How to: Master the Grill
Heat your grill for at least 20 minutes before cooking to burn off food residue and ensure that the cooking surface is consistently heated. Then, scrape the grates to get rid of any remaining food and spray on some cooking oil to prevent sticking. There are two main grilling methods: direct (over the flame) or indirect (adjacent to the flame, above an inactive burner). Direct is the way to go for items that take 20 minutes or less to cook at higher temperatures, like small cuts of beef, fish and some poultry strips. Indirect is useful mainly for roasts, and whole or large cuts of poultry, which require slower cooking. Use tongs or a spatula over a fork to flip your meats to avoid losing precious juices, and a meat thermometer to test doneness. Let your meat stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Cook at 400°F to an internal temperature of around 140°F. Steaks are easiest to cook; filets of less than 1 inch can be put in a foil pouch to make handling easier. Wait 2 to 3 minutes before flipping for the first time to keep intact. You’ll know it’s ready when the surface starts to take on a flaky texture. You can also try using an untreated cedar plank pre-soaked in salt water for several hours for a bit of smoky flavour: Start by heating the grill to above 500°F. Place the plank in the grill for 2 minutes, then put a filet on top and cook for one-and-a-half times normal grilling time. Be prepared for excessive smoke.
Whole Fish: 6–7 min/inch per side
Filet: 5 min/inch per side
Shrimp: 2–3 min/side or until pink
Cook over direct heat at 450°F. Tender steaks, including New York strip, tenderloin (filet mignon), porterhouse and rib-eye need no prep other than a bit of flavouring. Tougher steaks, like sirloin, skirt and flank, require a strong marinade and/or pounding to tenderize—highly acidic fruits like papaya work well.
*Rare: 4–5 min/inch per side, internal temp 130°F
Medium: 7–8 min/inch per side, internal temp 145oF
Well-Done: 10 min/inch per side, internal temp 170°F
*For searing, begin by heating to 600°F or more (the hotter the better), and cook steak for approx. 1–3 min/side, keeping the lid closed between flips. After the cut has achieved a dark brown colour, finish grilling over indirect heat until desired internal temperature is reached.
Cook directly around 450°F. Slice or cut in half. Peel and coat in cooking oil or a light marinade (lemon juice or olive oil work) before grilling to prevent sticking. Smaller vegetables can be placed on a pre-soaked skewer. Grill until brown and tender. For thicker cuts, like potatoes, finish over indirect heat if outside browns too quickly.
Tomatoes: 3–4 min/side
Eggplant: 4–6 min/side
Asparagus: 3–4 min/side
Mushrooms: 5 min/side
Potatoes (wedges): 7–10 min/side
Corn on the Cob: 20 min, rotating regularly. Cook with 2–3 layers of husk still on the cob. Prior to cooking, peel back husk and soak in water for 25–30 minutes.
Cook over direct heat at 350°F to an internal temperature of at least 170°F. For safety, larger pieces and whole chickens can be pre-cooked prior to grilling.
Breast (Bone-in): 13–16 min/side
Breast (Boneless): 6–8 min/side
Thigh (Bone-in): 12–15 min/side
Thigh (Boneless): 6–8 min/side
Drumsticks: 8–10 min/side
Wings: 2–3 min/side
Full Chicken: 30–40 min/side (Indirect)
Half Chicken: 20–30 min/side (Indirect)
Burgers: 5–7 min/side, internal temp 160°F (direct at 450°F+)
Sausages: 18–20 min, rotating regularly, internal temp 160°F (direct at 350°F)
Pork Chops (thick): 8–10 min/side, internal temp 160°F (direct at 350°F)
Lamb Chops: 6–8 min/side, internal temp 145oF (direct at 450°F+)