While it might seem like outdoor cooking is something best left to the professionals, you too can see professional results by learning a few tricks of the trade. Though it might seem like BBQ recipes are a mystery, there are a few things all professional grillers do to make sure their meats and vegetables turn out delicious each and every time. Here’s what you need to know before you light your grill tonight.
Before you even begin outdoor cooking, you need to make sure your meats and vegetables are ready to be cooked. This means, you need to marinate your meats for at least 24 hours before they head to the grill. Doing this will help to add flavor and juiciness to your meals and it doesn’t have to be that complicated either. Try marinating chicken in a combination of lemon juice, olive oil, and dill to give a light flavor to your white meats. Or try soy sauce or a premade red meat marinade to help your beef soak up flavor. You just need to place the meat in the marinade into the fridge about a day ahead of time, let soak and then only remove from the marinade when you’re ready to cook.
Cleaning your grill up before you start cooking is one of the keys to professional tasting outdoor cooking. When you fail to complete this step, you’re adding the flavors of your last cookout to your meal – which may not be a good thing. Get into the habit of cleaning and scrubbing down your grill after each use. This will allow the flavors of each meal to be distinctive in and of themselves. Or, you can choose to wrap each of your pieces of meat in foil in order to keep their flavoring separate and distinct.
Another way to get professional outdoor cooking results is to make sure you’re adding side dishes on the grill along with your meats. For example, you might want to grab a handful of vegetables and steam them with a few cloves of garlic in a pouch of aluminum foil alongside your meats at the end of their cooking time. This will help to make your cooking more efficient and there’s nothing like a meal that’s all grilled together.
It’s also a good idea to learn the approximate times for outdoor cooking each type of meat. Fish and shrimp only need a few minutes per side, while beef and chicken can take up to 15 minutes altogether to cook average portions. When you cook things for too long you can cause them to lose their flavoring as well as their juice. If you’re not sure if something is done, just get out a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest point of the meat. If it reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit or above, you’re ready to serve the meat to your guests.
As a professional touch, you might want to add a sprig of rosemary to your pork or your chicken on the grill. Not only does it add flavor, but it also adds a little style.