Secrets to Great Grilling!

BBQ season is upon us, and time for the first big outdoor cooking event of the year (well, at least for those of us in the Midwest!).  It’s Memorial Weekend, a time to share our Secrets to Great Grilling!  Here are a few tried and true lessons for all of you home grillers:

grilling burgers
Secrets to Great Grilling! Flipping the Burgers.

Flip that Burger!

We will take it one step further than that- Put those burgers in the oven before grilling.  Yes, the single-flip mafia out there will tell you that you only flip a burger once, but rudimentary science and a little experimenting will show that this is flat out wrong.  Flipping every 15 seconds will produce a more evenly cooked burger, and a low temp start in the oven before putting on the grill will produce the best grilled burgers you have ever had!  Helpful link on this here.

Mac and Cheese Secrets

Mac and Cheese Secrets

Mac and Cheese goes great with a backyard picnic during grilling season.  Any mac and cheese recipe should be more of a guideline, and should be flexible enough to change based on the event, the mood, and the parties enjoying it.  A few important points:

  • Know how to make a roux.  This is a wonderful opportunity to teach a young cook a very important cooking technique.  Great mac and cheese recipes start with a roux.
  • A very sharp cheese will add a lot of flavor, but using aged, very sharp cheese can get pricey. To add a little bite try adding just a portion of aged, sharp cheese, and then you can use a little dry mustard powder and/or cayenne.
  • Want that wonderful “stringy” effect when you pull it apart?  Add a little Gruyere to your cheese mix.
  • Large, hollow noodles with some sort of ridges will hold the cheese sauce best.
  • When you put the mac and cheese in the oven, it should be fairly runny, the baking process will tighten it up.
  • Don’t forget the top!  Recipes call from everything to simple crumbled crackers to a mix of butter and Panko bread crumbs, so make sure to add a nice crust to the top of your mac and cheese.
grilling corn
Great Grilling Sweet Corn

Don’t Soak That Corn

This started about a decade ago, and needs to go away- don’t pre-soak your corn on the cob before going on the grill.  If you want to do the boil technique and not use the grill, that is great, but when grilling corn on the cob, Mother Nature has the corn all ready for the grill, thank you very much!  Many people do like to cook the corn on the cob in the husk, but that is also more for effect than anything else.  Want perfect grilled corn on the cob?  Husk it, remove the silk, and put it on the grill.  You might not look like you know some cool technique, but your corn will taste better… much better than anyone who soaked it before. A cool article on that here.

grilling and basting
Great Grilling with Sauces

Sugary Sauces Burn!

There is nothing better than the tastes of chicken or pork that has been grilled with a little sweet BBQ sauce, creating little crusts on the corners and in the crevices.  However, keep in mind how and when to apply.  The more sugar in a sauce, the quicker and more pronounced the burning.  For instance, we love to grill chicken wings, but when we are in the mood for grilled wings with a sweet BBQ sauce, we start with just a toss in a high-smoke point oil, like Canola, along with some salt and pepper.  We grill them until almost done, and then apply a coat of the sweet BBQ sauce, flip a few times, while watching carefully for burning.