Whether you are a fan of charcoal or gas, grilling is a popular way to cook during the summer. There are so many different foods to grill, your summer (as well as your stomach) should be full of exciting meals. This week, I have put together some tips to help make grilling a bit easier and more flavorful. For instance:
Asparagus; seems pretty straight forward, right? If you have a grilling basket, it should be fairly easy. If you don’t, tinfoil is always an option, but can sometimes leave you with soggy asparagus. Or, you could put your asparagus directly on the rack. But if you are like me, a few pieces always manage to fall through into the fire. The solution? Try using bamboo skewers. Soak the skewers in water for a while first so they don’t start on fire, then line your asparagus up side by side (4-6 spears per group) and insert the bamboo through the sides — one at the top and one at the bottom. This secures the asparagus so it is easier to handle and gives it that nice firm but tender texture and wonderful grilled flavor. Just be careful not to cook it too long or it will dry out. 3-4 minutes on each side should be long enough (depending on the thickness of the spears).
For that smokey flavor; use hardwood logs, chunks, briquettes, or chips to give your foods a smoky flavor. There are many different varieties such as applewood for sweetness, mesquite for tang, or hickory for a bacon-like taste. And they can be used with either gas or charcoal grills. It’s a fun, easy way to add some extra flavor to your summer grilling.
Get your heat straight. When you cook on a charcoal grill, using a charcoal chimney is a great way to get your briquettes going. Once they are ready, make sure you pile up some coals in the center. This allows you to sear food in the middle, where heat is highest and then move it to the outer edges of the grill to perfectly cook it without burning. On a gas grill, leave one burner on high, another on medium.
Grease your grate. Adding a very light coat of oil to a clean grate will prevent foods from sticking and causing a giant mess. Use a small bit of paper towel (lightly coated with oil) and a pair of tongs to apply the oil – just make sure your paper towel does not start on fire!
Keep your foods in line. Place your food on the grate in lines, moving from left to right. Or for quick-cooking items, such as shrimp and scallops, arrange in a circle going clockwise. This will help you keep track of which foods hit the flames first as well as allow you to group raw items away from cooked ones.
Just for fun, try grilling:
Pizza (It really works!)