Everyone knows there is more to grilling than just tossing a piece of meat over the flame. Proper grilling techiques must be employed to ensure that your food comes out perfect every time.
Grilling Techniques overview
Grill masters use many different techniques in their pursuit of culinary perfection. Some techniques are simple and ought to be observed every time you use the grill. Some techniques are more advanced and take some practice to get the hang of. Remember that achieving perfection takes time. Keep working at perfecting these skills, remember that every grill is different so you can be sure that there will be some tweaking to do. Take a look at the more detailed posts about each technique to learn more.
Basic Grilling techniques
Perhaps one of the most basic grilling techniques to master is direct heat and indirect heat grilling. Simply put, direct heat means that your food is directly above and exposed to the flame of the grill. Indirect heat means that the food is not being exposed to the open flames. Both grilling methods have their advantages and disadvantages. On a gas grill, place your food above an active burner for direct heat. For indirect heat, turn off the burner directly below your food but leave the others on. For indirect grilling on a charcoal grill, pile all of the burning charcoal to one side of the grill and place your meat on the opposite side of the grate.
Direct heat grilling is typically used with the next technique of discussion: searing. Searing meat creates the appetizing grill marks and irregular coloring that we think of with grilled food. Because of the direct exposure to the flame, the surface of the meat changes on a molecular level, enhancing the flavor.
Indirect heat grilling is typically used with more delicate meats, such as seafood; or with longer cooking meats, such as pork shoulder. Another use for indirect heat is with smoking food. Smoke chips impart a massive amount of flavor to any food. Indirect heat is ideal with smoking because it allows the smoke to work into the meat without searing the outside so more smoke cannot get in.
Advanced grilling techniques
Braising is not something reserved for the indoor oven, it can also be accomplished on the grill. Typically braising refers to cooking meat in liquid in the oven. When used in the grill, it is important to monitor your temperature during the braise. Indirect heat should be used to keep the bottom of the meat from burning due to direct exposure to the flame.
Baking is also a technique that can be used on the grill. Most often we think of baking pizza on the grill, but you can also make a number of rustic loaves and even pan breads with the grill. When baking on the grill, once again, the heat ought to be monitored closely. Many factors are at play when baking, check out the baking post for a detailed discussion of these grilling techniques.