Mike Austin is the Director of Food and Nutrition at Utah Valley Hospital. A chef himself, Mike knows his way around a grill and has a few tips that can improve your grill game, whether you’re a novice or think you can take on Bobby Flay.
Grilled food is not only better for you (think excess fat dripping off the meat and cooking away), it’s easy to prepare and it cooks quickly. Plus, there’s fire! Here are Mike’s tips to help you get grilling.
- Look for well-marbled meat with fat distributed throughout the cut. Fat = flavor, so the leanest cuts are not the best choice.
- Sear the meat at a high heat to seal in the juices.
- Flip the meat ONCE. You can move the meat on the grill if you’re looking for diamond grill marks, but only flip the meat once.
- Use the touch test to determine when the meat is done.
- Allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes once it’s done to redistribute the juices. It should still be warm on the inside even after resting.
- Leave the skin off, Mike advises. The skin will render fat, and when that fat hits the flame it torches the food and dries it out. The meat will lose moisture and may end up cooked on the outside and raw on the inside.
- Marinate! Use a marinade that’s not heavy in oils and allow the meat to soak for a least an hour (ideally two or three hours or even overnight). Get an easy marinade recipe from Mike.
- Take the chicken off the grill if, when you poke it, the juices run clear. If the juices are red or have a pinkish color, your chicken may need some more time on the heat.
- Mike recommends center-cut pork chops or country style ribs for grilling novices. These cuts have enough fat to keep from drying out on the grill.
- Either cut can be marinated, but DON’T marinate in BBQ sauce. The sugar in the sauce will burn and affect the flavor of the meat. Apply the BBQ sauce after the meat is cooked.
- Mike says you can use the touch test on pork chops as well as beef steaks.
- And, if you’re grilling brats or sausages boil them first and then finish them with a nice mark on the grill.
Fish is the most difficult of the proteins to grill because it cooks so quickly. Mike says once it’s seared at a high heat on both sides it’s essentially done.
- Choose a filet rather than a steak. It’s easier to cook all the way through without ruining the meat.
- Buy a whole or a half of a fish with the skin on to protect the fish from the grill.
- Marinate with fresh citrus and herbs, or season with salt and pepper for a delicious and healthy meal.
Use these tips to plan your meals and get grilling!
- 2/3 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- Combination of herbs such as garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Combine all ingredients in a 1 gallon plastic bag and marinate meat for at least 60 minutes, and up to overnight.