Anyone who’s spent plenty of time behind the grill knows that there’s an art to manipulating food over flame. The golden rule of grilling according to Chef Chas Edwards of Blue Water Seafood? “Keep it hot!” she says.
“Keeping a hot grill ensures even cooking,” Edwards explains. Allowing food to get hot means taking a hands-off approach, a tough thing to do for the anxiety-prone among us. “Never try to flip or move food too soon,” Edwards says. “It generally takes 8-10 minutes over even heat, per side, to ensure that food will release easily — especially when it comes to burgers.”
If using a charcoal grill, says Edwards, “It usually takes 30 coals to ensure that one pound of meat will reach an adequate constant heating temperature.”
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Be prepared. Have everything you need close by. You’ll burn something in just the time it takes to retrieve those tongs or kitchen towel.
Get greasy. Grease your grates and keep them clean. This helps with the golden rule (remember the hot grill?) as well as allowing for a smoother grill surface to create those “fancy schmancy” grill lines.
Chill out. Leave a low-heat or unheated side of the grill. Doing this allows you to have a spot to safely place food in case of a flame-up and provides a basic place to keep things from cooking when “holding” until service.
Sauce like a boss. Never brush BBQ sauces on until food is almost completely cooked. Almost all barbecue, hoisin and teriyaki sauces contain sugar which burns up quickly on a grill and also makes a giant mess while doing so.
Edwards also offers her grilled variation of a favorite New Orleans recipe, a little something she picked up while working at the Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter. The recipe utilizes fresh caught, in-season North Carolina coastal shrimp. Check Blue Water Seafood for availability (contact info after the recipe).