Great Grilling Tips!

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining The Motherhood and chef George Duran for an online cooking demonstration and Q&A session. George prepared two delicious meals on the grill and offered up a ton of great grilling advice. Aside from making me hungry for my past-due lunch, the half hour of watching George grill made me long for the return of warmer weather so that we can fire up the grill on a regular basis. I’m plotting ways to convince Eric to grill at least every other day. We’ll see if he’s willing to get on board with that plan or not.

In the meantime, here are some of the tips George shared with the audience.

…on grilling vegetables: George likes grilling zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant with the skin removed.  Spray the vegetable chunks or thick slices with PAM® and throw on the grill long enough to get grill marks on them, then remove and  season with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Avoid thin veggies that fall through the grates, like asparagus spears. George also recommended using a grill mat by Cookina that he’s discovered for grilling veggies.

…on what fish to grill: Definitely try grilling salmon or other fish with skin. Lay skin side directly on the grill. Because it’s fatty, it won’t really stick, and you won’t be eating the skin, but it will help keep the fish moist.  Tilapia is also great to grill. It cooks quickly. Because tilapia fillets are typically skinless, be sure to use more PAM® non-stick spray to prevent sticking.

…on making burgers to please adults and kids: Put a twist on a classic cheeseburger by stuffing a cube of cheese inside a burger. To keep the cheese from melting and oozing out of the middle of your ground beef or turkey, freeze the cheese cubes before putting them inside the meat.

…on the best foods for grilling novices to try (besides hot dogs and burgers): Try thick chunks of veggies, and chicken breasts. Marinate thin-cut chicken, or use a dry rub and grill quickly on both sides.

…on cooking corn on the cob: George grills his corn with husks on, after trimming the ends of the husks. Don’t bother to soak; there’s plenty of moisture already inside the husk. Grill until husks are burnt, let cool for 5 minutes, and corn will be perfectly cooked.

…on cooking steak perfectly: Stick with grass-fed, organic beef. George says to sear the beef over direct heat, then finish cooking it over indirect heat. Use a meat thermometer to test doneness.  Digital or standard meat thermometer is fine.

…on grilling veggie burgers: Use your PAM® non-stick spray to prevent more burger sticking to your grill than ends up on your bun.  Toast the buns, too.

…on whether meat should come to room temp before grilling: George says, never, never, NEVER! A lot of bacteria can grow, and it’s totally unnecessary to have room-temperature meat for proper cooking. Sometimes George will even freeze thin cuts of meat before grilling so they have time to caramelize on the outside without overcooking on the inside.

…on grilling dessert: George says you can bake a cake on the grill using indirect heat (you can even do this on a campfire). Also recommended: Grilled Banana Split Sundae, in which pound cake, bananas, and cherries are skewered and grilled before the sundae is assembled. Grilling the ice cream is not recommended.

…on cleaning your grill grates: Have a very good, big, metal grill brush and replace it every year. Also have an adjustable spray bottle of water handy. After grilling, mist the grill, which creates steam, and scrub with your brush. Straight streams of water are good for taking care of flare-ups.

Click over to The Motherhood to watch the video and see George in action. Also, check out ReadySetEat for some great grilling recipes.