Fire Up The Grill!

February 2015 Web Exclusive

The Houseboat team enjoys a melt-in-your-mouth steak or a freshly-caught grilled fish as much as the next boating-themed magazine crew, and boy do we like them grilled just right! If you don’t yet have a grill on your deck, you might just want to invest for the spring season.

But grilling is definitely more of an art than many might realize, and if you haven’t yet experienced a thoughtfully-prepared chicken breast hot off the barby, I’ll cry a little on the inside for you. It’s one of those things that requires finesse, as the three experts below know by experience. If you’re a newby to the grilling world, pay close attention to their tips. If you’re an old hand at grilling, you might have a few tricks left to learn that will transform your mouthwatering meat into something truly show-stopping.

Here are a few things that Steven Raichlen from Fine Cooking has to say about firing up the grill. His three rules of great grilling are as follows: Keep it hot, keep it clean, and keep it lubricated. He uses a “three Mississippi” fire that’s ready for grilling when you can only hold your hand four inches away from the grate for three seconds before the heat has you yanking it away. Keeping a clean grate by scraping it with a wire brush will help minimize sticking and make for easier flipping. And lubricating the grate with some cooking oil on a ball of paper towel  will prevent sticking as well as give your meat those beautiful grill lines.

When you’re grilling chicken, Steven points out that rubs and glazes add flavor to the meat fast, brines preserve the juiciness, and pounding your chicken until it’s thin helps it cook evenly and quickly, preventing the meat from drying out.

To read more of Steven’s winning tips, click here

If steak is more your thing, lend an ear to Dena P. from Steak-Enthusiast.com. Dena points out that prep will make all the difference for a well-seasoned steak and you should get started first thing, before even starting the coals. This promises that the salt will dissolve evenly into the meat rather than get left behind on the grill bars.  And sometimes upping it to specialty salts will make all the difference in the flavor of the meat.

Dena also advises that you let the steaks sit out for at least twenty minutes before you start cooking—this slightly warmer temperature will enable them to retain seasoning better and cook faster for that great juicy texture you’re after.

One other thing to keep in mind is to prepare the rest of your meal and condiments beforehand so you can focus solely on the grill. Trying to multi-task opens you up to all sorts of grilling mishaps—not to mention your side dishes will probably suffer, as well.

To read more of Dena’s pithy tips on grilling the perfect steak, click here.

Finally, for you anglers out there—here are some key ideas to keep in mind when you’re ready to grill up the catches of the day. Doug DuCap is an expert in preparing fish and he shares his grilling techniques on About.com. Doug points out that with seafood, a hot fire is the ticket to retaining natural flavor and juices by cooking it quickly. Make sure you have a freshly cleaned grill rack to keep your fish from sticking or it’ll be mighty difficult to turn them, and oil the fish whenever you can.

Doug also points out that grilling the fish skin-side-up first means a crispier non-skin surface and an easier flipping job since the skin helps keep the fillet together. Overall you’ll find your fish is more deliciously moist with this technique.

Keep in mind that leaving your fish alone while it’s on the grill will help it cook better. Turning it too often will make the meat easier to stick on the grate and harder to keep together. Instead, trust the cooking time beforehand and let it grill in peace.

To read up on more of Doug’s excellent advice, click here.

With techniques like these, you can't go wrong. And as good as chicken, steak, and fish taste, we really can't wait to color the air with the smell coming off a finely mastered grill! Do you have any of your own tried-and-true grilling methods that you want to share? Go ahead and post them with a picture on our Facebook page!

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