4 things you’re doing wrong behind the grill — and how to fix them

It’s grilling season, which means it’s time to put on your apron and get your meats (and veggies and fish) ready.

Here, pros give you tips on ways to up your grilling game:

Chicken on the grill / JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Overcooking your chicken

Food writer Mark Bittman, who will be in Atlanta May 17 signing copies of his book ‘How to Grill Everything,” says he “burned so much chicken” over the years before starting to reverse-sear his poultry — cooking the bird first over the indirect portion of the grill until it is just done, then putting it, skin side down, over the fire for a few minutes.

“Whenever you use that technique, which works for other fatty things too, you just have to be careful when you’re browning it at the end,” he said.

Read more about Bittman’s grilling tips and his new book here.

 

“Project Smoke” Smoked Planked Trout. PHOTO CREDIT: Matthew Benson

Soaking your plank when grilling fish

Conventional wisdom calls for soaking the plank in water prior to grilling or smoking on the theory that soaking keeps the plank from burning.

Steven Raichlen, the author of “Project Smoke,” suggests doing just the opposite: char the plank directly over the fire to bring out some of the flavor-producing carbonyls and phenols before adding the fish. This method works equally well on a grill or in a smoker.

Get the full recipe for Smoked Planked Trout and other grilling tips from Raichlen here.

 

Lighting the Big Green Egg. / CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Storing your charcoal outside

If you’re keeping your charcoal outside next to your grill, you’re doing yourself — and your food — a disservice. The humidity can take longer to get the grill up to temperature, according to Amanda Egidio, who manages the Big Green Egg Center in Atlanta.

Another tip? If you’re cooking on a wooden deck, put a fire-proof rug under it. Errant sparks can fly, and that kind of fire isn’t what you’re after.

Read more about cooking on a Big Green Egg, including recipes, here.

 

Not seasoning your grate

Seasoning your grate cuts down on the food sticking, according to Jenn Robbins, the owner of Good Foods Kitchen in Atlanta. Always have a cotton towel on hand and a squeeze bottle of oil to season the grate. “It’s the same as seasoning a cast iron skillet. Even a cut down t-shirt will work. Use something you don’t mind discarding since you’re not going to want to wash it. Get oil into the cloth and then rub down the grates. Never use spray nonstick cooking oils,” Robbins said.

Get more grilling tips and recipes from Robbins here.

 

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