Barbeque time is usually fun, chats and drinks. Often times, there is stuff to celebrate, but, the story is not always great. Take this from me: all other things being unequal, you can sabotage your cookout. But here's hoping you don't try out any of the things below:
1. Not cleaning grill grates
When Kevin invited the boys over to his house last year, the expectations were high. Guys had got word about the great grills their friend could make, they had been assured the beers would flow and great music too. But nobody told them that their friend had a challenge with regular cleaning.
Kevin failed to clean the grates after a previous because God knows what, leaving residues to accumulate and settle into the insides of the grill grates. On the day, the boys had arrived and were having a chat over bottles as they waited for their host to be done. They waited in vain and had to eat out at a local restaurant eventually. The left food materials from the previous grills caused Kevin a wild, mocking laugh, when his grill became stuck to the residues, tearing off the beautiful crust that he had worked so hard at getting set. You see, if Kevin had cleaned up right after preheating the grill and run it on high for, say some 10 to 15 minutes with the lid closed, using a brass bristle brush to scrub off the ashy debris, he probably wouldn't have needed to now so badly ask for a second shot. It is that easy! He hopes to appease the group still and win some pride. Turns out this was some big deal.
2. Failing at hygiene
"I think he planned to kill us all"
These were the words of Sandy, a top executive in a leading city advertising agency after she had regained consciousness in the hospital. She was one of the few colleagues of Josh, the company's Head of Marketing, who had the rare regrettable privilege of being guests to a barbeque.
All the fun that could possibly had come from the event originally meant to celebrate a promotion was ruined because Josh's hosts ended up consuming spoiled food. This was a new one, maybe; a leading marketing guy who had an "F" in hygiene. Maybe I am expecting too much, but, clean lifestyle choices is the least expectation from a college graduate, isn't it? At least, there is that CDC report that one in six Americans becomes ill from food poisoning each year, so, one would think Josh would know better than flunk the basics - Wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat; Make sure any plates, platters, or utensils that have handled raw meat don’t come into contact with other foods, like veggies or buns; If you need to reuse utensils after they’ve touched raw meat, scrub them with hot, soapy water to avoid contamination; Never leave raw meat sitting out for more than two hours.
Josh knew so little about hygiene. Or knew so little about how it is no joke, especially when the lives of other people are concerned, because, he broke a handful.
That funny thought from Sandy has now been put to bed because, even though all three guests had required the attention of a health personnel, Josh had his fair share of aftermaths, too being treated for food poisoning. But nobody remembers what that grill tasted like anymore; the faints and waking up in a strange place are clearer in every head. Josh must have learned to take hygiene seriously after that episode.
3. Seasoning wrong
Someone once wrecked her grill using the wrong marinade and messin up her BBQ, using a combination of high-citrus and sugar-heavy marinades, which burned quickly on the grill. The whole thing turned out funny - a space between nearly raw and grossly overcooked.
Marinating her meat for several hours or overnight with a low-acid fruit puree, like mango, or a simple Worcester sauce would have sufficed. But no; my friend had to go for an overkill. Be like sis and brush on your high-sugar sauces, like barbecue sauce, during the last few minutes of grilling. Better still, skip the marinade entirely and just use a dry rub, such as a simple mixture of salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar, which you should apply right before you cook.
4. Using the wrong meat size
Truth is, it can be tempting to just grab the cheapest cut from the meat section in your nearest chain supermarket and start smoking. But if you want to produce delicious pulled pork, ribs or brisket , you just have to start with the best quality you can afford.
You get to certain grills and wonder if your host hopes to make puffs or grills: so many people never ever get to buy enough meat. This is dumb because, simple logic says that meat is about 75 percent water. So, there's no point quizzing if the burger looks a lot smaller after it’s done cooking than it does on the cutting board in your kitchen. That's why the experts would advise, "About 6 ounces of good quality beef is the right amount for one burger; but if you like yours on the jumbo side, opt for 8 ounces." But it is as though there are people who never agree. Somehow, they expect the opposite to happen. Using miserly meat will probably get friends calling in busy for your BBQ every now and then, owing largely to how they expect these grills to always pan out - miserly - like what you serve the pet that you really do not want anymore but have not yet found a buyer for, or the strength of murder.
5. Messing up lighting
How difficult can it be to light up your grill? Piece of cake, right? Well, maybe not! As strange as someone might think this is, messing up barbeque lighting is not just a possibility but an easy, how do we say, task?
A report said to be from the National Fire Protection Agency claims that grills are responsible for 8,600 home fires annually. You can do the math on how many great Americans make this infamous lot. Malik runs a grill once in a while but sees his turnout of guests diminish with each hosting. The reason is not far-fetched; he's got a penchant for starting fires. Each time, everytime. But here is a tip we can frerly give; if you use a gas grill, check for dents in the propane tank, which may signify a potential leak, and keep the lid open while lighting up. If your grill doesn’t immediately start, wait five minutes for gas fumes to clear before trying again. And never add lighter fluid to a lit charcoal grill; it can cause flare-ups that stretch several feet. Simply put, do be all you wanna, but not bro Malik. Roger that!
6. Cutting right into the meat once it is out
One wonders what this rush is for. I mean, more often than not, you are home, or, home away from it. So, jumping right on to cutting the steak immediately it's done is unnecessary.
You don't need to dig in when the food is piping hot off the grill. Best to wait for the meat to cool for a few minutes (and a little longer for larger portions) because all the juices start moving around the meat, and they tend to pool a little bit more in the center as you cook your meat. When you cut into the meat right away, you end up destroying hard work because this juice spills out, which can dry out your tender cut. Allowing meat sit for five to ten minutes allows the juices actually get reabsorbed, giving a tender cut of meat all around.
7. Failing to preheat the grill
This, right here, is about the biggest grilling mistake you can make. Failing to preheat the grill before the meat even hits the grill is so dumb, you actually help create unnecessary stress for yourself. Here is the trick: you preheat the grill properly helps you get the meat cook faster, and provides a more moist and tender output. So, you see what you'd be missing leaving out this small detail? And to think that fast-cooked, tender meat is as simple as closing the lid once the ideal temperature is reached (between 350 and 450°F depending on the food) to prevent your meat from losing moisture. The Alpha Grillers thermometer (available at https://alphagrillers.com) can come in handy here. Thank me later.
8. Waiting for your steak to warm up
Free tip here, folks: room temperature cuts cook too quickly. So, it is totally not smart of you when you let those juicy filets in your fridge reach room temperature before you toss on the grill. Having to warm the meat prevents the perfect steak from being achieved. Expert Michael Lomonaco, executive chef and managing partner at Porter House New York, says that cooking with cold steaks allows you to control the temperature more, resulting in a perfectly cooked steak. So, you see that some great minds align here.
His words: “I like to cook my steak cold, right out of the refrigerator. You want your grill to be searing hot and the steak to hit it icy cold.”
9. Starting a charcoal briquette with lighter fuel
If this is not pure dumb, nothing else will: such needless risk!
Most BBQ amateurs make this one dumb mistake often times because of impatience. Many times, they want to start cooking almost immediately.
You know what is bad about dousing your charcoal in lighter fluid? It might give off some really awful odors and funky tastes in your smoked meat. Plus this impatient act goes against the whole point of low and slow cooking which barbequing is about.