Memorial Day is the day that we remember and honor those who have lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Though we’ve been celebrating Memorial Day for almost 150 years in this country, the spirit of the holiday remains the same even today. However, the way in which we celebrate has certainly changed over the years. Where it began a sad, mourning holiday, it has grown into a celebration of life, a time to be with our loved ones and honor those lost.
Today, the most common celebration for Memorial Day is to have a barbecue. In fact, Memorial Day is the second most popular holiday for barbecuing (after July 4th). As you may have seen on our Facebook Page, we’ve dedicated this week to Memorial Day Barbecue ideas and recipes. So, we thought we’d take it a step further with some helpful techniques and tips for the big BBQ this weekend. Enjoy!
- Give it time to heat up. In order to make sure your grill reaches the right temperature and kills off any bacteria that might be in there, be sure to preheat your grill 15-20 minutes before cooking.
- A clean grill is a healthy grill. It’s easier to remove debris and residue from prior meals when the grill is hot. Use a wire grill brush on your grill rack after preheating to ensure a clean slate, and again after you use it.
- Avoid sticky situations. Reduce sticking food by oiling up your grill rack. Use tongs to hold an oil-soaked paper towel (make sure it isn’t dripping into the flames), and rub it over the rack. Never use cooking spray on a hot grill.
- Food poisoning (or worse) isn’t fun. Always use separate cutting boards, utensils and platters for raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination.
- Contemplate before you marinate. Never baste food with the same liquid you marinated it in. Make extra marinade just for basting, or boil your marinating liquid before using it again. Refrigerate while marinating.
- Reduce flare-ups. Try to use leaner cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove the skin from poultry before grilling.
- Think before you reach. Don’t forget, kebab skewers get hot on the grill. Enough said.
- Know thy grill. Every grill is different, and will have different hotter and cooler spots. Know where those spots are so you can use them to your advantage.
- Don’t lose the juice. When turning meat on the grill, use tongs or a spatula, rather than a fork, as piercing it can cause the juices to escape. When the meat is cooked, let it rest on a clean platter (tented with foil for better results) for about 10 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute evenly.
- Dress the part. Don’t forget to put on your chef apron or chef coat before hitting the grill, to avoid splatter while cooking!
While we do realize that “barbecue” and “grilling” are not interchangeable, for the purposes of our Memorial Day celebrations, we’ll assume they are.