The thrill of the grill
by Cecelia Hostilo, Columnist
Mar 21, 2012 | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The recent warm weather we have been experiencing makes us feel like summer is not far away. And nothing indicates summer more than the smell of a neighbor cooking outdoors on the grill. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Meat is usually one of the most costly food items that we buy, so what can we do to make sure that our grilling experience is a successful one?

The first tip for successful grilling is actually in purchasing the meat. Remember that price per pound is not the whole story. Look at the price per serving to get the real cost. Boneless meats provide approximately four servings per pound while meat with bone and fat will provide three servings or less. Buy large cuts of meats or whole chickens when the price is right and cut them into serving sizes for several meals. If you can’t use your purchases within two days, properly wrap and freeze them for later use.

It is also important to purchase the right cuts of meats to get the best results when grilling. Look for cuts of meats labeled rib, loin, or sirloin, as they are tender and good for dry heat cooking. However, there are three exceptions to this rule. These are the flat iron, chuck eye steak, and the shoulder tender medallions. Supermarkets usually arrange meats together that are suitable for grilling.

Good cuts of meat require little seasoning. You only need to use enough seasoning such as salt and pepper or herbs to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. Marinades are also an option, but remember to marinate meat items in the refrigerator for safety. If you need to tenderize a cut of meat, marinate for at least 6 hours. The marinade must have an acidic ingredient such as vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or yogurt to breakdown the connective tissue of the meat.

Always remember to follow food safety guidelines when grilling.

Use a clean platter to serve your cooked meat to prevent cross contamination from the platter holding the raw meat.

Keep raw meat and poultry and juices away from other foods.

Never chop vegetables on the same cutting board that you’ve just used to trip raw meat or poultry.

The most essential tool beyond the grill is a thermometer to insure that meat products are cooked to the proper temperature. Instant read probe thermometers or digital cooking probe thermometers are good choices. Remember, ground burgers and pork must cook to 160 ̊F; poultry to a minimum of 165 ̊F to ensure you are serving safe food. Whole muscle meats, such as steaks and chops can be cooked to 145 ̊F or less, depending on the preferred degree of doneness. Remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold!

Taking simple steps to keep the grill rack clean and sanitary will also reduce the spread of bacteria. Scrape off old charred food particles and spray the rack with a non-stick cooking spray before grilling foods. After the coals become red hot, close the cover for approximately twenty minutes. This will bring the rack temperature up to the temperature of the coals and sanitize the grill in preparation for your meat or vegetables.

Charred food can also pose certain health risks. There are studies that indicate that consuming charred food may increase the risk of cancer. Trimming the visible fat off the meat can help to prevent the fire from flaming up and charring the food. Raising the rack farther from the heat can also prevent charring.

The Trigg County Extension Service will be offering a class entitled “The Thrill of the Grill” on Tuesday morning, April 3, 2012, from 10:00-11:30 at the Extension Office. The cost of the class is $3.00 per person to cover the cost of supplies. Anyone interested in participating should call the Extension Office at 522-3269 to register before noon on Friday, March 30th so that adequate supplies can be purchased.

I hope to see you on April 3rd! Here’s to a great summer and a successful grilling season!

Information for this article was gathered from Gregg Rentfro, UK Cooperative Extension Meats Specialist, and “Safe Food Handling Keeps the Spice in Summer” by Teresa Howard, Harlan County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent.

For more information contact Cecelia Hostilo at the Trigg County Extension Office by calling 522-3269. Information for the article was obtained from Ingrid Adams, Extension Specialist in Nutrition and Food Science, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.


Grilled Orange-Soy Marinated Flank Steak

1 cup low sodium soy sauce

1⁄4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons brown mustard

1⁄4 cup orange marmalade

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (2-pound) flank steak

1⁄4 cup canola oil

Preheat a charcoal grill or gas grill to high. Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown mustard, marmalade, and pepper in a 9” x 13”-inch dish. Add the steak, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, turning the steak occasionally. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by one-half. Brush the hot grill lightly with canola oil. Place the steak on the prepared rack. Grill to the desired degree of doneness, basting with the reduced marinade. Remove to a clean serving platter. Cover and let stand for 6 to 10 minutes before slicing. Cut diagonally into slices to serve.

Yield: 9 servings

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 344 calories; 16 g total fat; 44 mg cholesterol; 1533 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 17 g sugar; 27 protein

Source: Living Well: More than a Cookbook, published by the National Association for Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, 2010.


Grilled Corn on the Cob

1 ear Corn on the cob

11⁄2 teaspoon margarine

salt and pepper to taste

Pull back the husks from corn, leaving husks attached at the base. Remove silks. Folds husks back over corn and soak in cold water for 3 to 4 hours. Remove from water. Pat dry and spread margarine over each ear of corn. Pull husks up over corn and tie with a strip of one of the husks. Grill over medium coals, turning frequently until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (One ear of corn): 184 calories, 4 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat

Source: “The Thrill of the Grill” by Sandra Bastin, Ph.D., RD, LD, CCE, UK Cooperative Extension Service Food and Nutrition Specialist


America’s Favorite Pork Chops

4 Pork Chops, 3/4-inch thick

3/4 cup Italian dressing*

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Place all ingredients in a self-sealing bag; seal bag and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or as long as overnight).

Remove chops from bag, discarding marinade, and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until just done, about 8-9 minutes total cooking time, until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.

* Or use a reduced-fat Italian dressing

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 184 calories; 10 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 60 mg cholesterol;140 mg sodium; 1 g carbohydrate

Source: National Pork Board
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