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Common Grilling Problems and Its Solutions
We can’t deny that whatever season it may be, we always plan a barbeque party. It just happens all year round! A backyard bash is a proven method to attract friends and keep acquaintances by showcasing your hosting skills. Common grilling problems, on the other hand, are never enjoyable. Fortunately, some of the most frequent grilling issues are pretty simple to resolve. The following are a few recurring issues and their remedies.
Common grilling problems and their solutions:
Common Grilling Problem #1: Using too much heat
Problem: A scorching grill all over, contrary to popular belief, is the exact opposite of what you desire. When your meats are practically black on the exterior, and there’s nowhere cooler to put them, you’ll have a problem. You have no option but to make the awkward shuffle and line the edge of your barbeque in a frantic bid to keep them cool.
Solution: Instead, split your coal barbeque into two zones: one with a uniform distribution of coals and the other with none or a very thin coating. You’ll have a lot more control over your cooking due to this (and result in evenly cooked sausages). Sear on the hot side and cook more gently on the cold side. For larger joints, use the colder side with the lid on to produce an oven-like setting.
Common Grilling Problem #2: Running out of propane
Problem: You should double-check that your barbecue tank has enough propane. There’s no worse way to ruin a party than finding you won’t be able to feed your guests. Don’t be caught off guard if you need to run to the shop to replenish your propane tank in the middle of your party.
Solution: Always check the amount of your propane tank before using it. The propane tank on most barbecues has a gauge so you can tell how much is left. If you’re running short on propane, keep a backup tank on hand to use after you’ve officially run out. To be ready for the event, go to your neighborhood grill store and get a refill.
Common Grilling Problem #2: Forgetting to pre-heat the grill
Problem: Many grillers believe that their grill is ready to cook once it reaches a high temperature. Allow the grill to pre-heat for even more time to heat the grill grates. Even though the grill is creating a lot of heat, the grill grates are still quite cold. Heat will not be immediately transmitted to your food. Your food will stick to the metal as well. When this happens, when you turn or remove your meat from the grill, it tears and shreds.
Solution: To transmit heat to the grill grates, cover the grill and let it warm for at least 10 minutes. Some people recommend pre-heating the grill for even longer, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the grill. Whether you choose to warm your grill for 10, 20, or 30 minutes, your food will be less likely to cling to the grill grates.
Common Grilling Problem #3: Not defrosting the meat before grilling
Problem: Avoiding grill blunders is possible if you know what might go wrong with your grilled meat. If you place the meat on the grill while it’s too cold, for example, the exterior will cook well before the insides do. As a result, the meat will take considerably longer to cook, and you will be more likely to burn the outside of the meat. You’ll see that the exterior of the meat is done, but the inside isn’t. You’ll have no choice but to continue grilling, increasing your chances of overcooking.
Solution: Allowing your meat to come to room temperature before grilling it is the solution to this problem. This ensures a uniform cooking procedure and reduces the risk of charring the meat’s exterior before the inside is done. Before grilling, remove the meat from the refrigerator and set it aside for 15-20 minutes, covered.
Common Grilling Problem #4: Using lighter fluid on coal grillers
Problem: When using a charcoal barbecue, many people believe that squirting a lot of lighter fluid over the fire would help it start faster. After all, the grill will erupt in a cloud of flames if you do this. The truth is that those who do so are committing grilling errors. The taste of your dish will worsen by using lighter liquids. There’s a chance you’ll get a whiff of gasoline on your food, which no one likes.
Solution: Instead, think about utilizing a charcoal chimney. It will take a little longer to fire a charcoal chimney; it will take 20-30 minutes for the charcoal to turn white and ashy. However, this approach does not affect the flavor of your meal.
Common Grilling Problem #5: Checking and opening your grill too often
Problem: If you’re doing this while grilling, you should stop. When you lift the cover on a gas grill, it loses heat and cooks more slowly. This will have an impact on the way your meat cooks. When using a charcoal grill, the result will be the polar opposite. Allowing oxygen in will cause the coals to burn hotter, resulting in roasted meat.
Solution: What you should do is as follows. Patience is a virtue, and you should learn when to turn your meat. Wait until your recipe specifies 5 or 6 minutes before flipping. Set a timer to ensure that you are executing correctly. Don’t wing it; time is in your head, or flip on the spur of the moment. When opening the lid, be careful of the heat that might be lost or gained.
Common Grilling Problem #6: Not using your thermometer to test your meat
Problem: You may have heard that the best way to tell if a steak is cooked is to probe it with your finger. Or you are staring at your steak after grilling. Both approaches are incorrect.
Solution: For each cut or size of beef, understand the temperatures for rare, medium, and well done. Follow the directions on the thermometer to acquire an exact temperature measurement when you think your steak is ready to serve. This is a significantly superior option to poking or chopping. You’ll also have a better chance of not undercooking or overcooking your meat, which will prevent you from eating rare, chewy, and difficult-to-eat meals.
Common Grilling Problem #7: Not seasoning your meat before grilling
Problem: Forgetting to marinate your meat the night before can be a problem. This may necessitate planning, but it’s well worth it.
Solution: If you marinate your steak first, it will have more taste than if you don’t. Believe me when I say that your taste senses will thank you. Plus, your steak will be a great hit at your party or picnic. Season your meat with salt and pepper before cooking at the absolute least.
Common Grilling Problem #8: Maintaining your grill’s grates
Problem: Not cleaning the grates or grids before you start grilling is one of the most typical grilling errors. If you don’t clean the grill grates, your food will stick to the leftover food from yesterday night’s dinner. Not only will this affect the flavor of your grilled food, but it will also affect how well it adheres to the grill grates. When turning the meat, part of it may shred or pull away from the grids.
Solution: As a result, you should remember to keep those grill grates clean. To clean the grill, use a grill brush. The best technique is to do the grill brushing while your next dish is pre-heating on the grill.
Common Grilling Problem #9: The difference between direct and indirect heat
Problem: The most common mistake is selecting the incorrect cooking technique. To be an excellent griller, you must understand the differences between direct, indirect, and combination grilling, as well as when to utilize each.
Solution: Direct grilling is similar to broiling in the oven in that the meal is placed directly over the heat source. Indirect grilling is comparable to roasting and baking in the range since the heat is on all sides of the meal and the burners are turned off under the food.
Combo grilling is searing the food over direct fire (for example, to sear a tenderloin or big steak) before shifting it to indirect heat to complete cooking. Keep this fundamental rule in mind: Use the direct method if the meal will be ready in less than 20 minutes. Use the indirect method if the dish will take longer than 20 minutes to cook.
Common Grilling Problem #10: Cross-contamination
Problem: Using the same tongs for raw and cooked meals is one of the most common errors made by outdoor cooks.
Solution: This causes cross-contamination, which can lead to food poisoning. This issue is simple to resolve. To assist you in separating them, color-code your tongs or spatula. The various colors make it easy to recall which pair of tongs you used for raw food and suitable for cooked food. Also, remember to serve your prepared meal on a separate, clean dish.
Common Grilling Problem #11: Not knowing how to deal with flare-ups
Problem: To put out a flare-up, never use a water bottle. Spraying water over a fire can produce steam vapors, which can inflict severe burns.
Solution: Cook with the lid down and don’t peek since fire likes oxygen. Lifting the cover to “peek” and inspect the food while cooking adds time to the cooking process. If you have a full-fledged fire, turn off all the burners, remove the food, and extinguish the flames with kosher salt or baking soda. Use a fire extinguisher in the worst-case situation, but be aware that it will damage your grill.
Common Grilling Mistakes
The dangers of grilling are no longer an abstract concept. In 2011, the CDC reported that one in six Americans was treated for a grill-related burn injury. In 2013, with the number of injuries up as high as 750,000 per year, it was important to understand what causes these injuries and how to avoid them.
Here are some common grilling mistakes people make:
1) Not using a meat timer
This is a simple oversight with dire consequences. The USDA recommends that all meats be cooked to at least 145°F for 15 seconds (note: this is taken from their infographic; they have since removed it from their website). If you use a ground beef thermometer, cooking to 165°F becomes even more important. Using soap to clean the thermometer before testing your ground beef is also important. Never let your meat sit on a counter or cutting board to cool; this increases the chance of harmful bacteria multiplying, especially if the meat has been at room temperature for longer than two hours.
2) Not using tongs
Using utensils like forks and knives pokes holes in your food and lets juices escape. You could also stab yourself with a fork or knife that’s been sitting out on the table next to raw meat! When you’re done cooking, be sure to soak your tongs (and any tongs used for handling raw meats) in an antibacterial solution.
3) Letting friends flip burgers
While you could always use tongs to do the flipping, your friends might try to help out. This can quickly lead to someone getting hurt if they’re not careful. If you don’t want to flip all of the burgers yourself, make sure that at least one person stays on grill watching duty (if no one’s paying attention, it will be too easy for children to leave the hot grill unattended).
4) Putting meat on grates
This creates a great deal of friction between meat and grate, leading to a buildup in any little crack or crevice there is. When this happens, fat leaks into the flames below the grill. This causes flare-ups that shoot grease directly at whoever is cooking on that section of the grill! Putting foil over your food before your grill can help avoid this problem.
5) Leaving food on the grate
Even if you’re not using forks or knives to stab your meat, leaving it on the grate without turning it exposes raw meat surfaces to flames for extended periods of time. This increases the likelihood that harmful bacteria will be present after cooking, even if you use a thermometer. If you don’t have any tongs available, stick with plastic utensils like flimsy spoons or spatulas instead of metal forks or knives.
6) Cooking meats in the kitchen
If you want to cook outside but are still afraid of flares, try grilling your meats in a broiler pan inside your oven rather than outside on an outdoor grill.
7) Cooking directly on flames
This is a big one–don’t do it! The meat will absorb the flavor of the fire, and your grill grate may end up looking like Swiss cheese by the time you’re done.
8) Grilling meats that aren’t completely thawed
Cooking frozen meats directly over an open flame can cause part of your food to blacken and char before another part of it has even begun cooking. This gives bacteria ample opportunity to multiply; if you want to reduce the risk of contamination as much as possible, cook foods thoroughly (especially ground beef) no matter how long they’ve been in the freezer.
9) Not cleaning equipment properly or often enough.
You should clean your grill after every use to reduce the chance of contaminants accumulating. Don’t forget to clean tongs and other utensils used to handle raw meat, too!
10) Not using a meat thermometer
If you don’t have one on hand or are unsure about whether your meat is done cooking, use a digital instant-read meat thermometer. Although different types of food may develop harmful bacteria at different temperature points, ground beef should only be cooked to 160°F. If you prefer your burgers rarer than medium, try putting a small divot in the center and pouring some of the uncooked burger mixtures into it; if it comes back up to the surface looking very pink or red, let your burgers cook more. Alternately, please put them in a separate pan and cook right in the middle of the grill to keep them from being exposed to flames for too long.
11) Not cleaning your thermometer properly or often enough
Even if you have a meat thermometer, it won’t be much use if it’s been contaminated with germs! Be sure to clean after every use, soaking any metal parts in an antibacterial solution. If you don’t have a dishwasher, do so by hand using hot water and soap before rinsing well.
What effects does leaving food on the grate for extended periods of time have?
Leaving food on the grate for extended periods of time can expose raw surfaces to flames, increasing the likelihood that harmful bacteria will be present after cooking, even if you use a thermometer.
How do I prevent flare-ups and grease from getting into my food?
To avoid flare-ups and grease from getting into your food, try putting foil over it or grilling meats in a broiler pan inside your oven rather than outside on an outdoor grill.
What are some ways that I can reduce the risk of contamination when cooking frozen meats?
When cooking frozen meats directly over an open flame, part of your food may blacken and char before another part is even done cooking, giving harmful bacteria ample opportunity to multiply. Cooking foods thoroughly, especially ground beef, reduces the risk of contamination.
How do I clean my grill?
To reduce the chance of contaminants accumulating on your grill, you should clean it after every use. Don’t forget to clean tongs and other utensils used to handle raw meat, too!
What are some alternatives to grilling meats directly over flames?
Grilling meats over high heat in an oven or broiler is a good alternative for those worried about flares or exposed raw surfaces. It keeps harmful bacteria from multiplying and gives them less opportunity to contaminate your food.
How should surfaces that come into contact with raw meat be cleaned?
Surfaces that come into contact with raw meat should be cleaned before using them for cooking other foods. If you don’t have a dishwasher, surfaces should be washed by hand with hot water and soap, followed by thorough rinsing.
How can I maintain my grill?
After every use, your grill should be cleaned by removing grease or debris, brushing the grate, and then wiping it down with oil before storing it in an appropriate place. This will help reduce the risk of contaminants accumulating on your grill when you’re not using it.