Grilling Tips

There’s nothing like a meal hot off the grill. Ponderosa Provisioners recommends these grilling tips to get the best results…

  1. Keep It Hot. Preheat your grill, otherwise food will stick – we preheat to at least 500F. If you do not have a thermometer then use this simple trick: your gas or charcoal grill is ready to cook on, you will be able to hold your hand five inches above the grate for two seconds if the fire is “hot” and three to four seconds if the fire is “medium-hot.”
  2. Grill Safely. Don’t grill in an enclosed area; use baking soda to control a grease fire, not water; have a fire extinguisher, bucket of sand, or garden hose on hand (for non-grease fires); and be sure your grill is on stable ground before firing it up.
  3. Have Everything Nearby. You should have everything you’re going to need close at hand before you start cooking. “The chicken breast will burn by the time you run back into the kitchen to find those tongs,” they caution.
  4. Keep It Clean. If your grates are dirty before you start to cook let your grill come to temp and then scrub with a wire brush (I use leather gloves to protect my hands).  To make it easier for the next time let you grill go for about 5 minutes on high after everything has come off, and then scrub clean with a wire brush
  5. Grease Your Grates. Once your grill is clean make sure you oil it before cooking. This helps to keep food from sticking, and makes it easier to clean up later.
  6. Decide If You Need a Single-Level or Dual-Level Fire. A single-level fire heats the grill evenly, either with all the gas burners on the same setting, or with the charcoal equally spread out. This is good for cooking things fast, such as vegetables and fish. A dual-level fire (also called indirect grilling) has most, and sometimes all, of the charcoal banked to one side, or the burners on a gas grill adjusted to high on one side and the others turned off or set to low.
  7. Leave an Unheated Space on the Grill. Even if you’re cooking over a single-level fire, we recommend leaving a small space unheated so that you have somewhere to move food if you have a flare-up or if something is cooking too fast.
  8. Keep the Lid Up for Veggies. The lid traps moist heat and smoke, which makes vegetables lose their crunch and take on a “dull, sooty patina.” She advises lid-down cooking only for large, whole vegetables that benefit from a little steam, such as winter squashes or potatoes.
  9. Sauce Later. Saucing too soon is a common mistake. If you brush on sauces at the beginning of cooking, chances are they will burn and taste awful by the time the food is done. Wait until the last few minutes to apply them and you’ll get a nice glaze instead of a black, charred mess.
  10. Don’t Forget Food Safety. Check for proper doneness with an instant-read thermometer and use separate platters for cooked and raw foods. If you want to use a marinade as a sauce, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says to either reserve some that hasn’t come in contact with raw foods, or to boil it first to destroy any bacteria.
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