Tips for Fall Grilling

father and son grilling

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It’s finally cookout season! Time to fire up the grill and pile on the meat and veggies. Even though the 4th of July ranks as the most popular day to BBQ in the United States, we’re sure you’ll find plenty of opportunities to cook al fresco this Fall.

Here are a few interesting facts to show off your grilling IQ at your next cookout:

10% of grill owners have a fancy-schmancy backyard kitchen.

44% of grilling households have a male grill master whereas 22% of households have a female one. In the remaining third, grilling duties are shared.

Every year, about 130 medical emergencies happen from accidentally swallowing a bristle from a grill brush.

To help prevent grilling-related emergencies and mishaps, have a look at our top 10 grilling tips and techniques:

1. Keep it Clean!

Make a habit of cleaning your grill before and after every use. A clean cooking surface means food won't stick as easily and makes certain that this week's teriyaki chicken won't taste like last week's barbecued short ribs. Use a metal scraper or brush before turning on the heat to knock off the big bits. If your grill brush has loose bristles, replace it. Finish with a paper towel dipped in olive oil or any other high smoke-point, neutral-flavor cooking oil.

2. Prep Everything Beforehand

Grilling outside isn’t the same as cooking in the kitchen. There’s nothing worse than leaving food on the grill for too long because you got distracted preparing sides or setting the table. Plan your sides ahead and prep everything you need for the grill ahead of time to minimize distractions when the grill gets going.

3. Marinate the Meat

When preparing meat for the grill, set time aside to marinate it to enhance the flavor. Citrus, wine, and vinegar are acids that add flavor while tenderizing meat. They’ll need 1 to 2 hours to do their magic with beef or larger cuts of pork or poultry, and you’ll get even better flavor if you can marinate overnight. For fish, seafood, or small pieces of chicken, marinate them at least 15 to 30 minutes in the fridge before putting on the grill.

4. Direct vs. Indirect Grilling

The most common grilling method is direct heat, placing food on the grill over the heat source. Direct grilling works fine for most meats, especially burgers, steaks, and chops. Direct grilling means quick cooking. For thicker cuts of meat, like brisket or a whole chicken, use indirect grilling, which is low and slow, for best results. Move the hot charcoals to one side of the grill and put the meat over the charcoal-free area. For a gas grill, reduce the flame to its lowest setting or turn off one side and don’t cook the food right over the flame. Indirect grilling cooks the food at lower heat for a longer time.

5. Less is More

Every piece of meat packs juice and flavor within it. It’s your job to avoid drying out the meat by limiting the number of times you turn it while cooking. Every time you flip it, a bit more juice escapes the meat. If you want a nice cross-hatch of grill marks, just give the meat a quarter turn after about 2 minutes.

6. Be Careful with Your Veggies

Grilling fruits and vegetables requires less heat since they’re much more delicate than meats. Make sure you regulate the flame when cooking fruits and vegetables and cut them into similar sized pieces for them to finish cooking at around the same time.

7. Don’t Press Your Meat!

It’s super tempting to try to press down on the meat while it’s on the grill. Just like flipping the meat excessively, pressing causes the juices to escape and can dry out your entree.

8. Use Some Salt

In the absence of marinades or other seasonings, you can never go wrong with a little salt. Not only does it enhance the flavor, but it also tenderizes the meat and helps retain moisture. Sprinkle a little on all sides of your meat.

9. Know the Numbers

  1. you’re concerned about grilling your food with precision, use a thermometer to gauge when it’s ready. When it comes to steak, 120–130 degrees Fahrenheit is rare, 135–145 degrees is medium-rare, and 145–155 degrees is medium. The temperature will rise a few degrees after removing food from the grill so allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving, about half of the original cooking time. The rest time allows the juices in the meat to redistribute.

10. Take it Slow

"You can't rush perfection."--Words any grill master worth his or her salt lives by. If the meat is frozen, allow it plenty of time to thaw. Higher temperatures don't make your food cook faster. They just increase your odds of serving steak that's charred beyond recognition outside and raw in the center.

Whether you’re grilling in your backyard or occupied with spring cleaning activities, your home is the center of all your family’s activities. Infinity Insurance understands that. Why not find the right coverage for your home? Call one of our agents today at 1-800-INFINITY or visit us online for a free quote.

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