Grilling techniques and applications
The basics of modern grilling
Start with the best ingredients possible. Check for freshness and choose only the highest quality ingredients.
Prepare your grill before you start. Make sure the surface is completely clean you dont want your eggplant to taste like charred sausages. While still cold, oil the grilling surface. Light your coals and allow the grill to preheat thoroughly before cooking. Skipping these preliminary steps could be asking a culinary disaster, just ask Martha S.
Make sure your coals are lit evenly. We suggest a bucket-type briquet starter.
For uncovered grills, bunching the coals is important, interspersed with areas where the coals are spread out. This allows for hotter areas (hot spots) for searing in juices and less hot areas for finishing cooking to desired temperature and doneness. The hot spots also create that groovy black striped grill-look.
For covered grills you have three options. 1. Position the coals directly underneath the food and cover. 2. Position coals to one side of the grill and put food on the other side with a drip-pan underneath then cover. Or take the cover off and cook as above. For both techniques, let the number of coals used mirror the surface area of the food.
When cooking fatty foods in covered grills flare-ups are a common occurrence. Keep a water bottle or box of baking soda on hand to control the larger flare-ups. The smaller flare-ups are fine and may even add to the cooking and smoking process.
Try to time multiple food items so that its all done at the same time. Your variables here are size, shape, thickness and length of marination. Obviously, larger, thicker items take longer to cook and remember that marination cooks food slightly due to its acidity.
Sound and Smell: If your food isnt making any noise and theres no smell, it probably isnt cooking. (Arent you glad we were here to help you with this issue?)
Peeking is the most common taboo of grilling. Cutting into the food creates dryness due to a loss of juices. Piercing the food is a little better but takes experience to know when the food is done. The only suggestion we have for this is practice, practice, practice.
Extinguishing the flame: If using a gas grill, turn the nob. As for coals, simply close off ventilation so they dont receive oxygen and allow them to smolder. You can also stop them from burning with the use of water but this creates a lot of smoke. In either case, you may be able to retain some of the wood or coal for future use.