Tips for grilling to make your cookout fantastic

 barbecued ribs

Much of the US will spend the better part of tomorrow outside, and the bulk of people doing so will likely be grilling. If your grill plans needs a little help, we've assembled several tips to make sure your cookout is as good as can be. First up is a tip from Epicurious on the best ways to quickly defrost meat, in case someone forgot to throw those ribs or steaks into the refrigerator on time. At our house we may end up using the cold water method on the chicken that I just decided to make in addition to the ribs because of a last minute guest change.

Over at Serious Eats, The Food Lab offers the ultimate guide to grilling steaks. One of the tips is to salt the meat in advance (contrary to the advice of others), at least 40 minutes prior to cooking. This gives the salt a chance to work its way into the meat, slightly breaking down its texture and flavoring it all the way through. They also advise using kosher salt because it is easier to sprinkle evenly and the large crystals also allow more initial moisture to come out of the meat to dissolve the salt. 

If meat isn't your thing, Whole Foods offers excellent advice on grilling vegetables and fruits. One of their tips is to not peel the vegetables, especially corn, because the husks help to protect the ears from getting scorched. They also offer advice on which vegetables can benefit from a short pre-cook and which are fine to grill raw.

Grilling guru Steven Raichlen offer seven cooking tips from his cookbook How to Grill. His advice includes a strategy he calls 'crowd control' - keeping at least 30 percent of the cooking grate free of food. Another tip, one that is echoed by others, is to make sure you let your meat rest before slicing and serving to allow the juices to redistribute.

And if you aren't the one doing the grilling and aren't sure of the cook's skill level, you may want to anonymously send them a link to the Epicurious article on how common grilling mistakes that includes several food safety tips. Happy grilling and Happy 4th of July to our US Members!

Photo of Best-ever barbecued ribs fromBon Appétit Magazine

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