Grilling isn’t an exact science, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t making mistakes all the time. We often hear people mention tips for grilling that just aren’t true. We are going to dispel some of these common myths, and maybe this will help you become an even better griller.
- You can use your hand to tell how hot your grill is.
Don’t use your hand for temperature! Not only could you burn yourself, but it is very inaccurate. Plus the temperature near the meat is not the same temperature as 6 inches above the gate. You should always use a grilling thermometer if you want accurate temperatures. The hand won’t tell you much more than “it is hot”.
- You should get your grill super-hot to sear your meat first.
This isn’t the correct way to handle meat, at least not usually. Instead, you should set your grill up to have two different heat fields. One of them should be indirect heat and the other will be right over the heat source. Unless you are cooking something very thin, you will want to cook using the direct side first and let the heat and smoke slowly cook the meat. This will give it a wonderful flavor and allow it to cook properly. In the end, you can put it over the direct heat if you want to caramelize the outside.
- Searing meat will seal the juices in
This is not entirely true since meat is made of 70% water, anytime you eat meat it will release juices. It is impossible to completely prevent the juices from escaping. Searing can actually have the opposite effect and can evaporate the water, and cause the meat to be drier. The best thing to do is after cooking, let the meat rest for a few minutes so that the juices will soak back in.
- Marinades will penetrate deep into the meat
While it is true that marinades will add some great flavor, and you should let the meat marinade for a while, it isn’t true that it will completely penetrate the meat. The pores on a thick cut of meat are much too small for spices like pepper to penetrate. This is really only a major myth for thick meat. So an extended period of time doesn’t mean it will always have more flavor.
- The pink juice is blood
The liquid in your plate isn’t blood, it is water that is pink due to a protein called myoglobin. This protein is never found in blood and has nothing to do with blood. We would suggest not using that term since that can be a big turn off for many people.
- Lookin’ ain’t cookin’
We hear this one all the time. Basically, the idea is that every time you peak at the food you will have to add a few minutes to the cooking time. But this actually isn’t the case. The air heat isn’t directly cooking the meet. It is heating the skin of the meat, and then it, in turn, raises the inside temperate of the meat. The inside temperature is what will cook your food. There have been tests with thermometers to see if the inside temperature of meat changed when the lid was opened. The found that opening the lid didn’t affect the temperature inside the meat at all. If you need to check your food or add a brine, just open the lid and do what you need to. As long as you don’t leave it open for minutes at a time, it shouldn’t affect the time needed to cook your food.
These are just 6 of the most common grilling myths that we see. There are many more and we will likely cover more of them in the future. But if you avoid these myths, you’ll be on the right track.