24 Best Grilling Tips from Top Chefs
										These pro pointers will help you cook your food to juicy, charred perfection.

24 Best Grilling Tips from Top Chefs These pro pointers will help you cook your food to juicy, charred perfection.

Whether you’ve worked a grill before or not, the backyard appliance can be overwhelming to use. How high should you heat the grill? How long does it take for your meat to cook? What kind of charcoal should you use? One small mistake can take your burger from bangin’ to blah, so we consulted with top chefs, grill masters, butchers, and other professional cooks to bring you the best grilling tips that’ll make you the star of your summer block party.

And as you cook outside this summer, be wary of these 13 Grilling Mistakes That Could Be Making You Sick.

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Just like ovens, grills need to be pre-heated to get the most out of your cooking. Chef Sean Brasel from Meat Market in Miami Beach says that charcoal grills tend to produce better overall flavor once the coals have reached optimum temperature and color. “Putting your grilled items on too soon will produce a gassy smell in your foods, so make sure your coals are ready before cooking.”

How high should the heat be? According to Josh Thomsen, the executive chef at the Vue 1913 and Edison at the Omni Grove Park Inn, it should be at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit. “When using charcoal, let it burn until it’s covered with a thin coat of gray ash. Hold your hand about six inches above the grate. After three seconds, the [temperature] of the heat should force you to snatch your hand away. When using a gas grill, preheat to high. This takes 10 to 15 minutes. When indirect grilling, preheat the grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit,” he says.

Need more grilling inspiration? Check out this fun list of 30 Surprising Foods That Taste So Much Better Grilled!

If you prefer a charred flavor, Chef Brasel says gas grills are better than charcoal ones. “Gas grills can produce a higher heat, enabling better sear and char flavor,” he says. But if you’re using a charcoal grill, it’s important to avoid greasing the coals too much to prevent fires and burning. Chef Michael Gallina of Vicia in St. Louis says that vegetables often cook quickly on the grill, so even a moment spent away can take you from perfectly charred to burnt.

But if they end up burnt, don’t throw your veggies away! “You can use them to prepare a charred vegetable stock, which adds a lot of great flavors to sauces and braises,” Gallina says.

The lids aren’t just there to protect the grills; using them strategically will help you produce smoky flavors. “What’s neat about cooking on a charcoal grill is that different types of charcoal will produce different flavors in your foods. For example, mesquite and hickory charcoal produce a smoked flavor,” Brasel says.

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Brasel says that charcoal grills with a smoker are great for preparing multiple dishes for long periods because they’re designed with different sections and are optimal for slower roasted foods such as brisket and chicken. “Make sure there’s enough water and humidity in your smoker before letting your food cook for hours. Brined and cured products work best in these conditions. Wrapping slow-roasted veggies in foil also produces an amazing confit effect on corn and sweet potatoes,” Brasel says.

Chef Samuel Hess at Grays Restaurant and Bar at the Hilton in Vancouver, Washington, tells us one of the most important steps before you even grill is choosing the right protein-packed meats. “Meats suitable for quick grilling will yield to the touch and not spring back. Think of the difference between raw chicken breast and pot roast,” he says. “Meats that fit this description and have a little marbling are good choices for healthy grilling. Keep in mind that lean meats will overcook and dry out more quickly.”

Learn more about how to enjoy meat healthily with the Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss!

We’re all for saving money and watching our wallets, but it pays to spring for high-quality meat if possible. “Free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free and humanely-treated meat will always taste better than the Soylent Green factory meat most places serve,” says Andy Harris, founder and owner of San Diego’s Grand Ole BBQ y Asado. “Spend time doing your due diligence to ensure you are purchasing the best meat. Also, always use dry rubs and take your time to do it right.”

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