Grilling Out for Labor Day? 4 Tips for Better Burgers

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For most of us, Labor Day is our final hurrah of the summer, and cooking out is a great way to celebrate.  It can be a great day for family too.  The Browns of Muscadine, AL, have made it a tradition for over 10 years now to have a family BBQ on Labor Day.  It is a great time to catch up on where and what everyone is doing and to reminisce about some of their crazy childhood memories.

With the start of College Football on Saturday, a large percentage of the population will be cooking out this Labor Day weekend, and each family’s grill master has his own set of rules (and a few secrets) for getting the best flavor and texture from food cooked on the grill.  Sometimes rules are made to be broken, however.

Grilling gurus Russ Faulk, author of the cookbook “Cook: Out” and grill master for Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, and Meathead Goldwyn, of AmazingRibs.com, suggest there are four grilling rules you should break to get better results hot off the grill:

Rule #1: Only flip once
While many avid grillers stick by the “only flip once” rule, Faulk advises grillers to flip as often as they want.

“Especially with steaks and chops – turning more frequently can lead to more even cooking. You’ll also create an all-over browning effect rather than a simple set of grill marks. You can build up a very flavorful crust,” he says.

Just don’t flip too early. Be sure to wait for the food to release itself from the grill grate.

Rule #2: Oil the grill grates
To prevent food from sticking, many opt for the rule of spreading oil right on the grill grates. However, this can be ineffective particularly with high-power grills that reach soaring temperatures. Instead, as Goldwyn recommends, brush oil on your food, not the grates. He explains that when the food is placed on the grill, the oil will penetrate the small crevasses in both the food and the grates, creating a smooth and slippery surface that will help to prevent sticking.

Rule #3: Load up the grill
It may be tempting and seemingly efficient to put as much food on the grill as possible at a big cookout with lots of people.

“Keep at least 25-30 percent of open space on the grill with no fire below it,” said Faulk. This space can be used to move food when the action heats up, which he calls the “safety zone.”

Rule #4: Grill the food above the fire
Break this rule all you want. By mixing direct and indirect grilling – you’ll get more flavorful food.

Be sure to check out Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s website for more grilling tips and recipes