Tips for Grilling Moist Meats

This is a guest post by Christine Steendahl from Spring is here!

One of the first things I think about when spring appears is “time to grill”! I love a grilled meal and we just don’t grill in the winter. I know you can, but something about heading outside in our Illinois sub-freezing temperatures just is not appealing to me or my grill-master hubby. So at our house grilling is reserved for the spring, summer and early fall months. By the time spring rolls around I am beyond ready to fire up the grill! Most everyone likes to cook outdoors on a grill, especially when it’s just too hot to cook in the kitchen. However meat cooked in the hot dry environment of a grill, will often dry out if precautions are not taken. No one enjoys a dry tough piece of meat. Here are a few tips to help create a tender, juicy, meal. First, purchase the right meat. Do not use tiny pieces that will fall through the grates (although kabobs work great for this!). Also look for cuts that are uniform in thickness. Finally make sure your meat is fully defrosted before placing it on the grill. Some great choices for grilling include steak, chicken breasts, chicken legs, pork chops, hamburger patties, or fish fillets. Second, be sure to get the grill hot before adding any meat. Lock in flavor by keeping the grill closed as much as possible. Grilling with the lid up is similar to grilling on a camp fire. It will get the job done, but it cooks slower and does not lock in the moist flavor you get with the quick hot cooking that will be accomplished with the lid closed. Also, go easy with the spatula. The more pressure placed on the meat, the more the natural juice lost. Thirdly, use the proper cooking time for the selected meat and remember to let the meat rest after removing from the grill. This gives it time to finish cooking and reabsorb some of its juices. Here is a link to some recommended cooking times and methods of various meals: (at the top you can click for various types of foods) For indirect cooking, a good marinade is the best choice for locking in moisture as well as flavor. The best cuts of beef need only soak for 20 minutes to an hour. For less choice cuts of meat, increase the soak time to tenderize. Always marinate in the refrigerator—never at room temperature, but DO let the meat sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before putting it on the grill. Chicken needs to marinate for at least 20 minutes but generally not more than an hour. For a few favorite grilling recipes and marinades check out the Spring Recipe Collection in my spring bundle. For meat that is to be cooked for a long period of time with the lid down; a simple small pan of water set inside the grill, away from the meat will help replace some of the juice lost during cooking. Flavored chips (Mesquite for example) added to the water will also enhance the taste. An open can of beer set over the hottest part of the fire will boil and saturate the air with vapor and flavor. Sauces should be added during the last few minutes of grilling. I hope you enjoy getting outside and grilling this spring! I can’t wait to have that smell wafting in the air. Grilling always makes for a flavorful, succulent meal the whole family enjoys. Grill full of meat cooking

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