A guide to great grilling
There's something comforting about a smoky dinner right off the grill. It signifies sun, long days and great company.
In addition, outdoor grilling is the perfect way to cook up a no-mess meal and free yourself from the confines of the kitchen. Grilling meat, poultry and seafood sears in flavor for a deliciously juicy taste and veggies become tender, their flavors concentrated.
Find great recipes including marinades and vegetarian options from our recipe database.
- Asian-Glazed Grilled Salmon
- Banh Mi Dog
- Basic Marinade
- Beef and Veggie Shish Kabobs
- Bistecca con Rosmarino e Aglio (Steak with Rosemary and Garlic)
- Blackened Cajun Salmon
- Blue Cheese Beef Burgers
- Blue Cheese Bison Burgers
- Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Feta
- Breakfast Dog
- Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil
- Chipotle and Pumpkin Seed-crusted Medallions of Wild Salmon
- Curried Pineapple Fried Rice with Grilled Prawns
- Fennel-crusted Salmon
- Fire-grilled Caesar Salad with Wild Alaskan Salmon
- Four Simple Marinades
- Fresh Corn Tamales
- Garden Dog
- Grass-fed Beef Burgers with Caramelized Sweet Onions
- Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest
- Grilled Asparagus with Mango, Olives and Capers: Tapas Style
- Grilled Cherry-Pasilla Salsa
- Grilled Chicken and Panzanella Salad with Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette
- Grilled Chicken Salad with Peaches
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Grilled Corn with Honey-Cinnamon Butter
- Grilled Corn with Parmesan and Basil
- Grilled Corn with Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Grilled Eggplant Layered with Shaved Garlic and Fresh Thyme
- Grilled Eggplant with Farro
- Grilled Flatbread Pizza with a Variety of Seasonal Toppings
- Grilled Garlic-studded New York Steaks
- Grilled Halibut with Pepper and Onion Relish
- Grilled Lamb Sliders
- Grilled Miso Black Cod
- Grilled Mushroom Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette
- Grilled Nectarines with Mascarpone and Blackberries
- Grilled or Broiled Asparagus
- Grilled Organic Apricots with Smokey Blue Cheese and Almonds
- Grilled Organic Pluots with Tieton Farm Bianca Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts
- Grilled Organic Summer Vegetables with Lime and Chipotle-infused Olive Oil
- Grilled Pancetta-wrapped Wild Prawns
- Grilled Pizza Rustica with Grilled Local Vegetables and Arugula
- Grilled Pizza Rustica with Pesto Simmered Turkey and Roasted Fall Peppers
- Grilled Plum and Nectarine Salsa
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Coffee-Molasses Barbecue Sauce
- Grilled Prawns with Lemon
- Grilled Salmon Bistro Salad
- Grilled Salmon Burgers with Hoisin and Ginger
- Grilled Salmon Steaks
- Grilled Sausages with Festive Condiment Bar
- Grilled Sole with Nectarines and Herbs
- Grilled Steak Salad
- Grilled Tender Sliced Sirloin Beef with Salsa Verde
- Grilled Trout with Spicy Tamarind Sauce
- Grilled Vegetable Antipasto
- Grilled Wild Halibut with Greens, Hazelnuts and Sunflower Seed Pesto
- Grilled Wild Salmon with Coriander and Sweet Chili Glaze
- Halibut Kabobs with Lemon-Basil Butter
- Honey-Garlic Grilled Pork Chops
- Italian Dog
- Kao Pod Yang: Corn on the Cob Thai-style
- Lamb Burgers with Olive Tapenade and Feta
- Lamb Gyro Skewers with Pistachios and Mint
- Lamb Marinade
- Lamb Souvlaki
- Lemon Grilled Salmon
- Lime and Chipotle-infused Olive Oil
- Marinated Grilled Eggplant
- Mo Hanh: Grilled Corn with Scallion Oil
- Moo Yang Takrai
- Moroccan Whole Spice-crusted Chicken Brochettes
- Orange-glazed Salmon Kabobs
- Pan-roasted Padrón Peppers
- PCC Grilled Portobello Sandwiches
- Pistachio and Lemongrass Gyro Skewers with Spicy Pomegranate Dipping Sauce
- Polynesian Grilled Pineapple and Chicken
- Portobello Burgers with White Bean Spread and Roasted Peppers
- Potatoes Roasted in Parchment Purses Topped with Pesto
- Roasted Sweet Peppers and Goat Cheese in Extra-virgin Olive Oil
- Rosemary Grilled Salmon
- Rosemary-grilled Wild Salmon with Summer Greens Rémoulade Sauce
- Satay Hed Horm
- Savory Spice-crusted Free-range Chicken Breasts on the Grill
- Seared Ahi Tuna en Brochette
- Seared Flank Steak
- Seared Spicy Tuna Steaks with Figs and Onion Marmalade
- Sesame-Wasabi Grilled Albacore Tuna Salad with Mango and Cilantro
- Sizzling Grilled Sausages
- Sizzling Whole Range Fed Washington Chicken on the Grill with Rosemary-Balsamic Strawberries
- Smoky Spice Rub
- Southern Comfort Barbecue Sauce
- Southwest Red Chili-crusted Shrimp Skewers
- Spice Crusted Chicken Skewers with Red Curry Peanut Sauce
- Spice Rub Mixture
- Spice-rubbed Grilled Pork Chops
- Spice-rubbed Wild Salmon
- Spicy Grilled Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps With Crispy Garlic and Pumpkin Seeds
- Spicy Plum Sauce Grilled Short Ribs with Grilled Fresh Plums
- Steak & Pepper Tacos
- Stout and Cheddar Beef Burgers
- Succulent Spice-rubbed Ribs with Southern Comfort Barbecue Sauce
- Summer Harvest Antipasto
- Summer Herb Grilled Tuna and Prawn Skewers
- Summer Tomato Insalata with Grilled Bruschetta
- The Best Turkey Burger
- Thyme and Fennel-crusted Grilled Tuna
- Tropical Dog
- Vegan Aioli for Grilled Artichokes
- Wasabi Grilled Salmon
- Whole Spice-crusted and Grilled Moroccan Chicken With Grilled Lemons
- Whole Spice-crusted Lamb Brochette with Pomegranate Subduction Reduction
- Yum Neua (Thai Grilled Sirloin Steak Salad)
- Preparing the grill: Always start with a clean grill. Use wire brushes to sweep the grates, then wipe away any residue with a cooking-oiled cloth or paper towel.
- Heating the grill: When building a fire for charcoal grills, stack the coals two or three deep in one area for high heat. Spread coals in a single layer for medium heat. This will allow you to shift foods during cooking to prevent burning.
Allow grill to heat fully for 10 minutes before adding food if using a gas grill. When using charcoal, let it burn until it is covered with a thin coat of gray ash.
- Basting and turning: Brushing meat or poultry with sauces during cooking will keep them moist and tender. To ensure even cooking, flip food as needed — generally once at the halfway point of the cooking period. Long-handled tongs are perfect for most foods, but use a spatula for burgers or delicate fish.
An open flame and hot surface make grilling an activity that should be done with caution. Plus, knowing the basics of how to handle and store meat and seafood will ensure healthy grilling.
- Marinate meat and seafood before grilling. Studies have shown that the acid content of marinades made with vinegars, citric juices, oils and herbs naturally reduce the risk of carcinogens, which are created when meats are grilled.
- Avoid dangerous flare-ups by removing as much fat as possible from meats. When grilling marinated foods, let the excess marinade drip off before placing food on the grill.
- To avoid bacteria contaminations, marinate foods in the refrigerator and always serve grilled meat on a clean platter. Never place cooked meat on a plate that was used to carry raw meat. Keep meat refrigerated until ready to grill.
- Make sure meat is fully cooked before serving. Use a meat thermometer and the following temperatures as a guide: Whole poultry 180º F, breasts 170º F, seafood 135º F, ground beef 160º F, beef, veal and lamb steaks, roasts and chops 145º F, and cuts of pork 160º F.
Meat and poultry techniques
If you're using a gas grill with a controllable temperature, you can sear meat for approximately two minutes on high heat, turn and sear other side for two minutes. Turn meat again, reduce heat to medium or low and close cover to finish cooking until desired internal temperature. This method cooks meat slowly, helping it to retain its juiciness and preventing it from drying out.
Grass-fed beef cooks quickly because it is so lean; it's best grilled medium rare, and usually requires 30 percent less time on the grill. Visit this page for even more grilling tips and ideas for meat and poultry.
- Steak: Steak can be bone-in or boneless and should be 1/2 to one-inch thick. Grill for 7 to 14 minutes for medium rare, 11 to 18 minutes for medium, turning once.
- Chicken breasts: Grill until thoroughly done and juices run clear, about 8 to 12 minutes, turning once.
- Ground beef, lamb or poultry patties: Patties should be 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Grill until thoroughly cooked, about 10 to 16 minutes, turning once.
- Pork chops: Chops can be bone-in or boneless, 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Grill until fully cooked, at least 12 to 16 minutes.
Grilling is perfect for thick (at least 1/2 inch) meaty fillets or steaks with strong flavor that can stand up to the smoky tang of the grill.
Fish with an abundance of natural oils — like tuna, salmon and mackerel — are less likely to stick to the grill than non-oily fish, like red snapper and sea bass. Because of this, non-oily fish should be cooked in a grilling basket, or lightly coated with olive oil.
Perfectly grilled fish should look opaque, not translucent.
- Fish fillets: Cook until fillets flake easily when nudged with a fork. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness, turning once.
- Fish steaks: Tuna, salmon, halibut steaks should be 1/2 to one inch thick. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes for each 1/2 inch thickness, turning once.
Grilling vegetables is a simple and delicious way to prepare them. Eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers, sweet onions, small tomatoes and mushrooms all cook well on the grill.
Hard vegetables should be cut about 1/2-inch thick and should be marinated or brushed lightly with oil. Larger pieces can be placed right on an oiled grill grate to avoid sticking. Smaller, softer vegetables can be placed on skewers or in a grilling basket.
Vegetables should be turned frequently and brushed with additional marinade or oil to avoid drying out. Remember, different vegetables take different amounts of time to cook — from 5 to 20 minutes. But in general, remove vegetables when their skin begins to blister and the middle is soft when pierced with a knife.
Food for thought: Grilling tools
By Goldie Caughlan, former PCC nutrition education manager
Try to avoid "standard" charcoal, which may contain coal dust, sodium nitrate, borax or other additives. Instead, use hardwood charcoal with no chemical additives, or natural gas or propane-fueled grills.
And, try to avoid liquid or solid fire-starters, which are petroleum-based. Instead, use a chimney charcoal starter and mound briquettes on paper or tinder for lighting. Or, use a heavy-duty electric starter coil for easy igniting.
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