5 Tips for grilling greatness

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Even a novice cook can prepare a great meal on the grill. With a few tips and techniques true foodies can turn a simple backyard barbecue into a culinary delight. So put these 5 grill tips just for foodies to use.
Even a novice cook can prepare a great meal on the grill. With a few tips and techniques true foodies can turn a simple backyard barbecue into a culinary delight. So put these 5 grill tips just for foodies to use.

1. Don't over-accessorize

Don't be fooled into thinking you need every grill tool or gadget on the shelf. Odds are they'll end up gathering dust in your pantry of forgotten appliances. Save your money and start with the basics -- long-handled tongs, spatulas, a brush for applying sauces, a few metal skewers and an abrasive brush to clean the grill. (If you use wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes before placing them on the grill.) Buy additional items as you need them.

2. Avoid sticky situations

There's nothing worse than leaving precious chicken skin or half your steak on the grates of your grill. Help prevent your food from sticking to the grill by brushing both the grill and the food lightly with oil.

3. Make your mark

Nothing says 'cooked by a foodie' more than food served with perfectly caramelized grill marks. You know, those dark brown lines that form something of a checkerboard pattern on your grilled meats. To create those perfect crosshatch or grill marks, place your food on the grill at a 45 degree angle. Let it cook without moving for several minutes then use tongs to pick up the food and rotate it 90 degrees. Place it back on the grill and continue grilling until your marks are even.

4. Don't be a serial flipper

Foods should be flipped on the grill, or in a pan for that matter, only once. That's it. Place it on the grill. Let it cook without moving. Flip it and let it finish cooking. All the flipping and reflipping just slows down the cooking process and for delicate foods like fish, can cause the food to fall apart.

5. Focus on flavor

There are three basic ways to add flavor to grilled foods -- marinades, rubs and sauces. Marinades are usually a mix of oil and an acid like citrus juice or vinegar. Soaking food in a marinade, which can also contain herbs and spices, allows food to absorb all the delicious flavors in the marinade. Make sure that any marinade that comes into contact with raw meat or poultry not come into contact with cooked foods. Rubs are mixtures of herbs and spices that are literally rubbed onto raw meat to add flavor. Some rubs are made with a little oil or liquid, just enough to make a paste that's applied the same way as a dry rub. Sauces are brushed on in the last few minutes of cooking. Applying them early on in cooking will cause them to burn before your meat is cooked.