There is nothing tastier than a fresh juicy piece of meat pulled off the grill, but it is not as simple as you think. Preheating your grill while grilling is the most important thing to keep your meat safe.
Meat is notorious for causing foodborne illnesses because it is not cooked correctly or to the right temperature. Many people get frustrated because they will overcook the outside and notice the inside is still not up to temperature, this is why we need the meat thermometers for help.
Of course, the cause of this is due to improper preheating and preparation of the meat, especially knowing how long to preheat grill to kill bacteria. Grills are not all made the same and you need to know the differences of different types grills -the Gas Grill, Electric Grill, and Charcoal Grill. Also how it affects your cooking.
How Long to Preheat Electric Grill
The general rule for preheating grills is expecting it to take around 15 minutes. However, electric grills are different than propane or charcoal grills. Electric grills are favored by people who want grilled food year-round because they can be used inside and out.
They do not produce much smoke and are fairly easy to clean. Many of these grills come in a variety of sizes and come with temperature gauges. While it generally takes 15 minutes to come to the correct temperature, your grill should tell you when it is at the correct temp for cooking.
How Long to Preheat Gas Grill
Unlike electric grills, gas grills do not produce as much radiant heat. Therefore, you need to wait for the ceramic rods to fully heat up so your meat will be cooked directly. What you will find if you do not preheat long enough, you will notice the outside that your food takes a lot longer to cook, which can lead to it being tough or you just simply becoming frustrated with the wait.
How Long to Preheat Charcoal Grill
Grilling on a charcoal grill takes extreme patience and often trial and error. Charcoal grills use charcoal bricks that must be lit and allowed to burn until they are ashy in color. This must be done with the lid open. As soon as the bricks turn white, you will want to lower the lid, open the dampers, and let the grill preheat for five to 15 minutes.
If you plan on grilling often, you will want to have a temperature gauge that stays inside the closed grill so you can see when it reaches optimum temperature without opening the lid and letting the radiant heat out. Before you put your meat on it though, you will want to use a thermometer and verify that the temperature is accurate.
If you add the meat before the grill is fully heated, the food will stick to the grates and cause off-flavor, not to mention frustrate you with hard removal and shaving the meat. Most charcoal grills allow you to cook with different heat sources, either direct or indirect. Steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and such will do best with a direct heat so you need to spread the coals out over the whole grill.
However, larger meats, such as a whole chicken or a pork loin, do best with indirect heat and so you will want the coals on one side of the grill and your meat on the other.
Preventing Foodborne Illnesses While Grilling
According to the CDC, nearly 50 million people get sick from foodborne illnesses in the United States every year. A majority of these illnesses are caused by food that is undercooked. Grilling can be one of the leading causes of salmonella if not done correctly.
People often suggest marinating meat to make it more flavorful, but it also helps act as a barrier against any byproduct the grill can create. You can purchase premade marinades or make one of your own.
After you marinate the meat, it is important to make sure you give your grill plenty of time to preheat, as mentioned above. However, you definitely want to start with a clean grill, even though the preheating process is supposed to kill off any of the bacteria from a previous grilling session.
When you clean the grill, you want to make sure you use stiff wire brushes specifically designed for grills, and clean the grill while it is hot so the grease and food particles on the grates are loose.
However, after you clean the grill, use tongs to hold a damp towel to remove any cleaning chemicals and the rest of the food. Another suggestion is to consider pre-cooking the meat slightly prior to putting it on the grill. This can be done by putting it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, but many feel pan-searing the meat for a minute or two on each side is adds in more flavor.
Finally, make sure you do not cross-contaminate with raw meat. What this means is to make sure you use different plates and utensils once you transfer the raw meat onto the grill. You should always have two plates, and make sure you dispose of any leftover marinade that has touched the raw meat. If you want to marinate your meat after cook it, you have a couple of options. You can either hold some of the marinades to the side prior to applying it to your meat, or you can boil the leftover marinade to kill off any bacteria.
Grilling is considered one of the healthiest ways to cook your food, especially now that science has given us both gas and electric grills. However, this does not mean that carcinogens and bacteria cannot make its way into your food. It is for this reason that you will want to make sure you take every preventative measure possible to keep your food as healthy as possible.
Preparing your food ahead of time to block any carcinogens from the grill getting to your meat is the first step to grilling. After that, it is all on you as the griller to make sure your grill is cleaned and preheated correctly and finally cooked to the proper temperature.
Preheating will depend on the type of grill you own and what type of heat you want, whether you are cooking with indirect or direct heat. The minimum amount of time, regardless of the type of grill heat source, is 15 minutes.
Though, it is possible you will need to allow up to 30 minutes for the grill to reach not only the proper temperature but also kill off any bacteria that will linger on your grill. With the above-mentioned hints and tips, you can concentrate more on what you plan to serve with your protein and keep your family or guests in awe of your cooking skills.