The Girl’s Guide To Grills


by Kathy Pape – May 24, 2010

Show Off Your Skill on the Grill

“I NEED MY MAN! I just totally charred a once beautiful rib eye on the grill!  I can cook anything, but the grill vexes me.  Had to cover the meat in roasted garlic, Stilton blue cheese and pair it with a great Cabernet in order to eat it. Think the grill senses I am not a guy?”

This was the recent Facebook update written by my foodie friend – usually an excellent cook – that instantly grabbed my intention.  The post got a ton of comments because IT’S TRUE.  Why are men so much better at grilling than women?  Or maybe the better question is, why are men more comfortable grilling than making a casserole? Brandi read somewhere that subconsciously, men don’t see grilling as cooking but rather as tending fire.  They don’t perceive it as a chore, but rather something they need to conquer (how do we get them to transfer this mentality to other tasks?).  This is exactly the way my husband views grilling a steak!  But when I grill, I typically walk away thinking “I’m no good at this.  I don’t want to do it anymore.”

Maybe it’s as primal as the caveman theory, or maybe society just perpetuates the myth that women can’t grill so our Dads never teach us how?  What ever the case, I love BBQ, and this Memorial Day I vowed to get off appetizer & beverage duty (check out this week’s amazing Fab & Fru Lager Glass Giveaway) and conquer my fear of  our  good old-fashioned charcoal Weber.  Here are the grilling tricks that I’ve discovered so far!

Charcoal vs Gas Grills

When it’s time to choose a grill the bottom line is not always money, but time.  These days avid grillers have both a gas and charcoal grill.  They use the gas grill on weekdays after work when time is of the essence.  A gas grill heats up in minutes and the cleanup is easier.  But, it doesn’t add the smoky taste of a charcoal grill (which I LOVE), so a true BBQ connoisseur will have a charcoal grill for the weekend when there’s more time to devote to the meal.  A charcoal grill can be messy, takes time to light and you have to let the coals sit about 20-minutes to reach cooking temperature.

Cooking With Charcoal

Cooking with charcoal guarantees the smoky flavor that many people love, but it is more high maintenance.  You’ll have to clean the grill every time you use it and remove the ash more often.  It’s also harder to light and to know when the coals are ready for cooking, which is the reason I left grilling to my husband until recently.  Here are some tips to make using a charcoal grill a little easier!

  1. Determine how much charcoal you are going to need. One layer along the bottom of the grill is good for steaks, chicken, fish and vegetables.  Two layers will be needed for roasts.
  2. Stack charcoal into a cone shape.  This is very important because it makes the coals light faster and hotter and your fire won’t burn out, which can ruin your whole meal.
  3. Pour about a ¼ cup of lighter fluid on coals and let it sit for 3-minutes to soak in thoroughly.
  4. Use a long match and light from the bottom on at least two-sides
  5. Let the fire burn until all coals are white on the surface.  You don’t want to see any flames.
  6. Use long handled tongs to spread the coals evenly across the coal grate.
  7. Close the lid, wait 5 minutes before starting to grill.

I have always wondered how long it should take steak and chicken to cook with charcoal, and I was constantly cutting into the meat to make sure it was done.  The general rule is about 20-minutes for a 1” steak and about 7-minutes for each side of a boneless chicken/9-minutes for chicken on the bone.  Hamburgers take approximately 2 to 4 minutes on one side depending on the thickness, the type of meat (leaner meat cooks faster), and how well done you want it to be.  Flip the burger and cook on the other side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  With hamburgers never push down on the meat with the spatula because it forces all the juice out and makes the burger dry!

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6 Responses to “The Girl’s Guide To Grills”

  1. Lana says:

    They say to let meat rest for two to three minutes before cutting into it. While the meat rests the juices redistribute and each piece is juciy, not just the first bite. If you cut the meat before it rests, all of the juiciness of the meat will be lost with the first bite….according to Rachael Ray.

  2. Julia says:

    Another method to gage how well a piece of meat is cooked… touch your thumb and index finger together, then feel the fleshy part of the hand below the thumb. That is how rare feels. Touch the thumb to the middle finger and feel the fleshy part of the hand below the thumb, that is medium. Touch the thumb to the ring finger, then feel the fleshy part of the hand below the thumb and that is how well done feels.

  3. Nikki says:

    Part of me wants to smack you for this post. ;-) Granted, men have traditionally been the grill tenders but now that I am older I realize it was because it is difficult to tend both the stove inside and the grill outside. One great tip you didn’t mention: invest in a meat thermometer. For less than &10.00 you can get one to do the job and they are a godsend for that thanksgiving turkey that you can’t remember exactly what time you pout it in or thought might still be a bit frozen in the middle.

    FYI, the prices of gas grills are mostly affected bu their construction rather than their performance, especially with stainless steel. The lesser grades of stainless steel are more likely to warp, stain and even rust. Even then a $220.000 investment for a lesser grade steel grill is a bargain. If you maintain it well, it will last you a good decade or more.

  4. Steve says:

    Part of me wants to smack you for this post. ;-) Granted, men have traditionally been the grill tenders but now that I am older I realize it was because it is difficult to tend both the stove inside and the grill outside. One great tip you didn’t mention: invest in a meat thermometer. For less than &10.00 you can get one to do the job and they are a godsend for that thanksgiving turkey that you can’t remember exactly what time you pout it in or thought might still be a bit frozen in the middle.

    FYI, the prices of gas grills are mostly affected bu their construction rather than their performance, especially with stainless steel. The lesser grades of stainless steel are more likely to warp, stain and even rust. Even then a $220.000 investment for a lesser grade steel grill is a bargain. If you maintain it well, it will last you a good decade or more.

  5. Kaitlin Pack says:

    If I had a greenback for every time I came to fabandfru.com… Superb post!

  6. You have done it again! Incredible read!

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