5 Rules for Grilling Perfectly

Citizen Rail | June 2022 | Denver Life Magazine
Photo courtesy of Citizen Rail.

Become a charcoal grill master with these tips from Citizen Rail’s Chef Christian Graves. And if you’re using gas, consider adding wood chips wrapped in tin foil to get that coveted smokey flavor.

1. Sourcing good products

Pay more to get better quality meats and fish that you know are sourced properly. Whole Foods is a great one-stop shop. Farmers’ markets are also good spots. If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, H Marts are great for exotic picks.

2. Season heavy or early

Because you are cooking over a grate rather than a sauté pan, some of your seasoning will be lost to the fire, so make sure to coat the meat in a heavier layer of seasoning. Alternatively, you can season early—about five to eight hours before cooking, so the meat has time to really absorb the flavors.

3. Unique marinades

Always add something special to your marinade. For meats, try adding balsamic. It will add that vinegar taste while also helping the meat caramelize over the fire. If you are cooking fish, experiment with adding lemon and fennel for a more understated but complementary taste.

4. Get the grill hot

You want to think about grilling as two steps. First, you want to get a good sear, then worry about cooking it through. Get the grill as hot as it will go, up to 600° on one side of the grill, with the other side being cooler for thorough cooking. Once your meat is done, always let it rest for at least five minutes. The larger the cut, the longer the rest.

5. Keep it clean

Cleaning the grease off your grill is crucial for eliminating carcinogens, avoiding bacteria contaminating your food and preventing flare-ups from grease fires that scorch your food when you wanted to sear it. Soak your grill in Zep and use a wire brush to scrape the buildup free.