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Outdoor Grilling Tips

• Always allow meats to rest at room temperature for up to two hours, depending on the size of the meat.  Meat, directly out of a refrigerator is typically about 38 degrees. For best results, starting meats on the grill an internal starting temperature of 50- 55 degrees is great.  Any internal warmth is better than 38 degree meat.  Tempered meat produces a more desirable even-cooked color and texture.  Even a rare steak is better if it is cooked when the meat is not too cold.

• Sear first then cook low, slow, and even.  It’s best to start a steak over higher heat so the surface caramelizes and provides a better mouth feel, visual appearance and assertive flavor that is most desired.  Then lower the heat, so it will penetrate deeper, thus improving the chew and providing a more lush mouth feel.  Consider removing from the heat all together midway in cooking and then return the meat to the high direct heat again to complete the cooking.

• Always rest the meat after grilling and before cutting and serving.  Meats continue to cook, even once they have been removed from heat.  In fact, once the meat is removed from the heat it may continue to rise in temperature up another 10 percent.  The meat is continuing to cook that entire time, even when removed from the heat source.  This process is known as Endothermic Energy.

• Choosing the meat is key.  Tenderness and depth of flavor and texture tend to be opposing.  Cuts of meat from the most tender to the most chewy tend to be opposite when it comes to flavor.  Meats of the more developed muscular structure tend to have more chew as well as more depth of flavor.  Therefore meats like flank steak, skirt steak and even front shoulder as opposed to ham quarter are all ranging examples of flavor and texture.  Muscles that participate in functions - such as exercise related to repetitious motion as opposed to load baring exercise - produce meat that is less tender but with more depth of flavor.  Cook these meats hotter and harder.  Rest them for less time and slice thin.  Less active muscles produce more fork tenderness, less chew and more delicate flavors.

• Choose the proper tools. Chef Jan prefers a professional meat fork instead of tongs as it offers more control.  Just use the tip of the fork, no need to over pierce it. Fish spatulas are good for small delicate items like fish and vegetables. The bigger, heavier jobs are best for a steel hamburger spatula (as cooks call them).

• Final tip - Design the menu so that you can cook everything outside!  Give the kitchen a break today.  Try to make the menu so it allows you to keep the indoor kitchen cleaner and more user friendly.

Outdoor Grilling Tips courtesy of: 
Jan Birnbaum of EPIC Roasthouse 



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