Grilling Tips (And Adding Beer To The Mix)

By Editor In Chief/Lord Of Words Ed M Morris

Many of the Lords and Ladies of the Pints Templars Grill and BBQ a lot. The Grill gives us the perfect reason to go outside and perfect our game while enjoying a beer. Here are a few techniques and tips for you to help make your grilling more enjoyable:

First some of my “rules” for the grill:

Rule 1: Always keep your grill clean. This is essential for good-tasting food and general safety.

Rule 2: Always keep a close eye on what you're grilling. Food can burn quickly, so be on guard and check food frequently.

Rule 3: Cook vegetables and fruits at the outer, cooler edges of the grill since they tend to burn more quickly than meat.

Rule 4: When grilling low-fat meats and other foods that can stick, apply oil or nonstick cooking spray to the grill grate before placing it on the grill and before the grill is heated.

Rule 5: Turning food is essential to even cooking. However, turning too often slows cooking and can result in tough, dry food. Ideally, most fish and meats should be turned only once during cooking time.

Rule 6: Soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before building kabobs to prevent skewers from burning.

Rule 7: Spice up your food a good hour or two before it hits the grill. This marinating time allows the food to absorb the flavors.

Rule 8: Don't apply sauces prior to grilling. Not only do they tend to drip onto the coals and cause flare-ups, but most also contain sugar, which will burn quickly and give the food a burnt taste. Consult your recipe to see when to begin.

Now for some other tips I have found useful:

  1. Using a Charcoal Grill and do not have a Charcoal Starter, try this: To light a charcoal fire, place the coals in a pyramid shape 20 to 30 minutes prior to cooking. The pyramid provides ventilation for the coals to catch fire. To start with lighter fluid, soak the coals with about 1/2 cup fluid. Wait 1 minute to let the fluid soak in, then light with a match. NEVER use gasoline or kerosene because either one can cause an explosion.
  2. Use Foil – For smaller items, like veggies or items that burn easily, like fish, make a foil tray for them to rest in while cooking. If you need to steam something on the grill make a foil packet, add the item you want steamed, add some water or other liquid you wish to use, seal it up and place on the grill.
  3. This is the chart I use for grilling MEAT, POULTRY, AND FISH:
    Note - Use the following as a guide to approximate cooking times. You can also determine how well cooked your meat is with a good meat thermometer. Medium-rare beef will register 150°F on a meat thermometer; poultry, 180°; pork, 160°; lamb, 160°.

Meat

Thickness/Weight

Approx Cooking Time (over med heat)

Chicken

Boneless skinless breasts

5 minutes per side

Chicken

Cut-up broiler/fryer

45 to 60 minutes

Fish fillets

6 ounces

3 to 5 minutes per side

Fish steaks

1 inch

5 minutes per side

Hamburgers

1/2 inch

14 to 16 minutes

Pork baby back ribs

31/2 to 4 pounds

30 to 45 minutes

Pork loin chops

3/4 inch

10 to 12 minutes

Porterhouse/T-bone steak

3/4 inch

14 to 17 minutes

Ribeye steak

3/4 inch

6 to 8 minutes

Sausages

 

10 minutes

Shrimp

Medium

2 to 3 minutes per side

Sirloin steak

3/4 inch

13 to 16 minutes

  1. Choose long-handled cooking tools to avoid burns and splatters. A basic grill kit should include long tongs for turning the foods, a stiff-wire brush for cleaning the grill, a mop brush for saucing foods, a large offset spatula for moving delicate items, and a pair of elbow-length grill gloves for protection. Apron, optional, but you will look awesome in one!
  2. Follow these tips for keeping your grilled food healthy:
  • Trim the fat.
  • Choose lean meats to grill. Less fat means less dripping down into the flames, which cuts down on flare-ups. Remove the skin from poultry.
  • Grill veggies. Try marinated vegetables on a skewer, on the grilling tray or wrapped in foil. Grilled fruit also makes a sweet, healthful dessert.
  • Wrap it up. Cooking in foil seals in juices so you can cook leaner cuts until they are both tender and done. Wrap fish with vegetables and a little low-fat marinade for an easy meal, all in one packet.
  1. Safety Tips :There are a few basic guidelines that you should follow to keep grilled foods safe:
  • First, always marinate meat, poultry or seafood in the refrigerator. If a marinade is to be brushed on food while it cooks, for safety's sake, do not brush it on during the last five minutes of grilling. If it will be served as a dipping sauce, be sure to boil it for 1 or 2 minutes before serving. See my note below on using beer with your marinade.
  •  When grilling poultry, meat or seafood, transfer the grilled food to a clean plate, not to the plate used for the raw food.
  • Hamburger patties should be grilled until they are no longer pink in the center or reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold when transporting or serving. Do not add fresh food to a serving bowl; replace the bowl instead. Throw away food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more. When in doubt, always throw it out.

Note on Marinades: Beer is an excellent for marinating, it is less acidic than vinegar or wine and will tenderize delicate foods like fish and other seafoods and not damage their unique texture. I try and use the rule of thumb: half a cup of marinade per pound of meat. Just be careful not to add too much oil to your mix or you’ll create a smoky mess on the grill. 

Don't be afraid to experiment with different beer styles to add to your grilling process. On a whim, I used Shiner Cheer on grilled scallops and it was outstanding. I never thought to use it before, but I was looking for something to add to the scallops and had an unopened bottle and thought "why not?", it worked for me. 

If you have any Beer and BBQ tips or recipes, send them in to us at editorpints @ gmail.com and we can share them in a future post of Templar Tales.


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