Grilling is one of my favorite ways to cook.  My husband and I use our grill at least once a week, even throughout the winter.  (That is one of the nice things about our mild Albuquerque winters.)  Grilling can be a fun experience whether you are having a backyard party or just preparing a quick dinner for your family.  Grilling is easier than you think, as long as you don’t make one of these five mistakes. 

  1.  Using a fork to handle the meat. I always use a spatula or tongs while I am grilling.  Using a fork to handle the meat or a knife to check for doneness allows the juice and flavor to cook out of the meat. If you aren’t sure if your meat is done, invest in a meat thermometer.  It is the best way to tell if your meat is cooked properly.  Never use the same utensils or platter to take cooked meat off the grill that you used to put raw meat on the grill, without first washing them thoroughly with soap.
  2. Using charcoal. To get away from the carcinogens in charcoal and starting fluid, I prefer gas grilling. I preheat the grill on high for about ten minutes to burn off germs and bacteria. I lightly brush or spray the meat with oil just before grilling to prevent sticking.
  3. Cooking continuously at the same temperature. The best way to lock in flavor and juices in the meat is to sear the first side on high for 3-4 minutes.  Next, flip the meat and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes.  Then, turn the grill to low and add your favorite spices.  I love Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt, and granulated garlic.  My husband loves to use barbecue sauce.  Our favorite is Keller’s Raspberry Chipotle Barbeque Sauce.  If you like to use sauce, just cover the topside of the meat with it.  If you like your steak cooked medium or well, flip the steak once more after 5 or 6 minutes.  If the spices or sauce fall off, don’t worry!  The flavor is already in the meat!  A steak, one inch thick, cooked to rare should take about 10 minutes (depending on grill), for medium about 12 to 13 minutes, and well done about 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Cooking steaks over medium doneness. I never cook a steak over medium doneness because the meat loses juices and flavor. By the time your steak has reached medium you have killed any bacteria that might have been there. With steaks you are pretty safe, even with rare, because bacteria grows on the outside of the meat, and was killed in the searing process. Stabbing meat with something like a fork when it’s raw can take bacteria into the steak (See Mistake #1). Some stores (not Keller’s!) use a needle tenderizer on steaks to help make them more tender, but it also spreads bacteria. When you purchase your meat be sure to ask the butcher if they use a needle tenderizer.
  5. Buying prepackaged meat. I am concerned about food safety so I buy all of my meat at Keller’s. When I was away at college, I would fill my freezer every time I came home so that I didn’t have to buy prepackaged meat.  You always want to make sure that your meat is natural, vegetarian fed, and minimally processed in a clean, inspected plant.  Always ask the butcher how it was processed and if they can’t tell you be very cautious!  Keller’s meats are cut fresh daily in our stores.  It is not prepackaged so you can be sure that it is fresh and cut just for you. 

Keller’s Choice Beef Bistro Filets are on sale this week.  You can save $1 per pound.  They will be $12.98 per pound.  The bistro filets are delicious! They come from the beef shoulder. They are the second most tender cut of meat after the beef tenderloin. They are similar in taste and appearance to beef tenderloin, but they are not as expensive. Most stores don’t carry them because it takes an experienced butcher to cut them. They can be prepared in any recipe that calls for beef tenderloin or filet mignon, or they are excellent grilled. If you prefer a different cut, my absolute favorite steak is the Delmonico.  In my opinion, it has the best flavor of any steak.  When we have a special occasion at our house it is my go to cut.

Have you tried any of my grilling tips?  Do you have any of your own to add?  Comment below to let me know what you think.