Summer days are nearly here, and that means it’s time to roll down the windows, let your hair loose, and get your grilling game back up to par. Just in case you’ve let your skills get a little rusty over the winter months, here are a few handy tips to ensure a successful cookout this Memorial Day.
1. Prep the Grate
Extend your spring cleaning to your grill to make sure your first cookout gets off to the right start. A clean grate is not only key to good grill hygiene, it’s also required to get those sharp grill lines on your meats and veggies. Best of all, it’s simple to do: just grab a wire brush and a damp cloth, then use some elbow grease to get the surfaces clear of stuck-on gunk.
2. Lock in the Flavor
Don’t miss out on your chance to get creative and delight your dinner guests with some novel glazes and/or rubs. For a quick treatment, grab some honey, molasses or maple syrup-based glaze and brush onto the meats after a few minutes, just as you start seeing signs that things are cooking. If you have a few hours of sit-time before your meal, marinate your meats in a wet or dry rub of herbs, spices, oil, mustard, or even yogurt. Pro Tip: Lightly score your beef to let the glazes and rubs penetrate the meat.
3. Fight Contamination With Separation
A proper grill set-up requires a few stations of operation. Before you begin your grilling, make sure to set yourself up for success by plating up your veggies and raw meats. Have some clean plates on hand for the meats once they’re cooked, and remember to take care that plates that held raw meats go straight back to the kitchen for cleaning so that no one picks one up by mistake. It’s a simple step that takes a second and ensures that you keep your guests and yourself healthy and happy.
4. Utilize Some Smoke
If you’re into a smoky barbecue flavor and you want to impress your friends, think about investing in some hardwood logs, briquettes, or chips. These can all be used with either a gas or charcoal grill to add some delicious smokiness. Applewood, mesquite, and hickory are some tried and true flavors to aim for and to add to your repertoire.
5. Know Your Heat Zones
Red Meats: If you are working with a gas grill, do yourself a favor and keep things simple by setting the burner on high for your grill session. When working with charcoal, place the coals in the center for optimal searing, then once the meat is seared, move it to the outer rim for a less intense heat which will cook inner layers to your desired temperature.
Chicken and Pork: Work with a medium heat and make sure your grill is warmed up and ready to go before you add your meats. These meats are more about getting the timing and inner temperatures just right, which leads us to the next tips…
6. Time for Perfection
Any grill master will tell you that tenderness is all about timing. If it’s your first spin with a new grill or you need to get reacquainted with your old one, make sure to keep a close eye on how things are cooking. Start with a hot grill and remember to consider the thickness of your meat when timing and turning. Pro Tip: Line food up clockwise so you know what’s cooked first. Turn only when grill marks appear
7. Take the Temperature
There’s no shame in using a thermometer, especially if it’s going to mean the difference between a tender, juicy steak and an overdone, rubbery mouthful. Since this is probably your first time cracking out the grill this year, wield your thermometer with pride knowing your meats will come out nice and tasty. Chicken needs to reach 165 F internally while pork needs to reach 145 F.
Rain or shine, at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you can sit back, take some time to commemorate those who are no longer here, and to share some quality moments with friends. If that means taking it easy and letting someone else worry about the food, then make a getaway to Isle of Capri Casino® Lake Charles.
With a bevy of delicious options at Otis & Henry’s®, Farmer’s Pick Buffet®, and The Lone Wolf Express®, you can’t go wrong at the Isle of Capri®. Whether grilling outdoors, enjoying a meal out or some games at Lake Charles, have a happy and safe Memorial Day!