Grillicious! Basic Food Grilling Tips for Extraordinary Meats!

Did you know that some very basic food grilling tips can make your meal mouthwatering?  Too many cruisers tell us they don’t use their grills because the meat always turns out like shoe leather…   But David, being the grilling guru aboard Winterlude, tells me that using some really basic grilling techniques will greatly enhance chances for juicy, mouthwatering success.

  1. Start with room temperature meat for the juiciest results.
  2. Never leave meat unattended.  Turn it at least every 5 minutes – time it, use your watch.   The most common problem with grilling is not paying enough attention to the time.   Depending on thickness, most chicken and pork chops tend to take about 10-15 minutes – 2-3 turns to be done.  Hamburgers take about the same, a bit less for thinner burgers or for less done.  Steak, depending on the thickness takes 10 minutes.  Pork loin or roasts take longer, up to 40-45 minutes, but still turn every 5 minutes.   And use a meat thermometer – for a pork loin or pork roast, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees.
  3. Within the first minute, pick the meat up off the hot grill to prevent sticking.
  4. Don’t EVER cut or puncture the meat … even with a fork – use tongs.  Inside juices are always on the lookout for a way to escape, leaving your dinner dry and tasteless – the dreaded shoe leather effect.
  5. After cooking, let the meat stand for 5 minutes.  This is tough and I often have to be the enforcer on this one, David wants to eat as soon as it comes off the grill.  By waiting 5 minutes, you let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.  Don’t cut into it right away or you’ll lose the juices you worked so hard to save while grilling!
  6. When removing food from the grill, use a clean plate.  Never put cooked food on the same plate that contained raw food.   Any harmful bacteria in the raw juices could contaminate safely cooked food.   For the same reason, do not re-use marinade for a dip or basting sauce.  Instead reserve a portion in advance.

Sometimes, very basic tips can be the difference between a delicious mouth watering meal (with the grilling aromas drifting all across the marina, making everyone else’s mouth water too) and a meal you only force down because it’s there (the shoe leather variety).  Make it easy and delicious!

Do you have basic grilling tips that we’ve left out?  Please leave a comment and let us know!   Cheers!  Jan & David


  1. Len Rorke says:

    As a South African (we are very much into open fire cooking), I can say that steak needs to be “hung” for 2-3weeks and it also needs a hot fire. Personally I would not recommend grilling it for as long as 10 minutes unless you want to “cremate” it lol.

    • Not sure on the “hung” thing … I’m assuming that’s like “aged” in the US? Grilling depends on how thick it is … you’re right, though, when we eat steaks, which isn’t often, it’s often much less than 10 minutes – it’s a “getting the feel of it” thing. But if we’re grilling 1 1/2 inch filets, it’s much longer than half inch ribeyes.

  2. Jan,
    I have to agree with Len…as Gypsy Wind’s “grillmaster,” I also use a HOT grill, and a 1.5 inch steak (beef) is on the heat for only as long as it takes to “feel” like the back part of my hand between my thumb and first knuckle, when “poked.” I leave each side on for only 2 minutes, to sear and crust the outside (lots of flame), then the second “turn” on each side takes as long as necessary to obtain the proper “poke.” Sometimes this second go ’round takes a cooler part of the grill, or if you use gas, turn down the heat a little, to get less flame. The whole cooking process, if the grill is the right temperature, should take approx 8 minutes (assuming you will let the meat rest afterwards). If you turn the steak at an angle each time, the grilling stripes come out cross hatched, which is a nice touch. How my daughter grew up to be a staunch vegan is still a mystery!

  3. Leon A. Falde says:

    David knows his stuff. You’re lucky and blessed to have him.

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