The best way to cook your food

Charcoal grilling is not just a type of cooking process but an adventurous experience in itself. Charred food surface, crispy texture, smoky aroma, light contrasting grill mark gives the food an enormous eye appeal and brilliant flavor.

Grilling in charcoal barbeque mostly involves direct grilling on the heat source. Heat source here is usually the burnt charcoal.  Charcoal is largely used as it has high calorific value which fastens the burning process by releasing more heat. 

The best way to light the charcoal grill is by laying the aluminum sheet on the base of the grill followed by placing the charcoals on it.

You can light the coal directly with a match stick or with the help of a long-necked gas lighter. To speed up the process, you can even sprinkle little oil on the charcoal. It is always advisable to place the charcoal in the pyramid shape in the middle of the grill. This allows the maximum air flow for the coal to burn efficiently.

You can even put pieces of an old newspaper so that it helps the burning process. Light the charcoal and allow it to burn for at least 15-30 minutes, depending on the weather. Make sure the charcoals are red hot and glowing before you start the grilling process. One sure shot indication that your grill is ready for cooking is when the charcoal changes its color from black to ash-grey.

If excess smoke is coming out of your barbeque, then give it some more time to get ready. You can even fan it to remove the smoke and to fasten up the burning process.

Now, with a help of tong evenly spread the hot charcoals on the grate.

Clean the cooking grid with the help of the brush before you place your marinated food. Cleaning will also avoid the food to stick onto the grid.

It is also necessary to control the temperature. One simple way is to open the lid. Mostly all the barbeque grill comes with a hinged lid. Removing the lid allows more oxygen into the coal thus increasing the fire. Covering the lid traps the heat which allows the food to cook faster and better.

Second method is by opening the vent either at the bottom of the grill box or on the top of the lid. Top vents allow the excess heat to escape and the bottom vent reduces the supply of oxygen. Bottom vent reduces the fire and extends the burning process. Avoid closing the bottom vents for long as you can risk extinguishing the fire. Ideal way is to close the top vent and open the bottom one.

Grill temperature varies for different food items. Thin steaks, fish or seafood takes less time to cook. Approximately 30 minutes or less.  If cooked for long on low heat, they will lose their juice and will dry out.

Larger food items like red meat, lamb, chicken breast, poultry, and ribs take longer time.  It is important to lower the temperature while cooking the larger food items so that it is cooked properly from inside and the outside is not burned or charred extra.

The hot grid leaves cross-hatch marks on the food, making it all the more attractive to eat.

Color of food, grilling time, and the barbecue temperature indicates us that the food is ready to serve. Avoid judging with the color only. At times the color can look good but the food might be raw from inside.  In some other cases the color may look raw but the food can be safe to eat. There fore combination of all the three parameters indicates us that the food id grilled appropriately.

By : Richa Mithal

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