Other parts of this series on Grilling and Smoking:
You’ve been grilling all summer, and you know your food is good. As the season winds down, it’s time to challenge yourself a bit and try some more advanced grilling techniques, and we have some great ideas to get you started.
Sometimes called planking, this type of grilling does not involve Internet pranks or your core muscles. Rather, it refers to a cooking method where food is placed on top of a fragrant plank or wood to cook over indirect heat.
Plank grilling is popular with fish like salmon, sword fish, halibut, and tilapia. Once you try it, you may want to branch out and try other meats and vegetables. The end result of plank cooking is juicy and moist meat filled with flavor, which will differ depending on which wood you use. And the aroma can’t be beat.
You can get your planks at a kitchen specialty store, although that can be costly. Another option is your local hardware or lumber store. The key is to make sure you use only untreated wood, and ensure you soak it in water before using it.
A one-inch plank is usually used for large meats like whole fish, prime rib, or pork roasts.
Once you’re done grilling, rinse the plank with warm water and use a scrub brush to remove any leftover food.
To get started with your plank grilling, check out this delicious salmon recipe and give it a try.
Another way to test your grilling skills involves cooking meats that take a lot more time as they are cooked low and slow. Examples of this include brisket or turkey.
Beef brisket is a cut of meat from the lower chest wall. The brisket includes superficial and deep pectoral muscles that support about 60 percent of the body weight of a cow. Muscles are connective tissue that must be melted, so this cut requires low and slow cooking.
On a 10- to 12-pound brisket, you should trim off the excess top fat, leaving 1/4 inch thick layer of fat (essential to keep your meat moist during the long cooking time). Season your brisket it with your favorite rub, which can include sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper. You can add other spices to your rub to taste.
Using indirect heat, at a temperature of 225°F, cook the brisket fat side up for 7-8 hours, or until the internal temperature is 160–170°F.
When a brisket’s internal temperature reaches about 150°F, surface evaporation can cause the meat’s internal temperature to “stall.” You can either wait it out or wrap the brisket tightly in two sheets of heavy aluminum foil with 1/2 cup of beer or apple juice added to it. This is called the Texas Crutch and is a method favored by pitmasters, although most will recommend starting early with your brisket and giving yourself plenty of time to get through “the stall.”
When your meat is ready, the internal temperature of the brisket should reach 195°F.
After that, let the meat rest for 1–2 hours in the foil before unwrapping. When you remove the brisket from the foil, slice across the grain of the meat. You can also save the au jus collected in the foil to drizzle over the sliced brisket.
People like to get adventurous with their Thanksgiving turkey and cooking the bird on a grill is a great deviation from your normal routine. Trying a bird or two before the actual holiday will allow you time to experiment and discover the exact seasoning, temperature, and time to cook your bird.
Turkey on the grill may sound complicated, but technically it’s not. Aside from purchasing a turkey, you’ll already have most of the ingredients.
A turkey on the grill should be cooked using indirect heat. This can be achieved by turning on one of your burners and placing the turkey on the unheated side. It gets more complicated with a charcoal grill, but indirect heat works the same way. Refer back to our Grilling 101 blog for information on how to achieve this.
To prepare your turkey, remove the giblets and pat it dry with a paper towel. You can brush vegetable or olive oil on your bird and place it in a disposable roasting pan. We suggest stuffing your turkey with onions, lemons, and your favorite herbs and seasonings, for great flavor. You can definitely make stuffing in a grilled bird, but it’s probably best to sharpen your skills with the bird before trying the stuffing inside.
A disposable roasting pan is a key ingredient to effectively cooking your turkey on the grill. Two pans doubled will work best with a heavy turkey, and will make cleanup a breeze, since you can simply toss them when you are done.
Cook at a temperature of 300 to 325°F. Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil for the majority of the cooking time. Estimated cooking time is approximately 20 minutes per pound at 300°F. Check the doneness of your bird using a meat thermometer. When it has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F, take it off the grill. Remember that it will continue to cook after it’s removed from the heat, and it should be allowed to rest for 20 to 40 minutes before serving.
When you have mastered cooking a turkey on the grill, try this recipe for a more elevated grilling experience.
Desserts, greens, and pizzas are all great grilling fare, and you can read more about techniques for the best results here. You can also experiment with a great ribs recipe, and when you’re ready to take the dive, delve into the complicated and opinionated world of smoking meats, with Harmons Chefs Aaron Ballard and Lesli Sommerdorf.
Today’s grilling is a lot more than throwing hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill, You can take it as far as you want to go, and Harmons is here to help.