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    Top Tips for Summertime Grilling

    The weather is heating up, and you're looking at your lonesome grill in the yard. It's time to fire it up with some summertime recipes that will just melt in your mouth. Take a moment to read about all of the grilling tips necessary to make the best meals this season.

    1. Clean It Up

    Whether your grill has been in the garage or sitting outside all winter, it's probably dusty and grimy from the previous season. Open up the lid, and start cleaning it out. Remove any charred debris from the base that may have fallen down from the cooking surface. Your best cleaning tool for the grill is a long-handled wire brush. Scrub the grill with the brush, and you might be able to uncover the original metal on the grill. You want a clean cooking surface in order to keep the food free from any rancid tastes and protect the chef from any flare-ups.

    2. Oil is Your Friend

    A clean grill doesn't mean that your food won't still stick to the surface. Spray or brush vegetable oil onto the grill. This minute amount of oil won't contribute any taste to your food, but it will prevent most meats from congealing onto the metal. Don't spray any oil onto the grill when it's being heated, however. The spray can does have an aerosol component that might create a flame if it's exposed to excessive heat. The oil should last for at least one grilling session so another coating won't be necessary until the next barbecuing occasion.

    3. Versatile Steak

    Beef steaks are a classic grilling option for both beginning and advanced cooking enthusiasts. Season the meat before you place it on the grill. The barbecue should be at the desired temperature before you add the meat. Ideally, set the grill for a medium to high heat so that you can sear the steaks first. You don't want to lose any juices to the flames below. If you're working with thin steaks, such as for carne asada, they'll cook quickly without any need for a smoking session. When you have a thick-cut steak, close the lid on the meat for a few minutes. The trapped heat will cook the meat evenly.

    4. Bone-In Chicken Requires Slow Cooking

    When you've had some experience working on the grill, try some bone-in chicken. Thighs and drumsticks are common chicken cuts that work well on the barbecue. However, you need to alter your cooking style with these meats. Place the seasoned chicken along the edges of the grill. You want them to cook under low or indirect heat. For food-safety purposes, cook the chicken until a meat thermometer indicates that the interior is at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When the chicken's interior is cooked, move the cuts to the center of the grill so that they can achieve a golden color under the direct heat.

    5. Reduce Burger Shrinkage

    Many cooks have experienced the frustration of grilling hamburgers but ending up with a rounded ball as a meal. To prevent shrinkage and rounding, press a spoon or ladle into the patty as soon as you place it on the grill. This indentation allows the meat to rise along the edges instead of near the center. You'll end up with nearly flat burgers that will fill those large, bread buns. Fight shrinkage in other ways by selecting a leaner cut of hamburger meat. Ground beef with 30 percent fat will significantly shrink compared to 3 percent fat, for instance.

    6. Try Fish on a Plank

    You might be adventurous with fish on the menu tonight. Fish can be difficult to grill because it's notorious for sticking to the metal. Avoid any contact with the grill by using a cedar plank. Wet the plank, add your seasoned fish and place it on the side of your grill. The wet wood won't ignite and the indirect heat will move through the plank in order to cook the fish. This delicate meat will be evenly cooked without any chances of it sticking to the grill with this cooking strategy.

    7. Avoid Punctures and Pressure

    You may have seen cooks trying to press the hamburger down by squishing it with a spatula, but you lose a lot of the precious juices with that strategy. Ideally, don't squeeze or poke your meat when it's grilling time. Turn every cut of meat with either a spatula or tongs. You want to preserve the meat's juices as they cook the cut's interior. Poking the meat will only create a dry entree that's not very appetizing.

    8. Don't Forget the Veggies

    If you're concerned about losing those vegetables to the grill's flames, purchase a grilling basket. These metal containers allow you to place many different vegetables or fruits inside of them for grilling ease. In fact, these baskets are perfect substitutes for skewers because more items can be cooked at once. Cover green peppers, mushrooms, pineapple and other items with oil, salt and pepper. Place them in the basket, and cook them over the direct heat. Frequently turn the basket so that every side of the items are cooked evenly. You'll have a healthy side for your grilled meat as a result.

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