Most everyone likes to cook outdoors on a grill, especially when it’s just too hot to cook in the kitchen. However, meat (especially a large piece) cooked in the hot dry environment of a grill dry out if precautions are not taken. There is nothing I hate more than dried out meat! Using any of these ideas can offer a solution to this problem.
First, purchase the right meat. Beef should be firm to the touch, not soft. Fish should be glossy intact steaks or fillets. Second, be sure to get the grill hot before adding anything. Lock in flavor by keeping the grill closed. Thirdly, use the proper cooking time for the selected meat and remember to let the meat rest after removing from the grill. This gives it time to finish cooking and reabsorb some of its juices.
Certain types of meat are meant to be cooked and removed from the heat before it has a chance to dry out. Things like sausage, pork chops and chicken breast for example, are usually quick cooked over direct heat. To lock in the moisture, rub with oil and seasonings. Also, go easy with the spatula. The more pressure you use, the more the natural juice lost. I also find that spraying the chicken or pork with an olive oil cooking spray while grilling helps to seal in the juices.
Pick the Right Marinade
For indirect cooking, a good marinade is the best choice for locking in moisture as well as flavor. The best cuts of beef need only soak for 20 minutes to an hour. For less choice cuts of meat, increase the soak time to tenderize. Always marinate in the refrigerator—never at room temperature, but DO let the meat sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before putting it on the grill. Chicken needs to marinate for at least 20 minutes but not more than an hour if the marinade is vinegar based. Grill each side for only 6 or 7 minutes.
For meats that are to be cooked for a long period of time with the lid down, a simple pan of water set inside the grill away from the meat will help replace some of the juice lost during cooking. Flavored chips (Mesquite for example) added to the water to will enhance the taste. An open can of beer set over the hottest part of the fire will boil and saturate the air with vapor and flavor. Many cooks use a spritz bottle filled with a liquid to spray the meat several times throughout the cooking process. Sauces should be added during the last 20 or 30 minutes of grilling.
Whatever method chosen to moisturize, guest will appreciate your effort to serve a flavorful, succulent meats for their dining pleasure!