Jeff Mauro's 10 Rules for Successful Summer Grilling
The co-host of The Kitchen shares 10 easy-to-do grilling techniques that will help you turn out the best, smokiest dishes of the season.
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Always Preheat the Grill
Preheat your grill early and often. If you think 10 minutes is enough, it's not. Triple that. You want a piping-hot grill before you put anything on there. It's something you can't rush.
A Good Grill Is a Clean Grill
Clean your grill at least once a month. Obviously clean the grates before each cook, but also get in there to clean your grease trap. Clean the inside and vacuum out whatever ash remains at the bottom. It'll burn hotter, especially the heating elements if you have a gas grill. Scrub that out with a brush so nothing gets clogged in there.
Baskets Will Save Your Seafood
For seafood, especially fish and shrimp, it's good to get one of those flippable baskets that are easy to cook for a crowd and not lose any shrimp to the Grate Gods.
Embrace Indoor Grilling
If it's inclement weather, get a great indoor grill, like a George Forman Grill & Broil, which can help mimic that direct heat using the broil function. You can also griddle and grill on there and do many other things besides cook a burger patty.
Temperature Control Is Key
You want to either calibrate the thermometer that's built into the grill or use an external thermometer to take the temp, because with indirect heating, a lot of times you have to hover by 300 to 400 degrees. And you don't want to overcook something that you lid, so you really have to trust in the temperature of your grill.
Smoker Boxes Bring Big Flavor
Get a smoker box for your grill or charcoal grill. That will help to impart some smoky flavor. It's very affordable and easy to do.
Try the Hot Dog Hand-Roll Method
When you're cooking a lot of hot dogs — let's say a dozen — do the hand-roll method. Using a gloved hand to help protect you from heat, give it one little push and they all roll. You won't lose any to the Grate Gods, nor will you unevenly cook them or have to flip each one.
Getting Grill Marks = Basic Geometry
If you want to get the perfect grill marks, you need a hot, oiled grill so it doesn't stick. Don't move the food too quickly so it doesn't form the grill marks. I like to lay my meats on the grates at a 45-degree angle and then turn them counterclockwise another 45 degrees. So that way you get perfect diagonal grill marks that are also cross-hatched.
Make Sure the Grill Is Oiled
I take a paper towel and I douse it in vegetable oil. I get my grates very, very clean. Right before I put my food on the grill, I oil the grates. Sometimes the grill is so hot that the oil will evaporate instantly, so to ensure it doesn't stick, sometimes you have to brush the outside of your meat or protein or vegetables with a little more oil.
Don't Be Afraid to Put Pans on the Grill
I put my cast-iron on the grill, and I do my vegetables or shrimp or any non-traditional things on there. I'll do my burger patties in a cast-iron on the grill itself too.
Want More from Jeff?
Check out Food Network's The Kitchen headquarters for more tips, plus go-to grilling recipes.