How To Grill Your Favorite Foods

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Are you supposed to salt your steak before putting it on the grill? How do you know chicken is done? What’s the secret to keeping fish from sticking? Don’t make the mistakes many amateur grillers do!

There are some grilling techniques that work for whatever you’re making. Always remember to marinate – it adds flavor and also reduces the risk of cancer that is caused from charring food. Remember to use a meat thermometer and other basic grilling tools. But there are also some techniques that are specific to the type of meat you’re working with. You can use this easy guide on how to grill and prepare the perfect burger, chicken, fish or steak.

Burgers

Preparation

Chill the meat before forming the patties and then chill again for 30-45 minutes before grilling.

Cooking Method

The Weber One-Touch Charcoal Grill is top-rated and great for cooking burgers.

The Weber One-Touch Charcoal Grill is top-rated and great for cooking burgers.

Leave your burger alone while it’s grilling so you get those perfect grill marks. When you just have a few minutes left, add the cheese on top so it slightly melts.

When It’s Done

It should take between 10 to 16 minutes to grill a ½ inch to ¾ inch thick burger. Let the burgers grill for four minutes and then flip. Grill them for an additional six to 12 minutes. If you want medium grilled burgers, grill for approximately eight minutes.

“Each hamburger is going to be a different size. Never make an assumption if you put 10 hamburgers on, the 10 will come off at the some time,” explains John Rivers, owner and chef of 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Florida

Let your burgers rest covered with foil for a few minutes before eating. And don’t forget about the importance of a good bun and toppings!

Chicken

Preparation

While pre-cooking is often looked down upon, you’ll actually get better results if you microwave thicker cuts of chicken breasts for a few minutes before throwing them on the grill. There’s nothing worse than perfectly charred chicken that’s raw on the inside!

Cooking Method

Don’t move your chicken around while it’s cooking – wait until it needs to be flipped. Also, remember that cooking a whole chicken is totally different than grilling a chicken breast in terms of the amount of time it will take the cook and the amount of heat you’ll need.

When It’s Done

Your thermometer should read about 170-180° F depending on the thickness and the juices should run out clear. If they’re pink or red, it needs more grilling time.

Fish

Preparation

Choose a hearty, firm fish like swordfish or tuna that won’t break apart on the grill. Fish takes the least amount of time to marinate – as little as 15 minutes for shrimp and up to an hour for salmon. You’ll want your grill especially clean before grilling fish, and also make sure it is lightly pre-oiled so nothing sticks.

Cooking Method

If you want to grill an especially light and flaky fish, put it in a grill basket or on foil if you don’t own one so it doesn’t stick to the grates.

When It’s Done

New York Central Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Christian Ragano, says to opt for a higher quality cut since you’ll get the best results if the fish is on the rarer side.

Steak

Preparation

Salt and season your meat well before cooking it. Some experts recommend salting meat at a minimum of 40 minutes before it hits the grill to really lock in the moisture.

Cooking Method

This doesn’t just go for steak, but everyone looks for those crosshatch marks to signify the perfect steak. Ragano says to place the food at a 45 degree angle to the grill grates, and once the meat has grill marks, turn it 45 degrees in the other direction.

When It’s Done

Invest in a meat thermometer to ensure your steaks are perfectly cooked. Thicker steaks will continue to cook slightly once removed from the grill, so don’t overcook them. 120° F is rare, 140° F is medium and 160° F is well done.

Rivers reiterates the importance of not cutting into steak immediately. “If you wait just 10 minutes, put a piece of tin foil over the meat so it retains its heat. It’ll soak all those juices in and retain them in the fibers of the meat itself.”

Marly Schuman Marly Schuman (84 Posts)

Marly Schuman is a former content specialist at Viewpoints.