Five Quick Tricks to Get the Grill Season Started Right
Among the finest aspects of fair-weather must be the rewards for all five senses that come with grilling supper, lunch or even breakfast. Here are some tricks and tips to get things off to a great beginning.
- Grills are easiest to clean when they’re hot, so plan to clean between pre-heating and putting the food on, or right after you’re done cooking. If you don’t have a grill brush, a crumpled ball of heavy-duty tinfoil will do the trick.
- Infuse a little extra flavor by oiling your grill grates with an onion. Cut an onion in half and stick it firmly to the end of a meat carving fork. Dip the onion in oil and run it over warmed grill grates. It works best just before you cook.
- Add a marinade or dry rub. Cooking meat at high grilling temperatures creates heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are known to be cancer causing. Adding a half-cup of a thin vinegar-based marinade to each pound of meat can reduce the creation of HCAs by more than 50%. Avoid marinades with high sugar content (such as many barbecue sauces) because they can actually increase HCA production.
- Don’t forget to use your meat thermometer; it’s the only accurate way to ensure foods have been cooked properly. Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) should cook to 145 degrees; ground meats to 160 degrees and poultry to 165 – all in Fahrenheit, naturally.
- Give it a rest: whole cuts of meat (roasts, loins, chops, breasts) should be allowed to rest for at least 3-5 minutes for the juices to settle. If you skip this step you could end up with dry meat.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small pork tenderloins (about 1.5 pounds total)
Note: I typically buy one large (1.5 lb) pork loin and cut it in half.
- Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, cumin, mustard powder, onion and garlic powder in a bowl.
- Rub the pork with oil and then coat with the spice rub.
- Wrap the tenderloins tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours. Remove the pork from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling.
- Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Cook the pork, turning occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145 degrees F. (About 20 minutes).
- Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy!
Lauren Cornay, RD, LN, is a registered dietitian at Avera Heart Hospital. Get more insight on nutrition and health.