose corrosion that is attached to the burner.  Stick an opened paper clip into the gas holes to clean any clogs and a venturi brush into the venturi tubes to remove any potential blockages.

Once the burner has been removed, check the assembly for corrosion.  The biggest place for corrosion is along the seams at the edges of the burner ports, as the seams have a tendency to trap grease. Check the strength of the assembly by applying pressure with your thumbs to all the solid metal areas. This will help you ascertain is there are any weak spots. The last thing you want to check for is any clogged holes or flaked away openings. Both will cause the burner ports to enlarge, causing an uneven burn.

On average, burners will last between 2-5 years.  Their life depends on the quality of construction, the climate, location, usage, and maintenance.  By regularly inspecting and cleaning your burners, you can make sure that you get the most out of their lifespan.

Grilling Essentials – Utensils

When you’re planning the perfect BBQ,  you always want to make sure that you have the right tools on hand.  Here’s a look at some of the best utensils that you can add to your BBQ arsenal to help the ease of your cooking and the quality of your food.

Grilling Tongs

Tongs are one of the most essential grilling utensils.  Grilling tongs have a longer body length, which keeps your hands far from the heat while allowing you to turn the different pieces of meat of vegetables with ease.

Meat Handlers

For those of you who want to create the most tender pulled pork, meat handlers are a great utensil to have in your BBQ arsenal. These two, heat-resistant, utensils help pull and shred your pork perfectly and also help you transfer the meat to the plates of your guests with ease.

Marinade Turbocharger

If you are a lover of marinades, increase their potential through the use of a marinade turbocharger.  This spiky device is plunged into the meat, creating holes that prepare the meat to better soak up both wet and dry marinade.

Grill Fork

A grill fork is a special grill utensil that aids in your placement and flipping of your meat.  The extra long handle protects your hands from the heat while the sharp fork easily pierces the meat, giving you full control over its motions.

Silicone Basting Brush

A basting brush allows you to brush your meat and vegetables with the marinades that you have prepared. A silicone brush will last longer than a normal brush, cleans-up easier, and will remain odor-free.

Thermometer

Thermometers allow you to monitor the temperature of your meat, making sure that you get your meat to your desired level.  It all lets you know if your meat is cooking evenly, allowing you to either adjust the heat or the position of your meat on the grill.

Meat Cleaver

If you like cooking full pieces of meat (such as whole chickens) or ribs, then it is important to keep a meat cleaver in your tool kit.  A cleaver will let you hack through the bones of the meat without any issues.

Wide Spatula

Make sure that you get an extra wide, stainless steel spatula to use on your grill. The sharp edge will allow you to slide easily under a piece of meat and the size will make sure that the full piece of meat gets picked up with ease.  Also look for a spatula with holes or perforations in order to keep your food from getting soggy.

Cleaning A Cast-Iron Grill Grate

Cast iron grill grates are popular choices due to the cast irons toughness and durability, as well as for its ability to heat evenly and retain that heat for extended periods of time. While cast iron grill grates may be resilient to many different conditions, they need to be properly cleaned and maintained in order to last.  Here is an easy guide to cleaning your cast iron grill, keeping it in tip-top condition.

The first thing to remember is that the best time to clean your grill grate is right after you’ve finished grilling.  Cleaning as soon as you are finished means that the food and residue do not have any time to harden or attach to the grill grate.  Allow the grill grate to cool only enough so that you can safely handle it.

The second, and perhaps most important, thing to remember is that the biggest enemy of your cast iron grate is water.  Water that is left on the grill grate will cause it to rust and deteriorate.  While water is used in a few steps off the cleaning process, it is imperative that it is fully removed by the time you are done cleaning.

The first step in cleaning your grate is to scrub it down with a wire brush in order to remove any food particles that may be lingering on the surface.  Once you have brushed the biggest particles of food off, spray down the grate with a solution of one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water. Wipe off the solution with a paper towel, repeating as necessary until all food residue is removed.

Once all food particles have been removed, the next step is to remove any extra grease.  The grease can be washed off with a sponge dipped in warm water and a mild soap.  Again, make sure that the soapy water solution is completely rubbed off with a clean cloth.

After your grill has been completely cleaned, you want to season the grill.  This can be accomplishing by applying a light film of oil (vegetable or olive) or shortening to the grill grates. Seal the oil by wrapping each grate in foil and then placing in the grill. Turn the grill on high, close the lid, and heat the grates for around 10 minutes.

Seasoning your grill will help protect it from rust.

By following these steps you can make sure that your grill remains is good shape and that you are always ready to fire it up for your next barbeque.