Executive Chef Gary Weiss recommends
grilling foods such as hamburgers and chicken
on high heat.
When the warm weather arrives, do you befriend your grill? Summer is the best and most popular time of year to cook your favorite foods alfresco. Cooley Dickinson Executive Chef Gary Weiss offers these tips to add some sizzle to your summertime meals.
Infuse Healthy Flavor
While leaner cuts of meat are healthier, you can get away with a slightly fattier item if you plan to grill or barbecue. Weiss said, “Grilling keeps meat and poultry flavorful while some of the fat is removed as part of the cooking process.”With any cut of meat or poultry, Weiss suggests seasoning food with low-sodium alternatives such as granulated garlic, onion, chili pepper or cumin, or using marinades with vinegars and/or wines that will help soften and flavor the meat.
Fire It Up
Make sure grills, barbecues, and smokers are at the right temperatures to appropriately cook the food. “You should never char food. This can be carcinogenic,” Weiss said. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the food is cooked thoroughly.
It is best to grill foods such as hamburgers, chicken, steak, and hot dogs on high heat. If you are grilling fish, be sure to use a screen to keep the fish from falling through the grates of the grill. Cook leaner cuts of meat over low heat.
Caramelize your Veggies
Heat from the grill or smoker will release the natural sugars contained in vegetables or any foods that contain carbohydrates. “The result is a wonderful caramelized taste that makes vegetables more enticing and palatable,” Weiss added.
Grill to Flavor Fruit
For a flavorful dessert, skewer chunks of pineapple, peaches, or apple, or slices of banana. Place on a clean grill over medium heat, turning the skewer occasionally, until the fruit is hot and lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Splash the grilled fruit with sweet balsamic vinegar just before serving to intensify the flavor.
Avoid Cross Contamination
Regardless of the types of food you select or your method of cooking, wash your hands frequently. Avoid mixing raw food with cooked food. Nothing says summer like the alluring aromas and tantalizing tastes of grilled foods. Grilling provides a welcome respite from traditional cooking methods while offering variety that can be fun and healthy.