Grilling is a beloved pastime in many parts of the world. It’s a great way to get together with family and friends, make delicious food, and enjoy the outdoors. But it’s not always easy to do it right—and when you’re grilling meat, there are a few things you need to know before you start throwing that steak on the grill.
We’ve got your back with these tips for grilling meat to help you get the most out of your barbecue sessions. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to grilling meat: to help you get the most out of your grill and the best flavor in your mouth.
Note: Be sure to check out the USDA’s guide to cooking meat.
Grilling is one of the most beloved ways to prepare meats, but it can also be confusing. You should figure out where to start or how to ensure you are ready to grill your meat. We’re here to help!
Preheat the grill
You may think that preheating the grill is one of those things you do at the last minute when you’re ready to cook. Still, getting everything set up is worth a few extra minutes before you start cooking.
Preheating can help prevent flare-ups or charring and ensure that your meat cooks evenly. If you’re grilling something that needs to be cooked “rare,” preheating will also help keep it from getting too done before you’re ready. It’s also important to ensure that any grease or fat drippings are cleared out of the grill before you start cooking with it—this will help keep the fire going and prevent flare-ups.
Clean the grates
It’s easy to forget, but a clean grill is a key to a great meal.
If you’ve ever cooked on a dirty grill grate, you know how hard it can be to get food off. That’s because, with every use, food particles get stuck in the grooves of the grate and can’t be cleaned with just water. You’ll likely damage your grates if you try to scrape them off with a spatula or other utensil.
The best way to clean your grates is with a bristle brush (like these). This will help dislodge any food particles stuck in the grooves—and it’s easier than scraping them away by hand!
Set up a two-zone heat fire
One of the most important things to know about grilling is setting up a two-zone heat fire. This is basically where you divide your grill into two sections: one side will be hotter than the other, and you’ll use that side for searing and high-heat cooking, while the other side will be cooler for low-heat cooking, like steaks or vegetables.
Use proper grilling tools
Grilling is the most common way to prepare meat, fish, and vegetables. It’s fast and easy, but it can be tricky if you don’t use proper grilling tools.
Use a grilling brush to clean your grill before cooking. This will help prevent food from sticking to the grill and getting stuck in the ridges of the grate.
Use tongs for moving food around on the grill. Tongs are safer than using your hands because they won’t leave any grease on the food or cause flare-ups.
Use a thermometer to make sure that your food is cooked all the way through before removing it from the grill. If you don’t have one handy at home, look for one in your local grocery store or hardware store—they’re cheap!
How to Grill Your Meats?
Grilling is a great way to cook your meats, but it can be challenging in the world.
There are so many ways you can go wrong with your grilling and end up with burnt, charred meat—and not just the kind that tastes good! So how do you avoid these pitfalls? Here are some tips for how to grill your meats like a pro!
How to Grill a Chicken?
Grilling chicken is a great way to create delicious and healthy meals. Chicken is a great source of protein, which helps you feel full longer while also providing your body with energy. Grilled chicken is delicious and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
Grilling isn’t just about cooking chicken on an open flame—it’s about ensuring that your chicken has the right balance of flavors. You want it to be tender and juicy but not dry or bland. You want it to have good crispiness on the outside and a soft interior. And you want every bite of your grilled chicken to be delicious!
You can grill chicken using different methods, including cooking directly on the grill. Check these basic methods on how to properly grill your chicken:
1. Pick a part of the chicken to grill
The first thing you need to do is pick a part of the chicken to grill. We recommend that you choose one of the legs or thighs. This will ensure that you have a nice, juicy piece of meat that will be perfect for eating on your outdoor grill. If you want to ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and quickly, we recommend you take some time and pound it out before grilling it. This will help give it an even thickness throughout so that it cooks evenly throughout its entirety.
2. Oil and salt the chicken pieces
One of these methods is to oil and salt the chicken pieces. To do this, you’ll want to get some olive oil and put it in a bowl. Then, you take the chicken and rub it with olive oil until it’s completely covered. Then, sprinkle salt over it evenly. This will help keep your chicken moist while grilling and give it a delicious flavor!
3. Prepare the grill
Prepping your grill is essential in ensuring that your chicken is perfectly cooked. Before you start grilling:
- Clean your grill thoroughly with a wire brush or other cleaning tool. This will remove any leftover residue from previous use, which can lead to an unpleasant taste and unappealing appearance.
- Ensure there’s oil in the drip pan of your grill.
- If not, add some vegetable or liquid oil to keep the chicken from sticking to the grates.
When you’re done preparing your grill, be sure to turn on all four burners and allow them to heat up for five minutes before cooking.
4. Sear the chicken
You’ve got the fire going, and you’re ready to cook. Now what?
If your chicken turns out juicy and tender, you’ll want to sear it first.
Searing is when you cook the meat over high heat until it’s browned on one side. Why does this work? Searing creates a barrier between the meat and the heat source, which helps keep the inside of your chicken from drying out as it cooks.
The key here is not to overcook it—if you get a good sear on both sides of the chicken, that’s all you need! The beautiful thing about searing is that if your fire is hot enough (and we’ll talk more about how to do that later), your chicken will be perfectly cooked after just two minutes on each side!
5. Flip over, baste, and cook until done
When grilling chicken, you can use a few different methods to ensure your chicken is cooked right.
One of these methods is to flip over, baste, and cook until done.
This method involves turning over the chicken pieces every few minutes so that they cook evenly on both sides. You can do this by using tongs or a spatula. It also involves basting the chicken with oil or butter as it cooks. This helps to keep the meat moist and also adds flavor to it. Finally, you have to make sure that your grill is hot enough so that the meat will cook properly without burning. This method takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on how large your pieces are and how thick they are cut.
How to Grill a Fish?
Grilling a fish is one of the most common ways to prepare it. Grilling fish is also one of the easiest and most delicious ways to cook fish.
Grilling fish is quick and easy, but it does require some preparation on your part. Before you even think about grilling your fish, make sure you have everything ready to go before you start grilling. The last thing you want to do is leave your grill unattended while you run inside to grab something.
Make sure you have all the ingredients ready before getting started with your grill, too. You don’t want to be running back and forth from inside trying to get everything ready for when it’s time to put them on the grill!
When grilling fish, you must use a high-quality oil for cooking so that it doesn’t burn or give off an unpleasant taste when grilling. Olive oil works great for this purpose because it has a high smoke point which means it won’t burn easily when used in high temperatures such as those found on a grill.
Check these basic methods on how to properly grill your fish:
1. Choose a type of fish you want to grill
The first step to grilling a fish is choosing the right type of fish. You want to find something that has a flaky, delicate texture when cooked, like sole or tilapia. Salmon is also good because it’s firm and holds together nicely during cooking. Tuna steaks are another great choice—they’re firm but tender enough to grill without falling apart. If you’re looking for something on the more exotic side, try swordfish or even monkfish. The firm texture of these meats makes them ideal for grilling.
2. Prep the Grill
Make sure your grill is clean and free of grease or residue. You don’t want any leftover food on the grill—that’ll make your fish taste like old meat! Next, oil the grates with some vegetable oil so that when you put your fish on them, it won’t stick. And finally, if you have a gas grill, turn it on high for 15 minutes before putting any food on it; this will burn off any remaining residue from previous cooks and ensure that the surface is completely clean before cooking begins.
3. Season the Fish Properly
Seasoning the fish well is a crucial step to ensure that you are grilling it properly. Seasoning your fish will allow it to absorb flavor and also help it cook evenly.
The first thing that you want to do is marinate the fish using your favorite marinade. You can use any marinade that you like. Also, we prefer lemon juice mixed with olive oil and a bit of garlic. You can also use fresh herbs if you want a more aromatic flavor.
Then, rinse off the fish under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper before placing it on the grill. This will help give your fish a nice crispy coating when grilled!
4. Oil the fish
This is one of the most basic methods of grilling fish, and it’s also one of the most delicious. If you’re cooking a whole fish, this is a great time to use your favorite oil—olive oil or anything else that goes well with fish. If you’re cooking fillets, then make sure to brush on some oil before putting them on the grill. This will help prevent sticking and add extra flavor.
5. Sear and Crisp the skin
One of the best methods for grilling fish is to sear and crisp the skin. This method works especially well for steaks but can also be applied to fillets. The key is to use a very hot grill and cook the fish quickly over direct heat. If you have a gas grill, turn it up all the way and leave it on high while you are cooking your fish; if you’re using charcoal or wood chips, get them nice and hot before putting any food on there so that they will burn off right away when you place your fish on them.
Once your fish has been placed on the grill, don’t move it around too much—just let it sit until it’s ready to be flipped over (about 3 minutes). Once it’s flipped over, let it sit until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (or whatever temperature is appropriate for the fish you’re grilling). Then take it off of the grill immediately before serving.
How to Grill a Steak?
Grilling steak is the process of cooking a steak by placing it on a grill directly over an open flame. The heat from the open flame caramelizes the outside of the steak, creating a flavorful crust that seals in juices for juicier meat. A properly grilled steak will have a beautifully browned crust and pink center, known as “medium-rare.”
Grilling steaks is different than grilling other types of meat because it requires extra care when handling to prevent overcooking. This means you can’t just throw it on the grill and let it sit until done; instead, you have to flip it over and check its progress regularly.
When cooking steaks on a grill, you always want to keep your eyes peeled for those little pink spots that tell you when your meat has reached medium-rare perfection.
Check these basic methods on how to properly grill your steak:
1. Choose your steak cuts
Suppose you grill a steak on a charcoal or gas grill. In that case, you’ll want to choose cuts with a moderate amount of marbling—the striations of fat that run through the meat—to ensure that it won’t dry out too quickly. Marbling adds juiciness and flavor.
Cuts with more marbling include ribeye and strip loin steaks, T-bone steaks, porterhouse steaks (made up of two different cuts: filet mignon and t-bone), sirloin tip roast, top sirloin steak, and strip steak.
2. Prep your steak
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a tasty, juicy steak is to prep it properly before cooking. The first step in the process is to pat your steak dry with paper towels. This will help prevent burning and keep the outside of the meat from getting soggy.
3. Prep the grill
Whether using a charcoal or gas grill, you’ll want to ensure it’s properly prepped before cooking your steak. First, clean any leftover food from the grill’s grates. Then, oil them with some vegetable oil and place them over high heat until they’re smoking hot. It needs to be hot enough if you don’t see smoke rising from your grill (or hear pops or crackles). Once your grill is hot, rest for 10 minutes before cooking your steak.
4. Season your steak
The seasoning of a steak is an important part of the grilling process. It can be bland and dry if you don’t season your steak. Seasoning your steak will add flavor and moisture and make it more appealing to the eye. If you have time before grilling, you should season your steak overnight in the refrigerator. This will allow time for the flavors to soak into the meat.
Suppose you need more time to prepare your steak. In that case, you can sprinkle salt and pepper onto both sides just before grilling it over hot coals or under a broiler until done to your liking.
You can also experiment with different kinds of salts for different flavors; for example, use sea salt for a more intense flavor profile or kosher salt for something more subtle.
5. Sear and Grill
This method is popular because it effectively produces a juicy, flavorful steak. The first step is to sear the steak—that means you want to heat up the surface of the meat, which will help seal in its juices. To do this, place your steaks on a hot grill and cook for about three minutes per side (for rare) or four minutes per side (for medium rare).
Once you’ve seared your steaks, move them over to indirect heat. This will allow them to finish cooking without burning them. Just remember: Wait to flip them over until they’re ready!
How to Grill a Pork Chops?
Grilling pork is a great way to cook it. Pork is a versatile meat that works well on the grill. It can be cooked whole, with the bones in or removed, and cut into steaks or chops.
Grilling pork also allows you to use less oil and fat than other cooking methods. You can use marinades to flavor your grilled pork, but you do not need them for good results.
You can grill your pork over direct heat or indirect heat. Direct heat means the meat cooks directly over the heat source (hot coals or gas). Indirect heat means the meat is not directly over the heat source (you place wood chips on one side of your grill and cook the meat on the other).
Check these basic methods on how to properly grill your pork:
1. Choose your Pork Cuts
The first step to grilling a pork chop is choosing the right cut. You can’t just throw any old piece of pork on the grill and expect it to turn out great, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before you commit!
There are three main types of pork chops: ribeye chops, center-cut chops, and loin chops. Ribeye chops are cut from the animal’s rib section, meaning they have much more fat than other cuts. This makes them incredibly delicious but also difficult if you’re looking for something leaner. If that’s what you want, go for loin or center-cut chops instead!
Center-cut chops come from between the shoulder blade and hip bone, while loin chops come from the back of the animal. Center-cut chops are relatively leaner than loin chops but still have enough fat to give them flavor and keep them juicy during cooking.
2. Marinate the Pork Chops
Marinating pork chops before grilling them helps to keep them moist and adds some extra flavor. Marinating is a great way to add a punch of flavor without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Start by placing your pork chops in a large bowl or zip-top bag to marinate pork chops. Add your marinade ingredients and stir or shake until they’re evenly distributed. Let the meat sit in the marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
3. Prep the Grill for Medium Heat
If you want to make sure your pork chops turn out flavorful and juicy, it’s important to get a good sear on them. You’ll need to preheat your grill to medium heat (medium-high on some grills).
Preheat means that you’re heating up the grill so that it’s hot enough to sear the meat and make it nice and crispy but not so hot that it cooks through before you get the chance to finish it off.
The best way to tell if your grill is ready is by monitoring the temperature with a thermometer. If your meat starts cooking too fast, turn down the heat; if it’s going too slowly, turn up the heat.
4. Flip and Cook the Pork Chops
If you want to make sure your pork chops are cooked all the way through, the best way to do that is to flip and cook them.
First, set your grill on high heat. Then, place the pork chops on the grill. Wait until they’re done before flipping them over. It’s important to wait to flip them too soon because they might fall apart or still need to be fully cooked through.
When it comes time to flip them over, use tongs or a spatula—don’t try flipping with your hands! This will ensure you don’t burn yourself when turning the meat over.
Then let the meat cook for another few minutes before checking again with your tongs or spatula (depending on how well-done you like your pork chops). If there’s still any pink in the middle of your chop when you check it, give it another minute before flipping back over onto its other side until both sides are thorough enough for whatever recipe you’re making!
Learn the Best Cuts of Meat for Grilling
When grilling, don’t just stick with the same old cuts of meat. Try some new ones and surprise your guests with how delicious they are!
There are many kinds of meat, but you might be stuck in your ways regarding what cuts you choose. We’ve some ideas for grilling chicken, steak, pork, and fish cuts.
- Chicken: Thighs are one of our favorite parts of the bird! They’re so juicy and flavorful, and they’re easy to cook. Just marinate them overnight in a soy sauce-based marinade, then grill them over medium heat for about 15 minutes per side.
- Steak: Skirt steak is one of our favorite cuts because it’s thin enough to cook quickly on the grill—perfect for busy weeknights! Just season it with salt and pepper before throwing it on the grill over high heat until it’s done (about 5 minutes per side).
- Pork: The loin is a delicious cut and one of the leanest cuts of pork available. It has a decent amount of fat marbling, which gives it a lot of flavors and a juicy texture once grilled. Tenderloin is a very lean cut that’s prized for its flavor and tenderness—but it doesn’t have any marbling, so it will be much drier when cooked than other cuts.
- Fish: If you’re looking for something a little fancier than burgers or chicken breasts, try salmon or tuna steaks instead! They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which can help lower cholesterol), which are also good for your heart health!
What will Happen When You Cook Meat?
- You break down its proteins. When you grill your meat, the first thing that happens is the muscle proteins, which are tightly balled over it, begin to melt. This is the reason why rare (raw) meat is chewer than cooked meat.
- You evaporate the water in the meat. About three-quarters of steak’s muscle fibers, out of four, are made of water. So as you cook the meat, it will have less juice and mass than rare-cooked meat.
- You melt fat. There is fat on the meat, and when you start cooking it, the layers of fat inside start melting and get absorbed into the muscle. Fat is what gives the steak a juicy texture and better taste due to the chemicals it contains.
Meat Cooking Levels (Doneness)
As the name refers, blue meat is entirely raw. It is usually seared and seasoned on the outside but is red (raw) throughout. As it is raw, it isn’t juicy and tougher to chew because it isn’t heated or grilled throughout. Everyone doesn’t prefer it, and according to the Food Safety Department, the internal temperature of the meat should be at least 160°F. When the meat reaches this temperature, all the harmful germs inside that cause food poisoning are killed.
Rare-cooked meat is for people who like it smooth and soft, but it is also only for some. It is lightly charred outside, warm through the center, brownish around the sides, and red in the mid. It should be soft to the touch, just like raw meat. The preferred temperature for rare-cooked meat is internally 120° F to 130° F.
Medium-rare is the most recommended doneness level for meat. It is charred from the outside with grill marks, warm through the center, and the middle is light pink with a hint of red. To know if it is medium rare, touch and press the center of the meat steak; it will spring back quickly. The internal temperature of a medium-rare steak is 130° F to 135° F.
This level of doneness usually pleases everyone. Suppose you are grilling for a large group of people. It would be best if you went for medium-cooked meat. It is browner than pink from the inside and has a light pink color through the center. Its outside is charred darkly but not completely black, while the sides are of vibrant brown color. A medium-cooked steak feels firm but has some play through the middle. Its internal temperature ranges from 140° F to 150° F.
If you don’t want much pink in your meat, then a medium-well steak is for you. However, it does have a little bit of pinkness and tenderness in it. It is well charred on the top and bottom with a dark brown surface. It is very firm but a little squishy in the center. The internal temperature of a medium-well-cooked steak ranges from 155° F to 165° F.
Well done is not the right name for this doneness level of meat. It should be overdone, according to most grill masters and chefs. At this stage, enough moisture and fat have either been melted or evaporated from the meat, so it tastes dry and becomes tougher to eat than the types above. In other words, a well-done steak is for those who don’t like it or know what it is.
It is also the hardest to cook as most people burn it while cooking their meat to well done. The secret is to simmer it on low heat for a longer time. It shouldn’t be black on the outside (from top to bottom) and doesn’t have the slightest hint of pink inside. Touch will feel solid and harder than the types discussed above. Its internal temperature usually is 170°
Temperature Guide for Different Types of Meat
- Rare: 120°F to 130° F
- Medium-rare: 130°F to 135° F
- Medium: 140° F to 150° F
- Medium-well: 155° F to 165° F
- Well-done: 170° F
- Medium-Rare: 130° F
- Medium: 140° F
- Medium-Well: 150° F
- Well-Done: 155° F
- White Meat: 160° F
- Dark Meat: 165° F
- Medium: 145° F
- Well-Done: 160° F
Tips for Grilling Meats
- Pull meat from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the meat to come up to room temperature, allowing it to cook more evenly and quickly. If you don’t have time to let your meat come to room temperature, you can always heat the grill up for a few minutes before cooking!
- Remember to oil the grate. We know it sounds obvious, but this one is important! If you oil your grill, it will be much easier for your food to stay on and not fall through when you flip it.
- Use a thermometer. You can get a good one from any hardware store or amazon—they are cheap and easy to use. This way, you can ensure that your meats are cooked all the way through without cutting into them and risking losing some precious juices.
- Precook thick cuts of meat and sear just before serving. If you’re cooking a large piece of meat—like a steak or a roast—it’s best to let it cook slowly. Preheat your grill to medium-low heat, then put the meat in for about 10 minutes per side. This helps it cook evenly so that the fat and juices don’t pool on one side. When your meat has cooked for about half an hour, you can turn up the heat (to about 350 degrees) for about 5 minutes per side to give it a nice brown crispiness. This ensures that the inside stays juicy while still getting an awesome crust on the outside!
- Let meat rest after grilling. The longer you can wait, the better. It’ll keep your food juicy and delicious as it cools down and makes it easier to carve or slice. This is especially important when it comes to leaner cuts of meat. The juices keep them moist and flavorful, so you need to allow them to redistribute themselves throughout the meat before serving to get all the benefits of resting.
- Keep the grill clean. After cooking each piece of meat, please remove it from the grill and wipe down the grate with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. This will help prevent sticking and keep your food from burning when you put it back on the grill again.
Wrapping It Up
There are many different ways to cook meat and different types of meat. You can grill a whole leg of lamb or a rack of ribs or grill a lean steak and make it extra tender with just the right marinade. It’s all about experimenting and finding what works for you!
We hope this guide has helped you understand the basics of grilling meats so you can start experimenting. Good luck!