We all seem to think that men were born with the “grilling gene,” but after six years of teaching cooking classes, I have learned that is not true.
My dad, bless his heart, used to make barbecued chicken that was burned on the outside and raw on the inside. He did not have the grilling gene. If you are like my dad, don’t fret; I have a little “gene” therapy for you.
For starters, give some thought to which type of grill you’re using. I use both gas and charcoal grills. I prefer to make turkey and roasts on my charcoal grill. For the sake of time, everything else goes on the gas grill. Whether you choose gas or charcoal grilling, the concepts remain the same.
For the best results, there are a few things to remember.
First, your grill can be used like an oven (indirect heat) for things like a whole chicken, or like a frying pan (direct heat) for burgers and boneless chicken breasts. Each method has its place. Once you learn which method is appropriate for what you are cooking, your grilling ability will improve tremendously.
Second, don’t think your grill is only for cooking meat. I grill fruit, vegetables, desserts — everything. I’ve even baked cakes on the grill.
Third, there are many grilling gadgets available. For example, I love to grill veggies, but sometimes they fall through the grates. Grilling trays and baskets solve that problem. I also love my beer-can chicken rack, remote grill thermometer and cedar planks. And who can live without their own personalized branding iron for steaks?
Now that you know a little more about grilling, please grill safely. Keep the grill away from the house or anything flammable. Use long-handled tongs and turners, as well as long mitts, so you do not get burned. Clean the grill after each use to minimize grease build up, and keep small kids away from the grilling area.
Remember, even if you are not the perfect griller, friends come to enjoy your company; if the food is not perfect, the conversation will be.
• Judy A. Toth is the owner of Simply Impressive Cooking School in Mesa. Her column appears the second Wednesday of the month. Reach her at (480) 654-1981 or SimplyImpressive.com.