Summer and early Fall is the time for grilling. Are you ready to have your guests sink their teeth into great tasting grilled meats that you have cooked to perfection? Whether you are serving up beef, chicken, or pork, it’s important that you take the additional steps necessary and apply grilling tips to make your food really shine.
You might already be a master of the grill but you can always benefit from some extra advice and from some tips and tricks to keep your dishes at their very best. Those cooks who are at the top of their game are always learning new methods, developing their techniques and honing their skills. And, to many chefs, grilling is more of an art than a science, taking a scientifically backed approach to your cooking will help you master the meat game your next event.
Four Meat Grilling Tips to Help You Grill Like a Pro
As many great chefs will attest to, a little salt and pepper is all it takes to make a really great cut of meat taste its best. When you source top quality beef, chicken, or pork for your dishes, you need to let the meat be the star. A little salt and pepper will elevate the flavors without distracting from the prime cut you have selected for your latest creation. However, before you reach for your shaker and grinder, it’s important to understand the science of seasoning.
Salt and pepper are essential in cooking your meat. Salt helps your grilled meats retain some water, which allows it to maintain its juiciness throughout the cooking process so that it can be presented looking succulent and inviting for your diners. On the other hand, salt also helps to prepare the taste buds to experience the dynamic flavors of what you are cooking.
Dry brining with salt is another great option if you have the time. The day before you plan to grill your favorite meats, rub a little salt onto the cuts to make some real magic happen. The salt will break down some of the meat proteins, even before you cook them, and allow the cut to retain more moisture in the process. This is an easy trick, which takes a little pre-planning but yields amazing results.
And as for pepper, well, pepper is just a good way to kick things up a notch. Black pepper is great for a little bit of extra spice that most people can handle with ease. It helps to waken the taste buds and bring a sharp, earthy zing to a dish. As pepper loses its flavor quickly, it’s best to add it to your dish at the end of the cooking process or to ground fresh just before serving.
In the culinary world, it is well-known that the fat content of the cut of meat you are using will help it to stay together while cooking. However, when it comes to leaner cuts, you need a bit of know-how to keep things consistent and juicy. As we mentioned earlier, you can try dry brining most of your more conventional meats to keep them juicy and succulent.
When it comes to cooking chicken, your approach should be a little different. First of all, as with all of your food supplies and ingredients, it’s always best to choose a quality product. Taking your time in choosing the best product possible is a trend that should be applied to your cooking too, keeping it low and slow.
For hamburgers, try adding a little water while forming the hamburger patties as this can go a long way towards keeping more of the moisture in the meat. Hamburgers are often a signature dish in restaurants, however, no matter how you top the burger, if the meat is dry and overcooked it will never impress your guests.
If you’re grilling hot dogs and you want to ensure that they don’t dry out, just be sure not to leave the grill. Put the hot dogs on a high heat and turn them regularly so that they cook evenly. The magic moment to take them off the heat, is when they start to expand but just before they begin spluttering. Pop them into a fresh bun and your hotdogs will be ready to go.
Use The Best Source Of Heat
When it comes to heating your meat in the most effective way, many cooks go to the default gas grill option. However, gas lacks some of the taste-boosting qualities of other forms of heat and it’s worth experimenting with some other techniques to get the most from your meat.
For example, the classic combination is a mixture of wood chips and charcoal. These sources of heat are the best way to bring the flavor out of your cooked meats. Wood chips add a smoky flavor at the molecular level, from something called guaiacol, which is sure to take your meat to the next level. Since wood chips and charcoal come from plant-based sources, the breakdown of these plant compounds during the grilling process, combined with the dripping effect of fattier cuts of meat, adds to the flavor of the finished product.
Cooking To Perfection
Everyone has a personal preference when it comes to great grilled meats. Both chefs and foodies alike will have some personal opinions as to whether particular cuts of meat are best served rare or medium.
Most chefs frown upon a well-done steak and look with suspicion at those who order them. Science shows that there may be something to this. Well-done meats are potentially carcinogenic and can be harmful to your health. Of course, there is a fine balance between a good-quality well-done steak and a charred mess, and most people will agree that the latter should be avoided at all costs. Use your professional judgment when it comes to serving these higher-temperature choices to save both the palate and the well-being of your customers.
For more information on the best temperatures and how long to grill different meats, check out this guide.
Get Ready For Your Grilling Event In Advance
It’s important that you do what you can to be prepared ahead of time of your event. When preparing your menu, try some different cooking techniques and grilling tips, experiment with your seasoning and you might be surprised at the difference in what you produce. If you are a chef in a food service establishment in the Chicagoland, be sure to get in contact with your Chicago meat distributor today to get some great portion cuts of ground beef patties or poultry, or to add a little extra diversity to the menu and ensure that you are ready when your guests arrive.