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How Long to Grill Chicken Breast

Grilling any part of the chicken is difficult, as one needs to know the exact time and method. Even a few minutes of extra grilling can spoil the entire recipe. Grilling skinless chicken can be a daunting task, because when the chicken does not have its protective skin, it tends to dry out easily if over cooked. The grilling time depends not only on the chicken, but also on the other ingredients we add to it. Talking about the nutritional value of chicken breasts, they are high in protein and low in fat. So, you can enjoy them without worrying much about calories! But before that, you need to learn how long to grill them.

How to Grill Chicken Breast?

First and foremost, pound the chicken. Skinless boneless chicken breasts have a very thin tenderloin attached, which tends to get cooked very fast, even before the rest of it is half done. So, it is best to remove the tenderloin. Also, pound the chicken to about ½ thickness, as it is quite uneven. After you are done with the pounding, rinse it thoroughly, unless you are marinating it.

Pre-heat the grill to medium-high and lay the chicken on it. A simple thing to remember while grilling chicken breasts is that higher the heat, faster and juicier the chicken will be. Grill the chicken for about 4-5 minutes, keeping a check so that the it does not get burnt. When the bottom side of the chicken has sear marks, turn it. Further grill the chicken for another 4-5 minutes, until completely cooked. To check if it is rightly cooked, touch the thickest part. If it has been perfectly done, it will spring back a little. If it is underdone, it will be little spongy and if over-cooked, it will be hard and rough. There is another method to check if the chicken is done. Make a small cut in the center of the chicken; if it’s translucent, it is undercooked. When the chicken is completely done, remove it from the grill immediately, as it tends to keep on cooking even after removing from the grill.

How to Grill Chicken Wings?

First, chop off the end tip of the wing, the first segment, and then cut the next joint and separate the two pieces. Season it with pepper and salt and refrigerate. Set a propane grill at medium heat. Let it get very hot. If you are using a charcoal grill, heat the grill until the coals get a gray cover of ash. Clean the grill screen with the help of grill scraper and also wipe with a cloth soaked in olive oil. Now, remove the wings from the refrigerator and place on the grill. Grill for about 7-9 minutes on each side. Be careful while turning, as the skin can tear off. Remove from the grill and cut the end of drumstick of a wing. If the juices that run out are clear, the wings are neatly cooked. If the juices are reddish, place the wings in a pre-heated oven at 400°F for about 5 minutes. Season with hot sauce and serve.

How to Grill Chicken Legs?

When the charcoal or gas grill is very hot, place the chicken legs in a container. Season them with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them on the grill. Grill until clear sear marks are seen. Make sure that the wings are grilled from all sides. Cook for about 25 minutes. Add hot sauce if desired and cook for another 25 minutes. Now check the temperature. If its 165°F, the chicken is done. If is less than 165°F, cook for some more time.

Now that you know how long you should grill a chicken breast, you can do so to perfection. Grilled chicken is also required in many recipes, and hence you should know how to grill it for the right period of time.

How to Grill a Salmon on a Gas Grill

Salmon is a delicacy for all fish lovers. Rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, it is also a healthy choice for people who have high cholesterol or other heart problems. As per individual preferences, salmon can be smoked, grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or fried. Whichever method you choose for preparing salmon, it tastes delicious. Among the different ways of cooking it, most people prefer grilling salmon, as it takes less time and retains much of its flavor. All you need is a suitable marinade or rub, and grill it for the correct time.

Cooking Salmon on a Gas Grill

For grilling tasty salmon, you should purchase fresh fillets that are firm, light pink in color, and have smooth cuts. Avoid buying fishy smelling fillets or steaks that indicate old cuts. Also, do not forget to ask the fishmonger to retain skin on the fillets, so that they do not stick to the grill or break apart while cooking. If you are not cooking the salmon right away, refrigerate it until required. Mentioned below are some simple steps on cooking salmon on a gas grill with foil.

– The first step is to prepare the grill properly. If you have not used it for a long time, consider cleaning it first with a metal brush, and apply oil to reduce sticking. Then, preheat the gas grill at a high setting.
– As far as wrapping the rack with aluminum foil is concerned, it is optional for grilling salmon. However, if you are using a foil, you do not need to oil the grill. Instead, spray the oil on the aluminum foil before you place the fillets over it.
– In the meantime, you can prepare the salmon fillets by brushing them with your favored dry rub or marinade. For any fish recipe, do not marinate the pieces for a long time, or else, the flesh will lose its firmness and flavor.
– The next step is estimating the correct cooking time according to the thickness of the fillets. A half-inch thick fillet requires about 4 minutes of grilling; that is, 2 minutes per side.
– As soon as the gas grill is ready, adjust it again to low heat setting. With the skin side up, place the marinated fillets over the grill, and close the lid for cooking. Retain the lid until one side of the fillet is cooked properly.
– When the cut side is cooked for the estimated time (4 minutes for 1-inch thick fillets), open the lid, and flip the fillets carefully with a thin spatula. If desired, rub the cooked side with olive oil or butter.
– Cover the lid again, and cook the other side for the predicted time. Once the cooking time is reached, remove the cooked salmon from the gas grill, and allow it to cool down slightly.
– Your grilled salmon recipe will be done when it starts flaking easily. To check, insert a metal skewer in the thickest part of the fillets and pull a little. Well cooked fillets appear opaque with a tender and flaky textured meat. Work with the spatula to separate the skin from the meat.

Remember that while grilling a salmon on a gas grill, do not overcook it. Also remember that frequent turning will tear the flesh. With practice, you will be able to make grilled salmon like a professional. You can try different marinade or rub recipes to alter the flavor of your grilled salmon. Serve it with a spicy sauce and boiled red potatoes for an excellent meal.

How to Grill a Steak

Important Tips to Learn

1. As far as possible, avoid storing steak in the freezer.
2. Buy fresh steak on the day you would want to grill it.
3. If you do store it, ensure you defrost it completely before you start grilling a steak as it should come down to room temperature.
4. Depending on the thickness of the steak, the time required for defrosting will vary.
5. The grill should be preheated before the steak is placed on to cook.

On a Gas Grill

– The thickness of the steak should be 1 to 1½ inches.
– Make a line into the steak at a distance of an inch. This will ensure that the steak is flat when you are grilling it. At the same time, it will also ensure that meat is cooked well.
– Start the grill and let it heat up for 20 to 25 minutes. This is an important trick when you are using a gas grill.
– If you did trim the fat off, use it to rub on the grill bars. Be careful during this step as the grill will be very hot at this point.
– Rub your favorite marinade on the steak and place it on the hottest part of the grill.
– The time for grilling will depend on how much you want the meat to be cooked.
– When you remove steak from grill, keep it aside for about 5 to 7 minutes so that juices work their way through entire steak.

On a Charcoal Grill

– After the steak comes down to room temperature, submerge the steak into your favorite marinade for a few hours.
– Place charcoal in a single layer in the grill. Light the charcoal and let it burn till they turn ash gray in color.
– Using a brush, grease the grill so that the steak does not stick to it.
– Place the steak on the grill and let it cook properly on one side. Then, flip it over.
– Depending on the thickness of the steak, you may have to cook the steak at least 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
– After it is done, let it rest for 5 minutes before you serve it.

If you do not have a gas grill or a charcoal grill, then you may want to try cooking steak in the oven. According to some people, broiling steak is better than grilling it. It is up to you to decide which is the best method according to you. If you are not comfortable of using the time method, then you can also make use of meat thermometer to know whether the steak is grilled to perfection. Remember, practice makes perfect. Therefore, you will have your own trial and error moments before you become perfect at it.

Health Risks Associated with Grilling Food

During my childhood, my grandma would always be ready with her expert advice for me. She spoke of things beyond the understanding of an seven-year old kid but I always remembered them. One day, my mother grilled the chicken wings a little too much. My grandma threw the entire contents of my plate into a garbage bag. I was heartbroken, but she said, I would put my health at a risk if I ate overly grilled food. I pretty much remember her telling me that the black crust could cause cancer. Grilling is a method of cooking that roasts your food without the need of any additional frying agents like animal fats or oil. Direct heat is used to cook the food from both sides on a grill at a temperature ranging between 500 degrees F and 1,000 degrees F. It is mainly used to barbecue meats, fish and poultry or the MPF foods. It is one of the most recommended types of cooking for people who are aiming at weight loss. No added oils to cook makes it a favorite among people who relish low-fat food.

Popular Forms of Grilling
Legend has it, prehistoric man first learned to eat roasted food by eating the flesh of animals killed in a forest fire.

– Broiling is a form of grilling wherein the source of heat is located above the food.
– Char-grilling is essentially grilling that uses coal or charcoal as a medium of heat to cook food.
– Barbecuing is a socializing trend soon catching up among people as a great idea for a friendly get together. Most of us have been to at least one barbecue evening.
– Other forms include grid-ironing, charcoal kettle-grilling, flat top grilling, stove-top pan grilling and grill-braising. However, scientists have now discovered that grilling your food may be putting you at a major health risk.

Health Risks of Grilling Food
According to research, excessive grilling for long durations at a high heating point changes the chemical makeup of food and develops carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. The formation of two compounds, Hetero-cyclic Amines (HAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) , leads to development of stomach and colon cancer on consumption of foods that they bind to. It interferes with the DNA structure of your body and stimulate the production of cancer-causing cells.

Dangers of Grilling Meat
When you grill food, the only barrier between the source of heat and food are the grills. Over-heating causes animal fat to melt, drip off your food and melt on to the medium of heat, which is often coal. At a temperature of 400°F, too much heat leads to the transformation of amino acids present in muscle tissues in the meat into HAs and PAHs that vaporize due to the heat. These are one of the most catastrophic carcinogens. As the smoke rises and settles on to the food, these chemicals attach to your food. The brown-black spots are over-grilled parts of your food that contain the most amount of HAs and PAHs. But, the formation of HAs is observed in protein based food like meat. These mutagens provoke cardiomyopathy, a degenerative heart condition of tissue inflammation and destruction, which is an aging disorder in reality. However, scientists are still investigating to factually confirm this observation in humans.

As a matter of fact, people who have the highest consumption of grilled meats, also have a higher rate of pancreatic disorder, liver, breast and rectal cancer. Even if you are not eating it, but doing the cooking, the chemicals are present in the fumes and easily enter your respiratory system. But I must also add, that it is only harmful when done for days and not just a few hours. Even though beef is a lot richer in fat content as compared to chicken, deep-fried beef contains much lesser HAs and PAHs as compared to grilled chicken.

Grilling it Safe
You do not have to fear grilling because it is still safe to eat grilled food. After all, it is only a variation of roasting, the first cooking method discovered by man. However, there are some safe grilling techniques that you could practice to avoid the health risks associated with grilling.

– Choose lean and healthy meat cuts for your barbecue sessions. Low fat helps ensure reduced dripping of animal fat – on the coal, thereby, minimizing the development of carcinogens.
– Do not grill meat for long periods.
– Reduce portion size of meat.
– Always clean cooking equipment post-grilling immediately to prevent bacteria from breeding on them.
– Do not consume the over-grilled parts of your food even if it is not meat. HAs form on meat products but PAHs can form on all kinds of food during excessive roasting. Even your vegetarian kebabs and skewers contain the risk.
– If you are using a microwave or oven for grilling, make sure you preheat them well, at least 10-15 minutes to reduce cooking time.
– To grill fish, you can wrap it in an aluminum foil and keep it chemical free.
– Supplement your food with antioxidants by marinating meat with lemon or orange juice, vinegar and red wine. Have a fruits and vegetables salad as a side-dish.

Think about all the greenhouse gases and soot particles that grilling produces. It not just affect your health but it mixes up and stays within the atmospheric layer of the environment. The more your barbecue meat stays in contact with flame and smoke, the more will be the carcinogen content on it. You could use a grilling machine that has a filter to block out smoke and prevent it from coming in contact with your food. If it suits you, you could substitute grilling with frying using avocado and safflower oil as they have a high smoke point. Also, it would be great health etiquette to reduce the portion size of those hamburgers. As the saying goes, “What you eat is what you become!”

Ways to Avoid Flare-ups While Grilling

Surprise fact number one- water is bad for containing grill flare-ups! To know why water isn’t too effective on a grill flare-up, you need to know how it all happens. You get an uncontrolled flare-up if any fat comes in direct contact with the flame source. You get grease on the charcoal or the inside of the grill if:

– You accidentally slather too much grease on the meat. Some of it falls down onto the source.
– Grease collects on the lower surface as the grill gets older. It eventually catches fire when you use the grill.

How to Prevent Flare-ups While Grilling?

Putting Out a Flare-up
Now, if you try to put this out with water, it will just sizzle off, mix with the fat and create more smoke, making the whole affair even messier.

– If you try to spray water on it, the grease might start spreading out, getting thinner-layered. This will go out two ways; it will stop the fire at the moment, but you will get another flare-up eventually, or it will only make the fire much bigger with all that hot grease spreading around. You will, therefore, restrict yourself from using a spray bottle on a gas grill!
– The right way to put out a grill fire is to get it under control. The best way to do it is to get your meat out from the place where the grill caught fire and shut the lid on the grill. That way, you’ll cut off the oxygen to the flame and it will stop burning. If you’re using a gas grill, turn off the gas from the cylinder itself. Always make sure that no vent stays open when you close the lid on the flame.

Avoiding a Flare-up
Now that you know how to stop your grill from catching on fire, we will also learn about the ways to prevent a possible flare-up. Knowing how a problem is caused is the best way to know how to deal with it.

– If the fire is caused by fat dripping on to the flames, cut down on the fat. I know, the fat is what makes the meat taste better. I’m just saying lower the fat content outside the meat, cut off all excess fat on the outside the meat. With a little experience, you will successfully be able to get rid of extra fat without making the cooked meat too dry.
– The other culprit is the marinade. Let the entire meat soak in all the marinade it can and drain off the remaining.
– Make sure your grill is clean whenever you want to use it. Clean up all the older grease that’s dried up on the inside of the grill. A clean surface ensures no more flare-ups. This needs to be done regularly because even if you take precautions against the fat reaching the fire, you will still spill some anyway. Cleaning your grill works in two ways; you avoid future fires and your chicken won’t taste like beef! Cleaning off the older fat ensures you don’t get that taste on the current meat you’re cooking.
– Another way to avoid a potential flare-up is to push the coal (before you start the grill up) onto one side of the grill and placing a pan on the other side. Cook your meat over the pan, so any excess fat that melts away from the meat falls into the pan and not the coal. You can also arrange the coal around the pan or on either of two sides of the pan.
– To save your food from being burnt in case the grill catches fire, always keep a small section in a corner of the grill free of coals. So in the event of an unwanted flare-up, just move the meat to where the coal isn’t there and close the lid. This way you protect the meat and stop a fire.
– Never overcrowd the grill with meat. Always keep some free moving space to move the meat around a little. This also allows you to arrange the meat better, keeping the pieces of chicken with more skin on the outer side of the grill.
– If you’re grilling chicken on a broiler rack, don’t line it with aluminum foil. Although it may protect the rack from burns, what happens is the fat that leaks off the chicken collects onto the foil folds. This will cause a flare-up once the foil reaches a hot enough temperature or accidentally drops off into the flames.

And there you have it, a fail-safe checklist of making sure you don’t get a flare-up when you least expect it to happen. Always remember that you’re playing with fire here and it pays to know how to use it right.

How to Grill Lobster Tails

As lobster tails are low in fat and calories, as compared to pork, beef, and chicken, it makes for a wonderful meal any time of the day. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, many health-conscious people include it in their daily diet. Plus, it is known to lower your risk of heart disease as well.

While grilling lobster tails, you need to be careful while choosing the ingredients that will accompany it; most specifically the spices and herbs. The reason is that this seafood is packed with amazing flavor, and by including additional flavors, it will change the outcome.

Grilling the Tails

Dependig on your taste preference and number of people you’re cooking for, add or subtract the amount of ingredients mentioned in the following recipes.

Lemon-Butter Lobster Tails

Ingredients

– Lobster tails, frozen, 4, ½-lb.
– Unsalted butter, 1½ cups
– Lemon zest, ½ teaspoon

Directions

Since we are using the frozen kind, thaw them to room temperature by placing them in a plastic bag and then submerged in a bowl of warm water. Next we will prepare the lemon-butter mixture. In a pan, melt butter over low heat. Once melted, pour even measurements in 2 different bowls and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Remove any foam that may have been produced on top. In one of the bowls, add lemon zest and mix it properly. Turn the gas grill on to medium-high heat and grease 4 skewers. To prepare the tails, cut the top shell straight down the middle, but don’t cut all the way till the bottom. Pull the tails apart, and insert them in each of the skewers. Generously coat the tails with lemon-butter. Now place them flesh side down on the hot grill, and cook for 4―5 minutes until light grill marks show. Flip the tails to grill the shell side for 3―6 minutes until the meat is firm and opaque. Meanwhile, apply the lemon-butter mixture as many as times as you want. And that’s it; the delicious tails are ready to be enjoyed.

Vinaigrette Lobster Tails

Ingredients

– Lobster tails, frozen, 8
– Vinaigrette dressing, 8 tablespoons
– Lemon juice, 3 tablespoons
– Chives, minced, 2 teaspoons
– Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped, 2
– Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
– Lemon zest, 1½ teaspoons
– Tarragon leaves, minced, 1 tablespoon
– Salt and black pepper, for taste

Directions

Unlike the above mentioned recipe, here we will cut the tails all the way through in order to make 2 separate pieces. Follow the same technique to defrost the tails as we did in the above recipe.

To make the vinaigrette, take a bowl and combine tomatoes, vinaigrette dressing, lemon zest, tarragon, lemon juice, chives, salt, and black pepper properly. Keep the vinaigrette aside for some time. Preheat the gas grill and remove the tails from water. Brush them with extra-virgin olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper. Once the grill is hot and ready, place them flesh side down, and cook for 4―5 minutes until light grill marks show. Flip the tails and grill the shell side for at least 6 minutes. Keep basting the meat with vinaigrette. Once ready, remove them off the grill and serve immediately.

Spicy Lobster Tails

Ingredients

– Fresh rock lobster tails, 4
– Lemon juice, 2 teaspoons
– Orange peel, grated, 1 teaspoon
– Butter, melted, ¼ cup
– Ground ginger, 1 pinch
– Chili powder, 1 pinch

Directions

Preheat the gas grill. Cut the undershell membrane, insert skewers between the shells, and straighten the meat. In a bowl, mix melted butter, lemon juice, orange peel, chili powder, and ground ginger together. Brush this mixture over the tails and place the shell side on the grill first. Cook for 5 minutes and flip them over to cook the meat side for about 5 minutes; keeping basting the tails with the mixture. Once the tails are cooked, serve them immediately.

How to Grill Vegetables in Aluminum Foil

Grilled vegetables make perfect light summer meals and can be used as pizza toppings, added to lasagna for the smoky flavor, tossed into salads or even served with some rice during a lovely vegetarian meal. They also complement the steak dishes well, by adding the health element to the meal.

The increasing number of people diagnosed with high cholesterol and blood pressure problems, is causing people to turn to grilled food. Grilled food is much healthier than fried food and also satiates the palate. Grilled vegetables are not only healthy and delicious, but are also very easy to prepare and are great options for vegetarians.

However, grilling can be messy and cleaning up can be quite cumbersome. The sticky, charred remains can be the outcome of multiple grilling attempts. One way to reduce the amount of cleaning up, mess and charred vegetables is by making use of aluminum foil while grilling vegetables. Aluminum foil is something that is easily available at any local grocery store. Grilling in aluminum foil reduces the mess caused during grilling and also prevents vegetables from getting burned.

How to Grill Vegetables in an Aluminum Foil?
The things you need for grilling vegetables using aluminum foil are aluminum foil (heavy-duty preferred, however regular is also fine), vegetables of your choice (mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers and so on), knife, seasoning, non-stick spray or olive oil and grill or oven.
Instructions
Choosing the Vegetables
Vegetables that are high in water content must be chosen for grilling, such as eggplant, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and celery. All these vegetables take approximately the same time to cook, thereby making grilling all these vegetables together easy.
However, vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli should be avoided. Leafy vegetables are also a no-no to grilling, unless there are specific dishes which call for their blackening. While grilling assorted vegetables, make sure you choose vegetables that take similar amounts of time to cook.
Foil Preparation
Take a large sheet of foil and line it loosely on a pan or skillet. While lining, keep in mind that there should be ample amounts of foil left for wrapping over the top. In order to prevent the vegetables from sticking, drizzle some non-stick spray or olive oil onto the aluminum sheet.
Washing and Chopping
It is very important to thoroughly wash the vegetables before consumption. You could sprinkle a mixture of lemon juice and water on the vegetables and let them sit for some time. Rinse and wipe dry with a towel. While slicing the vegetables, make sure they are equal in size (one inch pieces), as this will help them cook evenly, at the same time.
Seasoning the Vegetables
After chopping, place the chopped vegetables in a bowl and sprinkle some olive oil or non-stick spray, seasoning of your choice and some salad dressing if you wish. Since vegetables lack fat, they require some kind of oil or non-stick spray to keep them moist and prevent them from sticking. Mix well and place them into the tray. Ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, oils and sugar can impart Asian flair to the grilled vegetables.
Marinating the Vegetables
If you really want to bring out the flavor of the vegetables and enjoy a delectable meal, try marinating the veggies. There are several marinade recipes that you can use for your vegetables. One simple one is the lemon and garlic marinade.
For this you need to add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of lemon zest, one tablespoon of finely chopped fresh garlic and some salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables in this marinade and refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours. After the marination is done, your vegetables are ready to be grilled.
Sealing the Vegetables
Once the chopped vegetables are seasoned and placed on the foiled tray, fold the extending parts of the aluminum sheets, crimping as you go, thereby making a kind of pocket. Sealing the vegetables in this manner will prevent the vegetables from falling out (or liquid from oozing out) of the tray during cooking. Moreover, the steam inside will assist in the even cooking of the vegetables.
Grilling
Before you place the foil pocket with vegetables onto the grill, make sure the grill has been heated at a medium-high temperature and is nice and hot. Allow the vegetables to cook for 8-10 minutes, and then flip using tongs and grill the other side for the same amount of time. Flip once again and grill for another 5 minutes. The time required for grilling will depend on the number of vegetables grilled.
Serving
Once the grilling is done, allow it to stay for 5 minutes. Then you can cut open the foil seal and add seasoning or butter to the vegetables as per your taste and liking. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a plate or dish and garnish it. Serve steaming hot.
Boiled vegetables lose most of their nutrients in the cooking water and fried vegetables are fatty. Grilled vegetables on the other hand are much more healthier as compared to boiling and frying. Grilling vegetables also brings out the intense smoky flavor from them, which we often think vegetables lack. This is why grilling is now emerging as an all-year-round cooking style, rather than the earlier summer pass time.