10 Tips for Stress Free “Quick and Kosher” Grilling
As summer hits its midway point we offer these ten tips from Jaimie Geller, author of “Quick and Kosher” to help you get your kosher grill on.
Traditionally, the summer grilling season kicks off on or about Memorial Day weekend – a time when dads from coast to coast break out their shorts and Hawaiian shirts and fire up the grill for an all-American cook-out. Not that many moms can’t wield as mean a barbecue tong as many dads. Regardless of who’s on grill duty, there’s nothing quite like the taste and smell of hot dogs or hamburgers or chicken or fish or even vegetables on the BBQ.
#1 – Watching salt consumption is always a good idea. Be mindful about salt with kosher meat, especially kosher chicken because salt is used in the koshering process. You can be freer with salt when dealing with kosher beef since the salting of kosher grill items is done on larger cuts and the salted portions are cut away.
#2 – Lubricate both the grill and the food with a good quality, high smoke point vegetable oil like corn, peanut, or safflower.
#3 – Marinate for extra flavor: vegetables & tofu need 30-40 minutes; fish 1 hour max; chicken no more than 4 hours; and denser foods & cuts like London broil require 4 hours to overnight. (Tender kosher cuts like rib steaks should not be marinated, but more toothsome kosher choices like shoulder steak London broil will benefit from a tenderizing soak in an acid based marinade.)
#4 – Resist the urge to peek, opening the grill lid cools down your cooking surface.
#5 – Use direct heat for searing meat and creating grill marks and indirect heat to finish cooking thicker cuts or whole birds. To create indirect heat, turn off one set of burners or pile coals to one side and cook on the side opposite. Wooden skewers are excellent for holding smaller foods like veggies; soak skewers in water for 30 minutes before use and wrap the exposed edges in aluminum foil for a nice clean presentation.
#6 – To avoid charring, add glazes or sugary sauces only during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
#7 – Test for doneness by using the 5-finger method. Place your thumb and index finger together like you’re making an okay sign. Now touch your hand just below your thumb. It will yield easily to the touch–that’s what rare meat feels like. Now try it with your pinky–that’s well done.
#8 – Never use a fork to remove food. Piercing food will cause the juices to run and the food to dry out. Use a spatula, fish turner or set of tongs instead. And always use a fresh plate for cooked food. Never, ever return cooked food to a plate that held raw meat or poultry.
#9 – Anything that can be cooked in an oven can be cooked in a (covered) grill. The trick is indirect heat. Kosher brisket cooked low and slow in a covered grill is a kosher barbecue classic. Other things to try cooking in your backyard: bread, pizza, even desserts like grilled, caramelized fruit.
#10 – Clean your grill while it’s still warm using a grill brush and oil the grill grates afterward.