July 23rd, 2008

Tips from the Experts

Grilling season is in full swing so let’s stop and take a moment to remember some safety tips when you’re preparing those luscious, juicy steaks.

Who better to ask than the beef experts at beefitswhatsfordinner.com? Here’s what they have to say:


  1. Keep beef refrigerated. Grilling times are based on beef being taken directly from the refrigerator to the grill – not at room temperature. Shape burgers in advance, cover and refrigerate until the grill is ready.
  2. Trim, if necessary. Remove visible fat from meat and poultry before grilling to help prevent flare-ups and excess smoke formation.
  3. Marinating mantra. Always marinate in the refrigerator. Tender beef cuts can be marinated for 15 minutes to 2 hours for flavor. Less tender beef cuts should be marinated at least 6 hours –but no more than 24 hours– in a mixture containing an acidic ingredient or a natural tenderizing enzyme. Pat beef dry after removing from marinade to promote even browning and prevent steaming. Do not save marinade for reuse. If a marinade has been in contact with uncooked beef, it must be brought to a full rolling boil before it can be eaten as a sauce.
  4. Grilling temperature matters. Grilling over medium heat ensures even cooking and flavorful, juicy meat. If beef is grilled over too high heat, the exterior can become overcooked or charred before the interior reaches the desired doneness. Charring meat, poultry or fish is not recommended.
  5. Watch the charcoal. Never grill while the coals are still flaming. Wait until the coals are covered with gray ash (approximately 30 minutes), spread in single layer. To check cooking temperature, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; approximately 4 seconds for medium heat.
  6. Know your gas grill. Since gas grill brands vary greatly, consult the owner’s manual for information about preparing the grill for medium heat.
  7. Turn properly. Use long-handled tongs for turning steaks; spatulas for burgers. A fork will pierce the beef causing loss of flavorful juices. And don’t be tempted to press down on burgers – it only releases the juices and creates flare-ups.
  8. Use a thermometer. The best way to determine doneness of burgers and steaks is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, inserted horizontally from the side to penetrate the center of the meat. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature.
  9. Internal temperature matters. Cook burgers to at least 160°F. The color of cooked ground beef is not a reliable indicator of doneness. Cook steaks to at least 145°F (medium rare doneness). The color will be very pink in the center and slightly brown toward the exterior.
  10. Practice food safety. Keep raw meat separate from other foods both in the refrigerator and during preparation. Wash hands, all utensils and surfaces in hot soapy water after contact with raw meat. Never place cooked meat on platters that held raw meat. Use clean serving platters and utensils. Serve cooked food promptly and refrigerate immediately after serving (within two hours after cooking).

Learn more from these guys here. And cook your steaks with confidence!

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