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Paradise Grills Fort Myers Grilling 101

With winter in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere, many people across the United States are taking a mini-break from using their outdoor grills (except for a few diehards and those of us lucky enough to live in warmer climates). Since there is a general hiatus of the use of outdoor kitchens from Seattle all the way to Ft. Myers outdoor kitchens, we’d like to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to “get back to basics”. Paradise Grills prides itself on providing the BEST information on how to get the most of our outdoor grills and outdoor kitchens in Ft. Myers as well as, our other locations across the southern United States.

One of the most basic things to understand about grilling is that recipes will only go as far as your technique. Understanding the basic techniques of how to grill all types of food and how to best utilize your grill will open up a world of possibilities for you. So whether it’s your first time firing up the grill or your thousandth, we’ll walk you through the fundamentals of grilling the right way every time.

Prep Your Food. Prep Your Grill.

Before you fire up your grill, you need to make sure your prep your grill and your food. The “prep” work of grilling is probably the most underrated, yet most vital part of the entire process. For example, cooking on a dirty grill with time-sensitive food that should have been prepared beforehand will only lead to disaster. So start with a clean slate and prepare your food before your ready to grill. Obviously different types of entrees, side dishes, and all the other types of food that can be grilled require different preparation steps, which is an article for another day. However, one thing that can be said for virtually every victual you throw on the grill- take time to read the entire recipe (from top to bottom) and set aside the appropriate amount of time to properly prepare the dish before you start grilling.

For your Ft. Myers grill, you’ll basically take the same steps to prepare it for grilling every time. Grill prep generally looks something like this:

A barbecue grill outdoors with juicy steaks cooking over an open flame, set against a blurry background of trees and a serene lake.
  • Clean your grill. It doesn’t need to sparkle every time, but make sure that you would want to eat food cooked off of your grill. No one wants a “mystery chunk” attached to their steak. This includes cleaning of the grates and emptying out the grease trap or old ash from the last time you grilled.
  • Spray the grates. Before turning on your grill spray the grates with non-stick spray. This will make clean up much faster when your finished and the next time your fire up your Ft. Myers outdoor grill.
  • Be prepared. Have either extra charcoal or propane on hand so you don’t have to worry about running out of your beloved heat source in the middle of grilling.

Creating Your Heat Zones

What type of grill are you cooking on? A gas grill or charcoal? Personal preference is an important part of choosing a grill, so if you’re still undecided, take a look at this guide for help during the buying process.

So now that you have your grill prepped and turned on you need to create at least two different heat zones; one high, direct heat, and one low, indirect heat zone. This is easier achieved on a gas grill but can be done on a charcoal grill once you get the hang of where your grill’s natural hotspots are located.

The reason for these two different heating zones is two-fold:

  • High direct heating zones are used for searing and food that requires a short amount of time to cook at high temperatures.
  • Low direct heating zones can be used to slowly heat food and keep thicker cuts of meat moist after they have been seared on the direct heating zones.

Since charcoal grills are a little more volatile than gas grills to gauge the heat they’re emitting, this handy “palm test” from Fox News, can help you determine what type of heat you’re working with. Carefully hold your palm about four to six inches from the grill grate (DO NOT TOUCH THE GRILL GRATE). If you can keep your palm there for:

  • 5+ seconds, the heat is low
  • 4 seconds, the heat is medium
  • 3 seconds, the heat is medium-hot
  • 1-2 seconds, the heat is hot and ready

Let’s Get Grilling!

You’ve prepped your food, you’ve prepped your grill, you’ve created two different heat zones (direct and indirect), now it’s time to grill on your Ft. Myers outdoor kitchen! Here are some basic grill tips that will allow you to create a level playing field when you decide to host a party for family or friends or just want to do some solo grilling.

Hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on a grill, with slices of cheese melting on some of the burgers.
  • Have the right tools on hand for the job. If you’ve taken the time and money to invest in your Ft. Myers outdoor grill, you shouldn’t stop there. Having the correct tools when you’re grilling will make life a whole lot easier for you than not.
  • Keep chicken and fish refrigerated before tossing them on the heat. Steak and chops should be brought to room temperature before cooking.
  • When you’re cooking on direct heat (high or medium) keep the lid open. The lid should be kept closed for times when you’re grilling slowly on low.
  • Don’t poke and prod or squish the meat your grilling. This can cause food to become dry and cook unevenly. In addition, avoid flipping or moving the meat around too much, unless needed. This is usually only relevant in the case of hotdogs and brats.
  • Never leave your grill unattended. If you do need to leave your grill site, make sure that a competent adult can take over the reins.
  • Allow foods such as chicken, steak, and pork chops to rest for 10 minutes before serving them to your guests.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start planning your attack. If you do take the winter off from your Ft. Myers grill, this is the best time to play around with seasonings and research new recipes to try for when spring and summer arrive. Similarly, if you’re in the market to upgrade your current grill, come check out our outdoor kitchens in Ft. Myers. We have everything from your basic professional stainless steel grills to extravagant outdoor kitchen systems, complete with Tiki Huts! Our grilling professionals can help select the right system for your needs. We want to help get you on the road to you grill your way!

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