Outdoor cooking is an enjoyable pastime for many. It allows you to enjoy the fresh air with friends and family while creating delicious meals. However, it is important to avoid certain mistakes to ensure that your meal turns out fine. If you have never cooked outdoor before, it can take some time to master the skill. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when cooking outside and how to avoid them.
Using the Wrong Types of Utensils
It is essential to use the right utensils when cooking outdoor. Some of the most crucial utensils that you need include spatulas and tongs. You also need a good set of knives for cutting and chopping the ingredients used for your meal. Using the wrong types of utensils can make cooking more difficult and time-consuming than it needs to be.
Using Low-Quality Ingredients
Make sure to use high-quality ingredients when cooking outdoors. Using low-quality ingredients will affect the taste of your food and can also be dangerous for your health. On the other hand, high-quality ingredients taste better and are safer for consumption as they do not contain harmful chemicals, pesticides, etc.
Not Using Enough Fuel
You have to make sure that you have enough fuel when cooking outdoors. Not having enough fuel could result in your grill or stove becoming unusable before you have finished cooking your meal, resulting in food poisoning or other health issues if people consume partially cooked food.
Make sure that your gas tank is full before firing up the grill. Refill it before completely running out of gas because it’s not fun when your guests are already eating and the grill runs out of propane. Also, make sure you preheat the grill properly. Not letting your burners heat up long enough means that your food will take longer to cook.
Using a Dirty Grill
You wouldn’t cook in a dirty kitchen, would you? Well, you shouldn’t cook on a dirty grill either. Bacteria and other germs can build up inside the grill and contaminate any food cooked on it. Cleaning the grill is essential before each use.
Many people wrongly believe that scrubbing their grills is only necessary when they are finished using them. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The easiest way to keep your grill clean is by cleaning it after each use.
Cleaning your grill is important not only for your health but also for food quality. A dirty grill will leave behind carbonized grease and food residue that will affect the taste of your food and can also cause flare-ups that burn your food instead of cooking it properly. Use a wire brush to clean off caked-on grime before you start cooking, and then scrub it once you’re done to prevent rust from forming overnight.
A clean grill will cook your food faster and more evenly, allowing you to easily remove any burnt bits of food that were left behind after cooking. A thorough cleaning should include cleaning off any residue or food stuck to the grills using soapy water and scraping off grease or food residue that has built up on the sides of the grill. If you fail to clean your grill thoroughly after each use, there is a good chance that bits of old food will find their way onto your new meal and change its taste significantly.
Using Too Much Lighter Fluid
If you use too much lighter fluid on a charcoal grill, it will smoke excessively when you light it and impart an unpleasant flavor to your food. Pouring lighter fluid onto unlit coals will also result in a flare-up when the coals are lit, damaging your grill and burning your food. To ensure you don’t inadvertently overdo it with the lighter fluid, use an amount equal to one small shot glass full per pound of charcoal in your grill.
Tips to Help You Cook Outdoors
Take Your Time
Don’t rush the process. Bringing the grill up to high heat and cooling it down takes time. If you are cooking something at a higher temperature, make sure you have time to cook it thoroughly. You also want to let your grill cool down before cleaning it, or you could risk getting burned by the hot metal.
Be Patient With the Meat
While you may feel that the steaks need a little more caramelization on one side, be patient and resist the urge to flip them too soon. Wait until they can easily slide off the grill before turning them over. Likewise, once they are turned, don’t keep turning them repeatedly while they cook. Let each side cook sufficiently to develop color and flavor without overcooking them.
Set up a Grill Station
You’ll want all of your grilling items nearby and easily accessible as you prepare food — tongs, spatula, basting brush, grill mitts, cooking spray or oil for greasing the grates, etc. Consider making a checklist of items to always have everything you might need at hand when you cook outdoors.
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