Grilling 101 Follow these easy tips for great grilling every time! 3 Easy Steps to Grilling Beef • Prepare charcoal for grilling. When coals are medium, ash-covered (approximately 30 minutes), spread the coals in a single layer and check cooking temperature. Position cooking grid. (To check temperature, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull away; 4 seconds is the optimum time for medium heat.) Season beef (straight from the refrigerator) with herbs or spices as desired. Place on cooking grid directly over coals. Grill according to attached chart, turning occasionally. Tips for Great Grilled Entrees at Home • • • • • Choose the steak (or ground beef). “Loin or Round” in the name indicates a lean steak cut. Some popular and tender lean cuts include top loin (strip steak), sirloin, tenderloin (filet mignon). Some lean cuts such as top round should be marinated for 6-24 hours before grilling. Use the right utensils. Turn steaks with tongs. Do not use a fork, which pierces the beef and allows flavorful juices to escape. Turn ground beef patties with a spatula. Do not flatten them; flavorful juices can escape, resulting in dry burgers. Cook to the correct doneness. Use time suggested in recipes as a guide and turn steaks and burgers occasionally. For food safety purposes, cook steaks to at least medium rare (1450 F) and ground beef should be cooked to medium doneness (160O) or until the center is no longer pink and the juices are clear. To determine doneness, use an instant read thermometer. Insert the thermometer horizontally in the thickest part without touching fat or bone. Grill safely. Never leave a lit grill unattended. Make sure the grill is secure and steady on the ground, patio, deck or other surface. Don’t allow children or pets near the hot grill. Be careful of sleeves; loose sleeves can brush over the grid and food. Temperature matters. Grilling at the right temperature (usually medium) ensures even cooking. To avoid charring, when coals are medium, ash-covered (about 30 minutes) spread them in a single layer. Check cooking temperature by cautiously holding the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; about 4 seconds for medium heat. Avoid flare-ups. Trim excess fat from meats to avoid flare-ups while grilling. Turn properly. Use long-handled tongs for turning steaks, spatulas for burgers. A fork will pierce the beef causing loss of flavorful juices, so save it for testing the doneness of potatoes! Use a thermometer. To determine doneness of steaks and burgers an instant-read thermometer works best. Insert the thermometer horizontally into the center of steaks and burgers to check the internal temperature. Know correct internal temperatures, and grill according to a chart. Cook burgers to at least 160° F (medium), until the centers are no longer pink and the juices show no pink color. Cook steaks to at least 145° F (medium rare). Beef will be very pink in the center and slightly brown toward the exterior. (Note: For steaks thicker than 1-1/2 inches, remove from grill when thermometer registers 5ºF below desired doneness. Tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 10 minutes. Temperature will continue to rise 5ºF to reach desired doneness.) Check steaks visually. The doneness of steaks also can be determined visually by making a small cut near the center with a sharp knife and checking the color. For bone-in steaks, make a small cut near the bone. Choose good cuts of meat and know when to marinate. Tender beef steaks may be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours to add flavor. Tender steaks include: Porterhouse/ T-Bone, top loin, tenderloin, ribeye, rib, top sirloin, chuck eye and chuck top blade steaks as well as the new Beef Value Cuts – shoulder top blade (flat iron), shoulder center and round (sirloin) tip center. Less tender steaks--flank, skirt, top round, & chuck shoulder--should be marinated for at least 6 hours or as long as overnight in a mixture containing a food acid or tenderizing enzyme. Marinating musts Marinades are seasoned liquid mixtures that add flavor and in some cases tenderize. A tenderizing marinade must contain an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, wine, vinegar, pineapple or ginger. A rub is a blend of seasonings, such as fresh or dried herbs and spices, applied to the surface of uncooked beef steaks or ground beef patties for flavor. • • • Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature. Tender beef cuts need to be marinated only 15 minutes to 2 hours for flavor. Less tender cuts should be marinated between 6-24 hours in acidic marinade. • • • • If a marinade is to be used later for basting or served as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before it comes in contact with raw meat. Never save and reuse a marinade. Allow a quarter to half cup of marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of beef. Marinate in a food-safe plastic bag or other non-reactive container. Turn occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade. Practice food safety. Never take beef off the grill and return it to the same platter that held raw beef unless the platter has been washed in hot soapy water.