Grilling season still going strong – here’s how to get it right

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Three mistakes people often make when grilling – not preheating the grill, not oiling the steaks or fillets to keep them from sticking, and cooking to color and not by time or temperature. (Photo by Dan Durbin)

We’re deep into the grilling season and many of us are firing up salmon, last year’s venison or elk – sometimes with great results and sometimes not.  The fact is, wild game is great, but it can also be very dry if not cooked properly.

I reached out to Dustin Green, of Weber, to gauge his thoughts on how to make sure your next grilling session is a good one.

Many types of wild game can be dry if they are not cooked properly so several companies are adding a “sear” feature to their system.

“The searing feature provides different results,” Green said. “With Weber grills, the sear burner is designed to quickly create a hotter zone to help get the caramelization on the outside of foods without overcooking the inside. Searing also helps produce classic grill marks that provide great texture and taste to any food.”

Searing has advantages for certain types of wild game.

“Leaner meats, like venison, elk, moose, and bison, benefit most from the sear feature,” Green said. “Also, these meats are typically flatter when cut into steaks, making them easier to grill. I recommend avoiding fattier foods like goose when using the sear feature.”

Some weekend warrior grillers are opting for a “reverse sear” method, which means you cook low and slow and sear at the end.

“Reverse searing has many benefits,” he said. “It provides more evenness of color throughout the meat, provides better heat control of the grill, and provides a great seared exterior when finished.”

Anyone who has cooked salmon or trout in the grill has probably had problems with the skin sticking to the surface of the grill. There are ways to avoid that.

“Oil the food and not the grate,” he said. “The oil will prevent the salmon from sticking.

Preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Use this time to clean the grates to remove any excess food from previous cooks.”

Green said that skin-on salmon should be cooked at 450 to 500 degrees.

“Place the salmon skin side down on the grate and cook straight without a flip or cook it meat side down and flip it once during cooking,” he said. “Either way works great.”

Sous vide cooking is becoming more popular.

Sous vide cooking is the process of sealing food in an airtight container—usually a vacuum sealed bag—and then cooking that food in temperature-controlled water.  Then, a quick sear is used after the meat reaches the required temp.

“If a person opts to sous vide their food,” he said. “It still helps to sear the protein on the grill to enhance the flavor and texture of the food.  When foods are cooked sous vide they are cooked evenly due to the lower temperature and longer cook.  But what you don’t get is a crispy, textured, caramelized outer layer of the protein that ultimately leads to added flavor and a better overall eating experience.”

Overall, Green said that there are three common mistakes people make when grilling.

“People don’t preheat the grill, they don’t oil the food, and they cook to color and not by time or temperature.”

Categories: Cooking, How To’s, Wisconsin – Dan Durbin

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