To paraphrase A. Tennyson: In the spring a young backyardsman’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of grilling. The more mature backyardsman, of course, begins to think about grilling opportunities much earlier in the year, as early as the previous November or December in fact. The thing is, you can’t start too soon getting your barbecue machine into tip-top shape for the upcoming grilling season.
Prepare the grill by knocking off all the burnt-on pieces of food left to harden since its last use. Use a wire brush on the grill surfaces if it appears to need brushing. Clean out the cavity below the burners as best you can and empty any drip pan the grill may have. You don’t want to have to do this in the half hour or so before this year’s first grilling session. This cleanup session marks the only un-fun part of using a barbecue grill. The rest: pure pleasure.
Assessing the advantages of cooking meat on the grill starts with the cost of operation as opposed to cooking meat in an oven or on the cooking surface of an electric range. Over time, depending on how many meals include meat and on the cost of electricity, the savings can mount up. Every so often the savings permit the purchase of an extra steak.
Cooking meat on the patio or somewhere in the backyard over the high heat of a grill means not having to worry about airborne grease particles coating the kitchen ceiling, as invariably happens when cooking meat on an electric stove top. Keeping the grill cover closed traps grease splatters while it intensifies the cooking heat. Actually, most of the grease cooked out of a piece of meat over the direct flames of a grill burns up in the blaze so the meat does not reabsorb any of the fat.
Besides reducing the fat content of meat, cooking steaks or similar cuts of meat on a grill offers the possibility of other health benefits. When the high heat of the direct flames sears the meat it effectively seals in its moisture content. This makes it unnecessary to add calorie-containing sauces or oils, should the meat have little fat content. The same high heat also seals in any essential vitamins the meat contains.
A large barbecue grill having multiple burners with separate controls makes it possible to cook different cuts of meat at the same time at different temperatures. A trick some grillmasters use with these larger grills permits cooking meat as one might cook it in a regular oven. Fire up one burner only to create an oven-like temperature under the cover. Place the meat on the unheated grill. The enclosed, indirect heat will cook the meat to perfection.