It's BBQ season and we've got 10 ways you can boost your BBQ game from flavour to safety and plenty in between!
1. To avoid losing juices during turning, always flip your meat or vegetables using tongs opposed to a fork and limit the number of “flips” on the grill to once per item.
2. Avoid pressing down on burgers or chicken, steak, etc., while they’re grilling as it squeezes out the juices and dries out the meat.
3. For that aromatic, smokey flavor, soak hardwood wood chips in water for three hours and then put them onto your charcoals. Using a gas grill? Put them into your smoker box following the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Save basting for the end so the sugars in your marinade or sauce won’t have time to caramelize or burn.
5. Preheat your grill for 15 minutes prior to cooking to ensure the right temperature is reached and to kill any bacteria. A well-heated grill sears foods on contact, keeps the insides moist and doesn’t stick. Searing also creates improved flavors through caramelization.
6. Even on a clean grill, lean foods may stick when placed directly on the rack. Reduce sticking by oiling your hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel: hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack.
7. After preheating, removing debris is much easier by using your preferred grill cleaning tool to clean off remnants from prior meals. Get in the routine of scraping debris before and after each use.
8. Food safety is a top priority! Eliminate cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, utensils and platters for raw and cooked foods. Refrigerate foods while marinating and never baste with the marinating liquid. Instead, make extra marinade just for basting.
Interestingly, marinating also impedes the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCAs (heterocyclic amines), which form when grilling poultry, red meat and fish. Marinating can reduce HCA formation between 92 and 99 percent.
9. Always check the internal temperature before eating any type of meat via an instant-read thermometer.
10. Reduce flare-ups by selecting leaner cuts of meat, trimming excess fat and removing poultry skin. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby to douse any flare-ups.
The problem with flare-ups are that they cause carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form on your food causing a peculiar taste. They can also char the outside of food before the inside has thoroughly cooked.