Labor Day Grilling Tips
By Susan Dunn
Hey, I know you've got the recipes, these are just some tips to
make it easier and safer.
YOU WANT TO FEED 'EM, NOT KILL 'EM.
Food safety FIRST, then you can get on to the fun stuff.
1. Scrub your hands before you start handling meat.
2. Defrost meat only in the refrigerator.
3. Keep raw meat separate from cooked food (watch that plate you
take the meat out in).
4. Wash anything touched by raw meat immediately in soap and
5. Don't leave side dishes (particularly anything with mayo in
it) outside or at room temperature for more than one hour.
A GRILL IS A CONTAINED FIRE.
(1) Situate your grill in a clear place, away from structures
and trees and out of the wind.
(2) Remove excess fat from meats to prevent dangerous flareups
and arrange the coals around a drip pan which is directly below the meat.
(3) Use tools with long handles.
(4) Never add lighting fluid to lit coals; it can ignite and
cause serious burns.
(5) Don't get to having such a good time you forget to watch the
little ones. Many children are fascinated by fire, so teach your children fire
safety and assign a Designated Child Safety Watcher at a large barbecue
especially if you're serving alcoholic beverages.
EVEN BOBBIE USES A THERMOMETER.
There are too many variables - wind, weather, cut of meat - so
get a good meat thermometer and use it.
To test it for accuracy, heat a pan of cold water on high until
it boils, which is 212 degrees F. Then place the stem of your thermometer into
the water for one minute. If it's properly calibrated, it will read 212 degrees
Get a thermometer with a nut on the back of the dial housing so
you can calibrate the dial indicator with a pair of pliers. (Source:
The thermometer should be stuck through the thickest part of the
meat away from bones, which conduct heat. Beef should be between 140║ (rare) and
170║ (well done). Pork should be between 145║-160║. Hamburgers must be 160║. A
beef roast is safe at 145║ unless it's "rolled" or mechanically tenderized, and
then it should be at 160║. Pork roast should be cooked to 160║F.
A MANLY WAY TO TELL WHEN THE FIRE'S HOT ENOUGH?
Use the palm test. Let the coals heat about 30 minutes, then
hold your palm 5" over the fire. If you can hold it there for 2-3 seconds, the
fire is hot. 4-5 seconds, it's medium. A full 6 seconds, it's low.
"GRILING DOESN'T MEAN TURNING EVERYTHING 40 TIMES," says Bobbie
"I use really high heat," Flay says, "turn it once and let a
nice crust form. It sears in the flavor and keeps food from sticking." Turning
the meat repeatedly cools it down and it "steams". You can also spray your grill
with non-stick spray before you start to prevent sticking.
Searing the food seals in the flavor. Don't ever pierce meat
with a fork or anything else. It loses tenderness and flavor. Use tongs, not a
WHO SIGNED UP FOR THE CLEANUP COMMITTEE?
It' not a big deal if you clean the grill as soon as you take
the food off, while it's still hot. You can just scrape the stuff off and it
will burn up. Get a good quality brush with metal bristles.
TIRED OF THE SAME OLD THING?
Try some wood chips or herbs for a distinctive flavor.
Soak the chips in water for an hour, then put them over the
coals. The Weber folks suggest "earthy mesquite, spicy hickory and sweet cherry
You can also soak and drain herbs (rosemary, sage, tarragon,
thyme or bay leaves) and sprinkle them over the coals just before you put the
food on. mmmm
NOBODY CAN DO IT, NOT EVEN YOU!
Some things fall apart or fall through the grill so why push
your luck? Put the fish in a basket (coat it first with oil). If you're making
shishkabobs use either very large chunks, or grill it first and then cut it up.
Observe food and fire safety and you can get creative on the
grill! Good luck.
ęSusan Dunn, The EQ Coach,
http://www.susandunn.cc. Here to assist, inspire, support and transform
your experience of yourself, your life, your relationships, your career and
your world through the magic