So, you bought the new grill and are rarin’ to go! Let’s start
with some basic grilling techniques. First I would like to
define the various heat temperatures…..HOT, MEDIUM, LOW.
above 450 degrees F. Primarily used for searing meats. When
we talk about searing, it is NOT in regards to sealing the
juices in. That is nearly impossible on a grill. Instead,
searing is the caramelization of the meat. That is the process
that is responsible for that grilled taste.
between 300 – 400 degrees F. This is normally what most things
are cooked at. First you sear at HIGH temps then you will
finish cooking at MEDIUM temps.
between 225 – 275 degrees F. These low temps are used on larger
cuts of meat that are laden with fat that must be rendered.
The only way to accomplish this is to cook the meat at low
temps for extended periods of time.
now review the difference between direct and indirect heat.
Direct heat means the meat is placed directly over the flames
or heat source. Lean cuts of meat will be grilled using the
direct heat method. Indirect means that the meat is placed
away from the heat source. Indirect heat is used for larger
cuts of meat that are not as lean. See the article entitled
"Indirect Heat" for a full explanation of how to use these
let’s talk about the various meat temperatures…..what we call
doneness temps. These are always somewhat controversial, simply
because everyone likes their meats done a little different.
These are the MINIMUM temps I use when finishing meats
145 degrees F for medium rare. All the bad bugs in beef are
killed at this temp. The one exception here is ground beef.
That should always be cooked to 160 degrees F because of the
huge surface area that promotes bacterial formation.
165 degrees F for white meat, 185 degrees F for dark meat.
Salmonella is killed at 165 degrees F.
150 degrees F for medium rare. Don’t worry about trichinosis,
as it is killed at 137 degrees F.
I mentioned, these are my minimum temps and if you like your
meats done a little more that is fine. Just don’t cook them
too much…...they will dry out.
strongly suggest a good quality meat thermometer. The new
digital instant read thermo’s are very affordable and easily
carried around in your pocket. This is essential, especially
if you are new to the grilling experience. Once you are comfortable
with the time it takes to bring meats to these temps, then
the thermo can be replaced by "feel and touch".