Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to take advantage of the warm weather and long days by cooking up a few nice meals to share with family and friends. At Brandermill Woods, we’re all about lifestyle, and nothing says summer lifestyle like breaking out the grill in the summer.
Because grilling is a healthy and tasty way to enjoy your favorite foods, it pays to do a little research. You can grill so much more than meat, from fish and breads to fruits and veggies—even desserts can be cooked on the grill. To help you make the most of the season (and the seasonings), we’ve got some helpful hints and terrific tips about grilling for you to enjoy.
What to Grill With:
Smoke is essentially a bunch of particulate matter—esters and volatile compounds—that are trapped in a gas, which you want to surround and penetrate your dish. It’s not an easy technique to master as you must evaluate the humidity and temperature inside a smoker. If it’s too hot, the meat will dry out and develop a crust, keeping the smoke from penetrating. If it’s too humid, the smoke will roll off the meat.
Charcoal can be easier to manage but can also be dangerous. When cooking with charcoal, don’t leave the grill unattended for any length of time. Charcoal can throw sparks, so make sure to store the excess charcoal far from the grill and keep the area around the grill clear.
Wood offers a variety of options that can help flavor your food but the kind you pick makes a difference in how your food cooks. Consider the following options:
- Oak is a dense wood that will burn consistently for a long time.
- Mesquite and hickory don’t burn as long, but provide a tremendous amount of aggressive smoke, which can add a strong smoky flavor to your food.
- Nut woods have less smoke than other types.
- Fruitwoods, such as Applewood, have a sweet smoke.
What to Flavor With:
Marinades can tenderize and preserve meat and when the marinade contains acid, it can even make your grilled food safer, as the acid will reduce unhealthy compounds that result from grilling.
However, dry rubs are often used in grilling because the acid in marinades can prohibit browning. Dry rubs draw the moisture out of the surface of meat to achieve a crust (called a bark) to trap the juices in. They also can prevent bacterial growth, especially those that are heavily salted.