At Star Home Comfort, we realize that you don’t always need to hear about the nitty gritty of what we do for a living – so we’d like to tell you a bit about what we do for fun! We’re proud Texans, so we’ve got a grilling heritage. But we also realize that some of you might not know where to start, and might be afraid to ask. Sometimes, grilling aficionados play up the mystic art of cooking over charcoal. Truth is, it’s not that complicated, and fortunately for you, when grilling season is winding down for the rest of the country, it’s still in full swing in Texas. Here are the 5 steps to get you grilling like a pro.
1) Do I want a gas or charcoal grill? Charcoal. End of discussion. Just kidding! While most grill fiends will insist that charcoal is the only way to go, there are a few considerations. Charcoal arguably lends smokier flavor to grilled foods, but it’s also more time-consuming and messier. If you value efficiency and ease of use over smokiness, a gas grill will get you up and running with little effort. If you pick gas, skip to step 3.
2) Briquettes or lump charcoal? This, again, is a personal decision. Briquettes tend to burn longer and hotter than lump charcoal, but they’re also packed with fillers and additives, and they require the use of lighter fluid. If you’re comfortable with the chemical nature of lighter fluid around your food occasionally (we won’t judge), briquettes are the less fussy choice. But lump charcoal is all natural and there’s no question of lighter fluid flavor on your food.
3) How do I start the fire? If you chose gas, turn the knob to ignite, choose your heat, and go – just like your stove. If you picked briquettes, just stack them in a pile on one side of the grill, douse with lighter fluid, and CAREFULLY use a match or grill lighter to set them alight. If your choice was lump charcoal, you’ll need a chimney starter – see photo above – and some newspaper. Fill the chimney with coals, stuff newspaper underneath the chimney (do this on concrete or on the grill, obviously), and use a match or grill lighter to light the newspaper. As it burns, the coals above will catch fire, and after several minutes, will all light and be ready to use.
4) When can I start cooking? Patience, grasshopper. Once the coals have burned to a uniform grey, place the grill grate over them. After 5-10 minutes, the grate will be hot enough to cook with. It’s important that you pre-heat the grate, or you risk your food sticking. Nobody wants that. So get it good and hot before you toss on the meal.
5) Now, the largest issue of contention in the grilling universe: Flipping. Many folks will tell you that you should only flip meat once, but we’re here to tell you they’re wrong. Not only does flipping frequently keep both sides of the meat warm, thereby cooking it more evenly, it also speeds up the entire process. You may not get those pretty grill marks, but it’s a small sacrifice for faster, better-cooked meat. On this, there’s no real debate to be had.
Grilling shouldn’t be scary or difficult. It’s a way to cook delicious food simply, and have a good time while you’re doing it. So jump in a grill yourself something. Oh, and this is Texas, so make it something beefy! Whether you’re in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston or elsewhere, you got plenty of good grilling time left this year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you have no plumbing emergencies while grilling, but if you do, Star Home Comfort is just a call away.