Posted on: 24 January 2018
Outdoor kitchens and living areas continue to be one of the most desired features for those who are buying a new home or remodeling an existing one. In addition to providing additional space for casual family dinners, these custom outdoor areas offer comfort and convenience for grilling meals for larger gatherings of family or friends. If you are one of the many homeowners who have upgraded their home to include this type of outdoor living space or are purchasing a home that includes this space, the following tips can help you turn out gourmet-quality meals from your new outdoor grilling area.
Abide by food safety rules
Food safety is an important concern whenever cooking for others, but it is even more critical when preparing food in outdoor areas. In addition to an increased threat of spoilage due to exposure to warmer outdoor temperatures, cooking outdoors also means there are more opportunities for the food to come into contact with dust, dirt, animals, or insects than would likely be possible in an indoor kitchen environment. To help protect the food you are preparing from contamination in your outdoor cooking area, be sure to:
- keep meats, condiments, and recipe ingredients properly chilled in either an outdoor refrigerator or an ice chest with plenty of ice
- use covered storage containers and serving dishes where possible, to keep flies and stinging insects away while cooking and dining
- avoid serving any potentially spoiled food that may not have been kept properly cool and use small serving dishes that can be replaced with fresh ones frequently
Since food scraps, drips, spills, and sugary beverages can draw flies capable of contaminating other foods, enlist the help of a spouse or friend to help you keep tables, counters, and food prep areas clean and clutter-free so you can focus on your grilling duties.
Do the prep work to ensure tenderness
Large cuts of meat, such as slabs of ribs and large briskets require some prep work to make sure they are tender and delicious when served to your guests. Pre-cooking these large cuts is a great way to make large or less tender cuts perfect for finishing on the outdoor grill.
To precook large cuts such as brisket or ribs before grilling, it is wise to use a braising liquid to ensure that the meat will remain juicy and flavorful throughout the process. Water and broth are both good choices for the braising liquid.
Place the cut of meat in a covered roasting pan, adding enough braising liquid to cover the bottom of the pan to a depth of one to two inches. Bake at low heat until the interior of the meat reaches the correct internal temperature for the type and size cut of meat. Then cool the meat completely, cut into serving-sized pieces, and promptly refrigerate them until time to finish them on the grill.
Meat that has been pre-cooked can be quickly finished by searing on a hot grill. In addition to the smoky flavor imparted by grilling, these meats can be sauced with a grilling sauce or basted with butter to add additional layers of flavor and to help to get a better sear on the outer surfaces of the meat.
Choose the right wood for the best flavor
Whether pre-cooking a large cut of meat for a crowd or grilling individual steaks or servings of fish or chicken, the wood that you use in your grill plays the most important part in achieving that smoky, wood-grilled flavor. Instead of buying generic, pressed charcoal briquettes for your grill, consider purchasing real wood for the best flavor.
When shopping for realwood for your grill, look for those varieties that are naturally fragrant, like cherry and maple. These will provide a rich, sweet smokiness that works to enhance the flavor of meat, fish and poultry.Share