I love the smells of summer. Like fresh cut grass or the scent of fresh budding flowers in the breeze. My favorite, of course, is the aroma of the grill, with fresh food laid over hot grates– ever so neatly getting scorched by direct heat of charcoal, wood or propane.
Sorry, I get a bit lost even when I think about lighting up the grill. It’s not just the delicious grilling results that excite me, but also the company that grilling brings close, like friends, family or even strangers.
How to grill to perfection
Grilling can be challenging if you have never done it. Here is some of my expert advice to help you along.
- Marinate for tenderness. Marinades add lots of flavor to any protein. But they break down the fibers in protein as well. This makes meat more tender.
- Try wood or charcoal. Wood and charcoal give food a smoky flavor. There are special grates for grilling over campfires, and you can find grills made for charcoal wherever there are grills for sale. Make sure not to add charcoal or wood to a propane grill — that will end badly.
- Always preheat your grill. Preheating gets the grates hot so that the food doesn’t stick to the surface. Also, it helps clean off the debris that builds up on the grates.
- X marks the spot. If you want to have nice X marks on your food, place it lengthwise on the grill like the hands on a clock, like it would be pointing at 11:00. Let it cook for about 2 minutes, then turn it to 1:00 and cook for about 2 more minutes. Flip the meat, etc. and repeat on the other side, cook to desired doneness. This will give you the perfect x.
- Keep the heat. If you have a grill that doesn’t burn at a very high temperature, keep the hood down. This will keep the grill hot so you can get good grill marks.
- Grill your vegetables, too. Cooking veggies on the grill changes their flavor. A little bit of oil, salt and pepper is all you need. If you want to try grilling corn, soak it in water for an hour before grilling while the corn is still in the husks.
- Look for meat ‘sweat’. Meat starts to sweat when it’s almost done, so if you don’t want dry chicken or fish, look for little beads of water on top of it after you flip it. Depending on the thickness this can happen quicker than you think.
Below is a recipe from our Cooking Beyond The Measuring Cup series that works beautifully with beef, chicken, pork, fish or tofu.
Tequila Lime Marinated Grill
16 ounces raw meat, fish or poultry, divided into four portions
Juice of 3 limes
1 pour of tequila
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chopped and seeded jalapeno
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 light pour of honey
1 pour of olive oil
1 palm full of cumin
1 palm full of salt
1 palm full of pepper
- Combine lime juice, tequila, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, honey, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk. Add the meat, etc. and let sit for a minimum of one hour, or as long as overnight.
- Preheat grill for 10 minutes with the temperature on high.
- Once grill is hot, place meat, etc. on grill. Cook to desired doneness.
- When done, thinly slice the meat, etc. and serve.
Serving Idea: Make soft tacos! Of course, you will have to prep your favorite taco toppings or see how to make a bowl.