Whether you own a charcoal or propane grill, a busy summer is definitely the time to crank up the heat and do some high temp grilling for quick and easy family meals. Quick seared meats can be just as tasty and have just as much depth of flavor as low-n-slow smoker classics, if only you follow a few simple steps and techniques.
Selecting the Right Meat
The first step is selecting the right meat for the meal. You can’t go wrong with good old hamburgers and hotdogs or a classic rib steak as these foods have enough fat content to keep themselves moist throughout the cook. Just add some Dizzy Pig Cowlick or Raising the Steaks on that burger or steak and you are good to go! With hamburgers, remember that fat is flavor, so avoid the really lean ground beef and opt for a medium grind and resist the urge to ‘press’ the burgers down on the grill with your spatula. That hot ‘hissss’ may sound cool, but that’s also the sound of the fat/flavor leaving your burger! For leaner options try ground turkey, chicken or grind salmon in a food processor with some scallions and Raging River for an awesome, wholesome salmon burger!
Other lean cuts to consider are the ubiquitous boneless, skinless chicken breast or pork center loin chops. Because of their lack of internal fat, it’s strongly recommended that you brine these cuts of meat before grilling. We at Dizzy Pig are huge fans of the technique of brining lean foods before cooking. If you are unfamiliar with this technique or recipe, there are many online resources to give you insight into the reasons, methods and recipe options for brining. We believe if you brine once, you’ll become as enthusiastic about it as we are!
Another thing to remember when grilling direct over high heat this summer is that the carryover heat will be much greater than with other lower temperature recipes. With some thinner cuts at high heat, internal finishing temps can rise by as much 15-20°F after removing from the grill. Keep this in mind when monitoring your ‘finished’ temperature.
The thinner they [boneless, skinless chicken breasts] are, the hotter I actually cook them.Chris CapellBecause of their ability to adapt to many different flavor profiles, Chris has been direct grilling a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the development of the new line-up of rubs (more on these below). His comments and findings on grilling chicken breasts direct include, “I use a medium-high heat over a direct lump charcoal fire to grill these. The thinner they are, the hotter I actually cook them, the reason being is that my goal is to get good browning on each side right about the time that the middle is done.” To which he adds, “Yes, the tricky part is knowing when the middle is done. It’s said that you should take the meat off when it hits 160°F in the coolest spot. The trouble is, when you’re cooking over a hot fire, the outer layers of meat are way over 160 by the time the coldest spot registers that same temp!” Chris’s solution? “I usually pull it off when the internal is 150°F or less when I am cooking hot and fast, then rest for 10-15 minutes loosely tented in foil. The carryover heat finishes the chicken breast off perfectly to an internal of 160 or so and the chicken is not overcooked.”