Fourth of July Grilling Tips, Part 2

Categories: Beer Beer Beer
John Linn
Is it the Fourth yet? Because I'm ready to grill!

Charlie is bringing you a batch of grilling tips leading up to Independence Day. Yesterday we covered how to set up and light your fire in Part 1. Today we'll talk about tips for grilling different types of meat to great results.

Stokin' the Fire

You've got your charcoal grill lit and your propane bad boy is blazing. Now where do you go from here?

For most grilling applications, you'll want to do what's called a warm up. Essentially you want the temperature in your grill to come up to and hold at its hottest for about 15 minutes. This should be plenty of time to get your cooking surface -- i.e. the grill grates -- nice and hot.

Some metals are better conductors than others. Cast iron grill grates, which Charlie recommends, are actually very poor conductors of energy. For this reason, it takes longer for them to heat up than other metals. But as a result, they retain heat much better too. That's why your cast iron skillet at home can get so much hotter than your Teflon skillet.

Hot grill grates are key to grilling. Not only do you want good grill marks, but a warmed up grill will actually cook more evenly than one that isn't.

For coals, you're going to want to let them burn until they're covered in white ash. At that point you'll get excellent, consistent heat, but not so much that you'll get flare ups every five seconds.

Flare ups, by the way, are bad. You don't want fire licking your food -- you're just going to end up with meat that's burnt.

Lastly, once you're all heated up, determine the hottest part of your grill. New grills with multi-zone burners tend to have pretty even heat areas. But there are lots of outside factors involved, like wind and cleanliness of your unit. Float the palm of your hand a few inches above your grill grate (don't burn yourself!) and determine what spot is the hottest. Every grill is different.

Meat Techniques

Here's how I like to handle individual cuts of meat on the grill:

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