Whether you’re grilling just for yourself or hosting a gathering with friends, maximizing enjoyment requires paying attention to some essential tips. Our selection covers not only the choice of the right meats, fish, and vegetables but also practical aspects related to food and the use of grilling equipment.
Choosing the Right Oil for Grilling
Before the grilling adventure begins, it’s crucial to establish a foundation for fish, meat, and vegetables with the right oil. This prevents your grillables from sticking to the grates, making it easier to release the food afterward. For best results, use a high-heat-resistant oil, such as canola oil or sunflower oil.
Tip: If you don’t have heat-resistant oil on hand, no problem! Alternatively, use a piece of bacon fat and rub it over the warm grates to achieve the same effect as with canola oil.
Ideal Marination Techniques
Many types of meat available in supermarkets come pre-marinated, but these often contain artificial colorings, flavor enhancers, and preservatives. It’s healthier (and often tastier) to marinate the meat yourself. Clean the meat, pat it dry, and marinate it with a mixture of your choice.
Always ensure that the marinade doesn’t drip onto the charcoal during grilling to avoid the formation of carcinogenic substances alongside heavy smoke. Simply dab off excess marinade before placing the meat on the grates!
Core Temperature for Various Grilled Dishes
The temperature inside each dish is referred to as the “core temperature,” indicating the degree of doneness. Unlike cooking time, which can vary based on preparation and size, core temperature is a relatively fixed value. The ideal cooking temperature depends on the meat type and desired result, such as “medium” or “well done.”
Optimal Thickness for Meat Cuts
Nothing is more frustrating than dry meat on the grill. Therefore, the right thickness is crucial. A value between two and three centimeters is considered ideal. Thinner slices, in particular, tend to become tough and dry quickly. However, if you prefer “well-done” meat, thin slices can be cooked longer to achieve that result.
Perfect Cooking Time
The duration a piece of meat should be cooked depends on its thickness. The rule of thumb is that for every centimeter of thickness, the meat should grill for about two minutes on each side over direct heat. If using high temperatures, such as with a Sizzle Zone or Beefer, the cooking time will be shorter. An exception is made for traditional grill sausages, which typically need about five minutes and should be flipped halfway through.
Proper Distance between Charcoal and Food
To ensure that meat, fish, or vegetables are grilled at the right (preferably even) temperature, the distance between the food and the charcoal is crucial. Always make sure there’s a minimum of ten centimeters between your food and the coals. This minimum distance prevents the food from heating up too quickly.
Important Tips Regarding “Aluminum Foil While Grilling”
Towards the end of a grilling session, it’s common for guests not to eat as quickly as new, delicious dishes emerge. No problem! To keep the sausage or fish warm for an additional half-hour, it’s recommended to wrap it/them in aluminum foil. Caution! Finished grilled food should never be left on the still-warm grill, as it may dry out prematurely!
Even foil-wrapped potatoes are a proven classic. These can even be grilled directly in or on the embers. However, we always recommend a double layer of thick aluminum foil to prevent the potato from getting blisters from the embers.
Ideal “Resting Time” for Meat
Do you prefer exceptionally juicy meat? No problem! In that case, it’s advisable not to consume finished steaks and the like immediately but let them rest for five to ten minutes. However, do this off the grill—either on the table, in a warming drawer, or in the oven at around 60 degrees Celsius, which is below the core temperature for a medium-rare beef steak.
Suitable Herbs and Spices
There’s no question that seasoned meat tastes better than the “plain” version. Therefore, the right seasoning should not be missing from the grill table for both amateur and professional cooks. Rosemary and thyme are particularly popular, not only for meat but also for fish and vegetables.
Tip: Season not only your grilled food but also add the corresponding herbs to the charcoal to give your dish the final touch! To prevent the herbs from burning prematurely, it’s advisable to soak them in a little water for about 15 minutes. The same applies if you want to preserve wooden skewers before they catch fire. Just make sure to weigh down anything that doesn’t sink in the water so that enough can be absorbed.
Best Fish Types for Grilling
Grilling fish is sometimes trickier than it looks. Why? The risk of it becoming too dry is generally higher than with meat. However, starting with fatty fish varieties mitigates this risk. Especially trout and salmon are excellent choices to shine on the grill. Despite the high fat content, it’s crucial to be cautious about the temperature and monitor it regularly. Also, always use fish tongs, as fish tends to stick to grates despite good oiling.
Purpose of Grill Pans
Who ever said that grilling has to be unhealthy? Especially in fish and vegetables, many important nutrients are present. To preserve and protect these, it’s worth investing in robust aluminum grill pans for cooking. Even meat considered high in fat should be placed in the aluminum pan; otherwise, excess fat drips into the embers, leading to the production of carcinogenic substances. A smoky grill is then an additional side effect.
Foods to Avoid Grilling
Even though it might disappoint some grill enthusiasts, not every type of food is suitable for grilling. Cooking ham, frankfurters, and Vienna sausages on the grill, for example, is not recommended. Otherwise, nitrosamines, which can be harmful to health, may be produced.
Pros and Cons of Briquettes
More and more people are opting for grill briquettes instead of traditional charcoal. Their advantage lies in a longer burning time compared to charcoal. However, this also requires a slightly longer preheating time. It’s essential to pay attention to the quality of briquettes, as some may contain binding agents. Unwanted emissions in the grilled food can be avoided by choosing high-quality briquettes.
Health Risks while Grilling (and How to Mitigate Them)
Was the meat left too long (and too close) to the coals? Then there’s a high likelihood that dark spots have formed quickly. Important: be sure to cut off these dark spots! Health-threatening substances may have developed here.
Additionally, always use modern grill starters
for igniting your grill. Spirits pose the risk of producing a flash flame. Ideal options are biological grill starters based on wax. These leave no pollutants or slag in the grill.
Essential Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining the Grill
Grilling is fun; post-grilling cleanup, not so much. To prevent dried residues on the grates, it’s best to clean the grill shortly after use. If the grates are still warm, oil and food residues can be removed more easily. A grill brush should be a staple in every grilling kit.