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Get tips, techniques for better grilling

May 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Memorial Day for many means heading out to the backyard for a family barbecue. Whether you're an old pro or a first timer, we've got tips, techniques and tools for better grilling.Before you head outside, chef Joseph Gillard says get your "mis en place," a term for gathering all tools and ingredients so you don't have to run in and out.

"Make sure you have your 'mis en place' all ready; everything that you're going to use, the stuff you're going to put on the grill. You need to make sure your charcoal is ready; you need to make sure it's the right temp," said Gillard, Napa Valley Grille chef.

Brush the grill clean, rub it with lemon, then oil so when proteins hit the surface, it's clean and hot.

Create a hot spot for intense cooking, along with a cooler area known as a safety zone to slow-cook some foods while others are catching up.

"Additionally if you're using a gas grill as well, obviously you can use one-half your grill, keep it a little hotter and the other half your grill, keep it a little bit cooler so that once again you have some control," Gillard said.

When it comes to a mixed grill, timing is everything.

"Any piece of meat that's relatively large, you're going to want to start it first because you want to cook it to temp and then allow it to rest 10 or 15 minutes before you serve it," Gillard said.

Burgers and chicken should go on the grill next, followed by fish and veggies last, as they take a mere five minutes to cook.

A rule that many don't follow is you should only flip your meat and vegetables once or twice max to seal in the juices. Don't flip multiple times or poke your food. Even though it's tempting, fire and smoke don't taste good.

While grilling is fun, safety is essential. This is one time where keeping things separate is a must.

You need separate cutting boards for each protein and one for vegetables. For grill space, raw vegetables shouldn't share space with chicken.

Finally, the 'resting' rule for meat holds true for other proteins as well.

"If you are cooking fish and you are cooking chicken you do, once again, want to let those items rest just a little bit because if you serve them hot, once again, you're going to have a little bit of loss as far as the juice in that protein," Gillard said.


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