Farmer Dan's Top 7 Tips for Grilling Perfection

Farmer Dan's Top 7 Tips for Grilling Perfection

By Dan Kaplan

I love backyard grilling, don’t you?

Not only does grilled meat taste better, but the experience has a way of connecting you to the food you’re serving in a way that indoor cooking doesn’t. And, of course, there’s the whole social experience of watching meat grill with family and friends, a beer or cocktail in hand, and good conversation.

Whether you're a seasoned griller or a newbie, here are some of my tried-and-true tips for grilling up a storm and wowing your friends and family at your next barbecue.

1. Choose Quality Ingredients

The first step to a great grilling experience starts with the meat. When it comes to meats, look for sustainably-raised, grass-fed options. Not only is this better for the environment, but it also results in a richer flavor that will shine through in your final dish. (See my top choices for grilling meats here.)

2. Prep Your Grill

Before you start grilling, it's important to properly prep your grill. Preheat it to the right temperature, and make sure the grates are clean. A well-maintained grill will not only prevent food from sticking but also ensure even cooking.

3. Master the Art of Temperature Control

Grilling isn't just about slapping some meat on a hot surface; it's an art form that requires understanding and controlling your cooking temperature. A common mistake is to grill everything on high heat. While this can sear the outside of your meat, it can leave the inside undercooked. Learn to use both direct (high heat) and indirect (low heat) grilling techniques, and adjust as needed based on what you're cooking.

4. Use a Meat Thermometer!

Speaking of temperature - don’t leave it to chance. The surest way to destroy the great meat you bought is to overcook it (in second place, is undercooking it). A meat thermometer is key. And don’t forget that even after you remove the meat from the grill, it will keep cooking. I recommend 130F for a good medium-rare steak.

5. Season Simply

When you've got quality meats and veggies, you don't need to go overboard with the seasoning. Often, a little salt, pepper, and olive oil are all you need to bring out the natural flavors of your ingredients. Remember, you can always add more seasoning after cooking, but you can't take it away!

6. Don't Overcrowd the Grill

Resist the urge to throw everything onto the grill at once. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking and make it difficult to manage your food. Leave a bit of space between items to allow heat to circulate properly.

7. Let Your Meat Rest

Finally, patience is key when grilling. After cooking, let your meat rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful bite.

Grilling should be a fun, relaxed experience. Don't stress too much about getting everything perfect. With a bit of practice, you'll be a grill master in no time. Happy grilling!

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