Grilling 101

Thursday, May 21 2015 10:36 AM
By Stephen Valenti

As the weather warms up and we dust off our grills, Executive Chef - Erik Hyre has put together grilling information everyone should know. All ready know the basics? Get the perfect cut of meat to grill with our signature Hereford House hand-cut, certified angus beef.  Fire up your grill and order one of our Raw Meat Grilling Packages today!  

Starting with the basics is sometimes the most daunting task of grilling. It should never be intimidating to grill the perfect steak, steak burger, chicken or seafood item. You just need the right tools to get the job done from start to finish.

One of the most important steps is to know what you are planning on grilling. A giant, juicy steak then you need to have the right grill or the right flame to control the heat. Cooking a beautiful piece of salmon, trout or halibut the temperature can kill your seafood in a matter of minutes. So what I am saying is know your protein and what you plan to do with it. If you want to char and burn it to death that is easy but to cook a perfect medium rare without burning it is the hard part.

The grill will be one of the most important decisions you make in life for a great day of grilling in your back yard. The right one can give you the best products as the wrong one will haunt you and your food until you buy a new grill. There is charcoal, gas, wood, pellet, induction, etc…. Too many to choose from these days. There are even grills that hook up to your electronic devices? Why? The electronic device can’t turn your steak? So why get it? Purchase what you will be most comfortable with. Here are a few differences in each and why you would want to use them or not them.

Charcoal grills are one of the best grills out there if you know how to use them properly. Charcoal burns hotter than gas, adds flavor, adds a sear to your product faster to allow internal juices to stay in allowing for a full flavored steak. The downside to charcoal is if it is too hot or too cold you can’t cook on it. Too hot will burn whatever your cooking in minutes, too cold and you are waiting a while to just get to rare. The trick is to let the charcoal get red then start to turn to ash on the briquettes then put your hand about 10-12 inches over the grill. If you can hold your hand there for 10 seconds and then have to pull it away you are good to go. If you pull it away before 10 seconds wait a few more minutes. If you can keep your hand there all day, then you may need to add more charcoal. But none the less when the temperature is absolutely perfect charcoal will give you a great sear, great flavor and over all great steak!

Wood is very similar to charcoal except that it adds more smoke flavor than charcoal does. Most barbeque grillmasters use a wood of some sort to impart that flavor into the meat as it is slow cooked over hours. The heat is just as hot as charcoal, adds great flavor, cooks your product just as fast as charcoal and sears your steak just as well.

Gas grills are the easiest because you can control the temperature and flame to how you want it. Gas grills get hot and stay hot until you run out of propane. But the flame is ever constant giving you the chance to cook everything you need at one time with different temperature settings to cook separate items. They are great for the new griller in the family. They just don’t add any flavor to what you are cooking. With cooking with gas the best thing you can do is to marinate and season everything you put on it. Otherwise, it will be just plain tasting. Gas grills do get hot but must have a cover over the flame to direct the flame away from what your grilling so getting that great sear to keep the internal juices in is a little harder to get.

Pellet electric grills are a somewhat new product in the market that uses pellets to feed the fire as you cook. The electric motor fills in the grill with pellets and it allows for the grill to get hot and also add a smoke flavor. The grill gets just as hot as a gas grill but again keeps the flame away from directly reaching your steak. A great idea so there is not the mess of charcoal to clean up, it gets just as hot as gas, adds flavor from the smoke (not a lot) but again it is something that you would still want to marinade or season your steaks pretty heavily before cooking them.

If you are going to try and cook this monster of a steak that is as thick as your fist then get your grill hot (not too hot) but sear both sides in the hottest part of the grill and then move it a lower temperature area of the grill to let it cook over less heat. This keeps it from burning the outside and tasting like show leather. You don’t have to continually turn your steaks unless you flame is too hot. That is one common problem I see many do is turn to much and the keep cooking the sides over and over and over again. If your heat is just right leave your steak on there and let it cook a few minutes per side then turn over to the other side. It will cook the inside just the way you like it.

Don’t be scared over the different grills if you have one of them and have had great success grilling, keep it up! But if you have had some difficulties don’t give up. The best thing you can do is to try and try again. Use my hand guide for charcoal or wood grills if you are burning your steaks every time. Turn your temperature down lower on the gas or pellet grill if you are also burning your steak. If it is taking too long to cook add a little more charcoal, wood or turn the temperature up. You will get it!

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