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We’re hard at work in the test kitchen months before grilling season starts. We often find ourselves developing summertime favorites in the middle of winter, and finding a spot to grill (sometimes in the snow) can be challenging. I’m lucky enough to have a backyard and both a gas and charcoal grill, so I volunteer on occasion to bundle up and test recipes from home to ensure accuracy.
Here are some tips I picked up this past winter while testing recipes for the June issue of Food Network Magazine.
5 Tips for Successful Grilling:
1. Get organized. Make sure everything you need is organized and within reach of your grilling command station. Using a small baking sheet is a great way to keep sauces, seasonings, timers, thermometers, recipes and miscellaneous equipment nearby and ready.
2. Invest in a thermometer. If you’re cooking larger, more expensive cuts of meat using a thermometer can help with accurate cooking temperatures — so you don’t overcook that pricey steak. We in the test kitchens like digital instant-read thermometers.
3. Remember to rest. Once your meat comes off the grill let it rest (anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes depending on how large). This makes for a juicer meal.
4. Find charcoal grilling harmony. We love a combination of briquettes and lump hardwood charcoal. We also like natural fire starters (lighter fluid can impart a chemical-tasting flavor in your food). More charcoal vs. gas grilling tips.
5. Don’t forget about your grill vents. There’s usually one on top of the lid and one on the bottom of the kettle. Adjust these as necessary for hot and fast, or low and slow grilling. For example: When grilling burgers, the bottom vent should be mostly open — it allows more air into the fire, making it burn hotter and faster. The opposite is true when making brisket — both vents should be mostly closed for a lower and slower fire.