For the past couple of years, I've been working on my grill skills. I'm getting the hang of it -- I'm extremely proud that I can light that thing all by myself now. But I'm still learning and hungry for more -- well, more grilled food and more info. That's why I was happy to find this interview with grill guru Elizabeth Karmel, author of Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ. She reveals some extremely useful grilling secrets that I wish I'd known before, but I'm happy to know them now.
1. Get a high flame burning, then turn it down. This may be easier if you're using a gas grill. But Karmel says you should heat up your grill for 15 minutes on high, then turn down the heat to actually cook. For a charcoal grill (which is what I use), let the flames die down and the coals burn for a while before cooking.
2. Don't put your food directly over a high flame. Some foods cook very quickly, and in that case, you can sear them over a hot flame and then pull them right off the grill. But larger foods, like thick-cut steaks or whole ears of corn, take more time to cook. Put them on the other side of your grill from the flame.
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3. Clean your grill. Karmel recommends using a good grill brush to get all the gack and old, charred food off your grill before starting. But if you don't have a grill brush, you can make do with this clever hack. Crumple up a baseball-sized ball of tin foil. While the grill is hot, hold that foil with tongs and use it to scrub all the crud off your grill.
4. If you can eat it, you can grill it. This is Karmel's motto, and it means you don't have to limit grilling to just meat and veggie burgers. Experiment with grilling all kinds of foods.
How strong are your grilling skills?
Image via US Department of Agriculture/Flickr