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Grilling Tips For The Perfect Summer Cookout

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Tomorrow’s Memorial Day. My wife and I will be driving down from Tulsa to Oklahoma City to spend the day with my family. Burgers and dogs will be had, along with plenty of potato salad and baked beans. If you’re planning on grilling tomorrow for Memorial Day, here are some last minute tips to help you have the perfect cookout.

  • Let a gas grill preheat for about 10 minutes before you start cooking. For charcoal grills, wait 20 to 30 minutes for the charcoal to turn to a light gray.
  • Keep the grill vents open. This lets oxygen in to feed the flames.
  • Clean your grill. Take the grate off and wash it down with warm soapy water. Make sure to scrub it with a wire brush or steel wool before and after cooking.
  • When using charcoal, douse the coals with the least amount of lighter fluid as possible. If you don’t have lighter fluid, substitute it with salad oil.
  • To estimate the temperature of your grill, hold your hand, palm side down, about 6 inches above the coals. If you can only hold your hand for:

2 seconds – it’s hot, about 375°F or more
3 seconds – it’s medium-hot, about 350 to 375°F
4 seconds – it’s medium, about 300 to 350°F
5 seconds – it’s low, about 200 to 300°F

  • Use long-handled tongs or a spatula to turn food. Do not pierce the food while cooking. Piercing lets all the juices out.
  • Completely defrost meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. You can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
  • Turn items only once and test with and instant read thermometer.
  • Cook food to a safe internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Meat and poultry cooked on a grill often browns very fast on the outside. Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. (The instant-read type works particularly well.) Whole poultry should reach 180°F; breasts, 170°F. Hamburgers made of ground beef should reach 160°F; ground poultry, 165°F. Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts and chops can be cooked to at least 145°F. All cuts of pork should reach 160°F.
  • Eat and enjoy! Happy Memorial Day!

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[tags]cookout, grilling, food, The Frugal Law Student[/tags]