Summer is peak grilling season, and one of the impacts of the pandemic has been a surge in people cooking their meals on the backyard barbecue.
But as barbecue sales have steadily increased over the past 15 months, it also stands to reason there is a large group of rookie grillers picking up the tongs and spatula — and that is on top of those age-old habits that veterans of the barbecue just can’t seem to shake, or may not even be aware that what they are doing is hindering their performance.
As we head into the days of summer, Napoleon offers some thoughts and tips on some common grilling mistakes, and what can be done to avoid them.
- Impatience — This is a big one. Let the grill get to temperature. Placing food on a cool grill may cause it to stick, and will impede the chances of getting a good char, particularly if you are cooking a good cut of meat like a steak. When you fire up the barbecue, turn it to high, close the lid and let it get nice and hot before starting to cook. Also, avoid constantly lifting the lid to poke and prod your food. Every time you open the lid, you let heat escape.
- Flipping and Flopping — Ideally, when you are cooking meat you only want to flip it once. This minimizes how many times you have to open the lid (see the point above) and gives a nice, even cook. Educate yourself on the meat you are cooking and how long it needs. If you have a chicken breast that calls for 12 minutes on the grill, put it over the fire, set a timer for six minutes and wait. As it rings at six minutes, flip the breast and reset the timer.
- Take the Temperature — Don’t make your dishes a guessing game. Know exactly when they are done by using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature. The Napoleon Accu-Probe is a Bluetooth-enabled device with ports for four temperature gauges, allowing you to monitor the cooking of your entire meal with updates on your mobile device.
- Clean Up — Don’t wait until the next time you use your grill to clean it; a hot grill is easier to clean. Once the food is off and resting (more on that in a minute), use a bristle-free brush or cedar scraper to clean the cooking grids of any leftover food chunks.
- Impatience, The Sequel — Your food has reached the right temperature and the char on the outside is mouthwatering. The temptation is to dig right in, but it is time to once again practice patience. Let that meat rest; it will still continue to cook for several minutes once it is taken off the heat, and all the juices will seep back into the centre of the meat. So once it is removed from the grill, put it on a cutting board or dish and cover with aluminum foil for at least five minutes before digging in.
For more information, please visit www.napoleon.com.