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7 Tips For Grilling The Perfect Steak

Last week, in the spirit of barbecue season, we looked at some of the best tips for grilling the perfect burger. Most likely you’re seeing a lot of burgers this summer and there’s nothing wrong with that. They are an easy, inexpensive and delicious summer meal. However, on occasion it is nice to treat yourself to a little something more – to take a little more effort and spend a little more money to grill yourself a nice summertime steak on the barbecue. Now, a steak is a little different from a burger and demands a little more respect. Some people might not think it’s worth it to put in the extra effort and that’s fine. But if you’re looking to make a steak that will rival any restaurant, here’s how you can.

Go out of your way for the right cut.

You can find any old steak at your local grocery store and it won’t be too pricy either. Of course, it also won’t be all that good. For a steak fit for a king (or queen) you’ll have to go a little out of your way. Find a local butcher shop if you can, and if not the bigger grocery chain usually have such a section. Finding the right cut of meat can be tricky. The cut of you steak depends entirely on your own preferences, but if you’re new to this then a safe bet is to go with the ribeye cut. It offers a juicy flavourful piece of meat without having to tend to it too much.

Thickness is key.

Where steak is concerned, the most important aspect of the cut of meat is the thickness. It is the thickness that will determine how well a steak will grill. To thin of a cut and it will cook too fast with nowhere for the juices to hide. Too thick and you risk not getting an evenly cooked steak. Experts say that sticking to a two-inch thickness will allow for the best chances for a perfectly cooked steak.

Start it at room temperature.

When we spoke of the perfect way to grill a burger, we advised that having the burger cold before throwing it on the grill was a good way to go. However, the same technique does not apply to the steak cooking. We want the entire steak to cook as evenly as possible, so starting the with a cold steak means that each side will be grilled in drastically different temperatures. Leaving the steak at room temperature before you put it on the grill makes for a more even cook.

Keep it simple with the seasoning.

Steaks are very flavourful in their own right so there’s no need to help them out in that department too much. If you were dealing with an inferior cut of steak then you can go to town on marinating or seasoning it as you see fit. But if you’re splurging on a prime cut, the simpler the better. Really just a little drizzling of salt and pepper before grilling is all you need. You don’t want too much distracting from those wonderful natural flavours.

Prepare the grill.

For this step, we follow the same instructions as we did with our burgers. Yes, your grill needs more preparation than just a little heat. Firstly, clean your grill off between each cookout. A dirty grill can cause uneven cooking and you get bits of old, overcooked food in your meat. The temperature of your grill is also essential. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a tough time cooking to perfection. Also, have the grill hot and ready when you are putting the steak on. This ensures there’s no fluctuation with the heat as you cook.

Watch the heat.

It’s recommended that you grill steaks over charcoal, although going out to buy a brand new barbecue just for a steak seems a little much so you can work with whatever grill you have. And whatever grill you have, you need to be weary of the heat. Keep it monitored and under control. In some cases, when juices drip down and cause some flare ups. Some people use a spritzer to calm the flames but that often sends ashes into your meat. Instead adjust the temperature and move the steak temporarily if necessary.

Let it stand.

Patience is a virtue in life and certainly when it comes to enjoying a steak. You might feel tempted to dive right into that delicious smelling meat as soon as it is off the grill, but if you’re willing to wait you’ll be rewarded. Not only will it be too hot to enjoy, allowing it to rest off the heat for a bit lets the juices and flavours build. In 10 minutes time, you’re looking at the perfect steak still on your plate ready to be enjoyed.

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9 Steps For Grilling The Perfect Burger

It is officially barbecue season so fire up the grills and let’s talk about some good cooking. The odds-on favourite of this wonderful time of year is the burger, and if you disagree, it might be because you’re cooking it wrong. There are a number of ways to cook a burger, and some would suggest the grill isn’t even the best way. However, using the right techniques and taking your barbecuing duties seriously can result in a burger better than any you’ll find at a fast food joint. So if you’re looking to master the grill this summer, here’s what you need to know for making the perfect burger.

Before the grill:

1) Choose the right meat.

Choosing the right meat for your burger can be a challenge. Firstly, you might just have to ignore your healthier instincts if you truly want to make the best burger. I know, that’s not the wisest thing to advise but let’s be honest, if you’re making a burger, you’re no all that health conscious. Lean meat is a great option for some meals, but for burgers, the more fat, the juicier the patty will be. Also, if you can find freshly ground beef then go with that. It’s much better quality and forms a better patty.

2) Mix gently.

When it comes to the spices and accoutrement you want to add to your meat, that remains completely up to your own preferences. However, when you are mixing all the meat and so forth together, you want to be as gentle as you can be. Mixing to harshly toughens up the meat and makes it more likely to break apart.

3) Save the salt for later.

Again, what you add to your burger is completely up to you. Many people like to simply stick to salt and pepper for seasoning, and that’s a great choice. However, don’t mix your salt in with the beef before you’re ready to start cooking. Adding salt to the beef dries out the meat and robs it of some of its natural flavours. Instead, add the salt last, once the patties are made and just before they are about to go on the grill.

4) Pack properly.

Packing the perfect patty is a bit of an art. You want to make sure the burgers will stay together on the grill and aren’t going to fall apart when you try to flip them, so you need to pack them solidly. Also, you need to be aware of the proper size. If you’re using fatty meat (which you should be) they tend to shrink significantly when on the grill so build them accordingly. A good technique to help prevent too much shrinking is to put a little dimple in the patty.

5) Keep things cold.

Once your patties are packed, avoiding throwing them on the grill right away. Put them in the fridge for a while before barbequing. Keeping the beef cold helps to keep them together and will allow them to cook better.

On the grill:

6) Prepare the grill appropriately.

While your patties are cooling down in the fridge, you can start to prepare your grill for cooking. Yes, your grill needs more preparation than just a little heat. Firstly, clean your grill off between each cookout. A dirty grill can cause uneven cooking and you get bits of old, overcooked food in your meat. The temperature of your grill is also essential. Too hot or too cold and you’ll have a tough time cooking the burger to perfection. Also, have the grill hot and ready when you are putting the patties on. This ensures there’s no fluctuation with the heat as you cook.

7) Don’t press the meat.

This seems to be the instinct of many cooks, but unfortunately it is a wrong instinct. Sure, you like flatter patties and your burgers tend to get a little bulbous on the grill. But when you press the burgers, you lose so much of those delicious and flavourful juices.

8) Flip minimally.

When you’re cooking away, knowing when to flip the burger is extremely important. What you want to aim for is one flip and done. It’s daunting, I know. You have to make sure you’re completely done on one side before flipping and finishing it off. Flipping it too often toughens up the meat, while flipping it too soon causes the burgers to stick.

9) Add cheese at the end.

Once more, what you prefer on your burger is totally your business. But if you’re not putting cheese on your burger you are missing out. Of course, you need to apply the cheese at the right moment. Putting it on too early can leave you with burnt cheese and unable to flip your unfinished burger. Once your burger is done cooking, move it off the direct heat and slap a slice of cheese on top to melt it without overcooking your burger.

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8 Tips For Safe Summer BBQs

Barbeque season is fully upon us. Food lovers often rejoice at this time of year for the sheer amount of delicious barbeque options that become available in the summer. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken burgers, maybe even a steak or two if you’re lucky. And lets not forget that vegetables also taste better on the BBQ.

With all the excitement about the endless food possibilities, we need to remember that barbequing if something that can be dangerous if you’re not being responsible. A gas BBQ especially offers a few dangers for cooks. But there’s no reason to cut back on grilling, just be aware of the necessary safety tips for barbequing responsibly.

Keep your cooking area clear.

Just like your office workspace, it’s important to keep the clutter out of your cooking area. First of all, it helps keep things organized and makes the actual cooking easier, and second of all, it helps to avoid any potential accidents. With too much junk on your BBQ, it’s very easy for something to fall on the grill that shouldn’t and creates potential fire hazards. Also, be sure to keep your BBQ far enough away from your health and ensure there’s no low-hanging branches or flammable materials above it.

Clean your grill regularly.

Sticking with the theme of cleanliness, it’s important to keep your grill clean. Without regular cleanings, there can be a buildup of grease and food pieces on the grill which can easily cause flame-ups. It’s a good idea to clean the grill after every cookout. Not only will it ensure the grill is clean next time, but it’s also the easiest time to clean it.

Never leave your gas on when not cooking.

Some people like to take the easy route for their barbequing but often the easy way is bypassing the more necessary safety precautions. For instance, leaving the propane on and turning off the burners may make it easy to get started next time you cook, it’s extremely dangerous. The burners are much more sensitive and can mistakenly be turned on leading to a gas leak. Take the extra moment to turn the gas off and have that piece of mind.

Remove the lid before turning on the gas.

When turning on the gas, the proper procedure is to open the lid, then turn on the gas and burners before lighting. When the gas is on and the lid is closed, the gas can build up and when you attempt to light it, you could get a big fireball in the face.

Heat up the grill.

Once the BBQ is lit, it’s a good idea to let the heat grill heat up for a little while before adding any food. This not only allows the grill to warm up for more efficient cooking but it also allows time for the bacteria and unwanted material to be burned away. The intense heat of the BBQ will kill anything leftover from previous cooks.

Focus on grilling.

You might be doing your barbequing during a party or get-together, but your burden as grill master means you have to stay by your station while the BBQ is on. Never leave the grill unaccompanied while the gas is on. If you need something from inside the house, ask someone to get it for you or have someone else takeover. Without someone watching the grill at all time, your food could burn or something much more serious.

Don’t put too much on the grill.

Even with a big party, you don’t want to overload your grill with too much food. Even a little bit of food can cause the occasional flame-ups due to grease. With a limited amount of food on the grill, those flame-ups can be kept under control but adding more food means it will be harder to handle.

Make sure everything is cooked properly.

Just because the meat looks done, doesn’t mean that it is done. Some people like a little red in their steaks, but that’s about the only meat you can undercook without concern. Hamburgers and chicken need to be cooked thoroughly. Cut them open before taking them off the grill or use a meat thermometer. Sometimes the perfect BBQ needs a little more time.

Be prepared.

While these tips should help you to keep your barbequing safe, you should always be prepared for the worst. It’s suggested that keep a small spray bottle with you in case of flame-ups and for the more serious cases, a fire extinguisher is always a good idea.