Tips

5 Grilling Mistakes You are Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

5 Grilling Mistakes You are Probably Making and How to Avoid Them

Every once in a while even grill masters experience a grilling flop. Maybe the meat was not that tender or say…your grill caught on fire. Whatever the case, The Gourmet Meat & Sausage Shop has some ways to avoid a grilling mishap or disaster (depending on how you look at it.) 

Here are 5 grilling mistakes you might be making:

1. Chill out. Well, by chill out we mean to allow your meats to chill a bit after taking them out of the fridge. This is one of the most common mistakes most backyard weekend warriors make. Whether you are throwing another shrimp, file, baby back rib, or a t-bone steak, you will want to allow the muscle in your meats to relax a bit before placing on your grill. Simply remove the meat from the fridge anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes before throwing on the grill. If this is a mistake you have been making, then you will immediately notice that the texture is much more tender. 

2. Grilling methods matter—do you really know your grills?

Most of us know the obvious differences between a smoker, a gas or charcoal grill. Heck, many of you might own all three! If this is the case, skip to the next tip. If not, read on. Your gas grill may not be the best option for meats that you would prefer to have crispier skin. Gas grills allow for better temperature control but that also means more steam. Charcoal is not for the novice user and those flare-ups could destroy your burgers in seconds…we’ve all seen the memes and videos! And smokers? Well, if you like lots of smokier tones and flavor and if you’ve got the time—go for it! 

3. Soaking wooden skewers. 

Beautiful, perfectly chunked slices of meat—check. Cherry tomatoes and bell pepper chunks?—check. Skewers to make the perfect kebabs? You get the idea…But for the love of all that is holy on that grill, be sure to soak wooden skewers FIRST before threading your meats and veggies onto the stick. Simply fill up that sink and allow them to soak at least 30 minutes. Boom! No more incinerated skewers that fell apart before you even began to cook your creation. 

4. No poking around. 

The smaller cuts or thinner cuts of meats you have, the more likely they are to cook quickly and dry out. This also applies to when meats have been poked and prodded or when too many holes allow those meats to dry out. Ditch the fork and use spatulas and tongs to flip your meat while grilling. 

5. Reading internal temps through the eye 

Rather than eyeballing that cut of meat and declaring it perfectly cooked, you will want to invest in an instant-read thermometer. These gadgets are worth their weight in gold or meat. That pork butt might look cooked by its smell but without an internal and instant temp check, it could be over and undercooked. Don’t chance it! 

DO try these tips at home this weekend and let us know how it went! 

Top 3 Tips to Get Your Grill Cleaned and Ready for Summer

Top 3 Tips to Get Your Grill Cleaned and Ready for Summer

As temperatures continue to warm up in Colorado, grill masters or wannabe grill masters will want to get their grills revved up and ready for summer. 

Whether your grill is charcoal, gas, electric, a smoker, or all of the above, these tips will help your grill perform all summer. 

Getting your grate to look great:

The first place you will want to start is grate. The obvious go-to tool would be to use a wire-cleaning brush. However, recent warnings recommend that using a wire brush comes with the increased risk of those bristles coming loose and ending up on the grate and into your meats and veggies. Instead, pitmasters and grilling experts advise using a stones scraper or a nylon brush. 

Here is a guide from Consumer Reports on the best and worst grill cleaning tools. Turn up the heat on your grill and allow those old chicken scraps and meat drippings to burn off. Once you’ve cooked off the crap from your grill, allow the temp to drop and get to work removing the grill excrement. Don’t be afraid to put some muscle into it. 

Oil is your friend:

Now that your grate looks great, it’s time to prevent any future rusting. Using a soft cloth (an old kitchen towel that was not knitted by grandma is best) apply a light amount of oil and rub your grill grates. Remember, this is just a light coating, not a hot oil party. 

Getting the gas grill gassed up:

Gas grills are a bigger pain to clean than a charcoal grill because it has more moving or burning parts. To avoid blowing your face off, always turn off the gas first and detach from your grill. 

Give those burner tubes and gas ports a good wipe and don’t forget the inside of your grill lid. Remove those giant chunks or the ghosts of your last grill-out gathering. 

Last and most obvious tip that you may or may not want to hear but already know. Cleaning your grill grate immediately after use is the best way to avoid an afternoon of scraping off all the gunk.

How to Properly and Safely Store Meats in Your Refrigerator

How to Properly and Safely Store Meats in Your Refrigerator

As the coronavirus continues to keep all of us at home in Colorado there is no time like the present to organize those meats you are stocking up on at home. In this week’s Gourmet Meat & Sausage Shop blog we breakdown the best ways to make your purchase or essentials last longer. 

Storing Fresh Meats in the Fridge 

Organizing your refrigerator is not only a good idea but ensures that your meat juice is not contaminating your fresh fruits and vegetables. 

If these meats are going to be consumed in the next two days store them in your refrigerator. If not, label them and place them in a freezer bag with the date on it. Cooked and raw meats can be safely stored in your freezer don’t be shy about cooking up that chicken or beef and freezing for a rainy day. 

If you plan on planning out those meals ALWAYS store your meats on the lowest levels of your fridge or towards the bottom of the fridge. And if your meats are in that plastic packaging and not sealed you should move it into a plastic container so that those meat juices don’t drip or leak onto your shelves or drawers. Raw meat bacteria could not only make you sick but mess up your other refrigerated items. 

Because we are a Colorado butcher shop, we tend to pound those chicken breasts or slice your meats for you but if we didn’t trim those meats take the time to do it before placing it in the freezer. 

Storing and Organizing Meats in the Freezer 

As aforementioned, if you are going to freeze your meat make sure it’s in a sealable container and labeled with a date. For quick and easy dinners, individually wrap your steaks, chicken breasts or any cut of meat in butcher paper and then place in a large freezer bag especially if you bought in bulk. 

Place older packages of meats towards the front of the freezer and move newer ones to the back. For added inventory control use wire baskets or bins in your freezer organized by the type of meat in each bin. 

When Good Meats Have Gone Bad and When to Toss Them 

Sometimes meats will spoil and it’s important to know when that happens and it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Meats should NEVER have a slimy surface and if that beef has a sulfur odor it’s gone bad. In fact, any meats that have an offensive odor should be tossed. 

Your ideal freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit and your refrigerator should be at 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

7 Tips to Grilling in Cold Weather Temps

7 Tips to Grilling in Cold Weather Temps

It’s been a cold winter this season in Colorado but that doesn’t mean you have to skip out on grilling outside. These seven simple tips will still produce the juiciest meats even if you have to wear a parka while doing it! 

Tip 1:

Cooking in an enclosed area or under a porch or overhang is never advisable but you can still move your grill closer to your home. If possible, reposition your grill where it is out of the cold gusts of winter. 

Tip 2:

If you have a propane grill, be sure to have an extra tank on hand. Colder temps mess with the amount of fuel needed to properly cook your meats when compared to those spring and summer temperatures. 

Tip 3:

Avoid using a plate or anything that is not covered when transporting your meats from the grill to the kitchen. Your best bet is using ceramic cookware that has a lid. 

Tip 4: 

Have your grill fired up and at optimal temps before bringing out your meat in that covered ceramic cookware. On average, you will need at least five extra minutes or even more to get the right temperature. 

Tip 5: 

If your grill takes longer to heat up your meats will have the same problem. Count on adding 20 minutes additional cooking time per pound if temps drop below 45 degrees F.  This especially applies to meats such as chicken. 

Tip 6:

Don’t waste any time getting your meats transported to the grill. Close that lid as fast as you can to keep the heat trapped and from temperatures quickly dropping. 

Tip 7: 

The thicker the cut of meat, the longer you will have to cook it. If you don’t want to use extra propane or worry that a roast, chicken or turkey won’t be ready in time, go with leaner or thinner cuts of meat such as pork chops

Make sure you bundle up while you’re out there and invest in a meat thermometer to get the optimal temperature for your cooked meats since you are working against frigid weather! 

How to Perfectly Cook Steak Indoors

How to Perfectly Cook Steak Indoors

It’s winter in Colorado and for grill lovers or grilled steak lovers standing in the snow is not the ideal experience especially if you are craving the juiciness of a prime rib or new york strip. 

But don’t let that hold you back from enjoying steak for dinner any winter night. Believe it or not, the best steaks are made perfectly seared in a pan. In fact, cooking steak on the stove allows the steak to cook evenly while creating a delectable crust and sealing those juices. If you’ve got a pan…we’ve got your plan. 

Here is how to cook steak indoors:

Pan-Seared Steak 

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs of your favorite cut of steak 

5 tbsp of vegetable or peanut oil (NOT olive oil..!)

4 tbsp butter (the real stuff…margarine will not cut it)

Prep:

Salt and pepper your meat and allow the meat to sit for at least an hour. Ideally, your steak should be at room temperature. Break out that pan and drop that vegetable or peanut oil in the bottom making sure to evenly coat it. Heat the stove on high and drop the meat. You don’t need too much time searing up that meat…maybe 5 minutes on each side making sure to flip it every 30 seconds. 

You will know you are doing it right if there is a nice golden crust on the outside of the steak. Remember that butter? Tilt that pan and spoon it over the steak. 

Remove steak from heat and allow to sit for at least five minutes and voila!….serve with a loaded baked potato, salad or asparagus. 

Tailgaiting Etiquette Tips Dos and Dont’s

Tailgaiting Etiquette Tips Dos and Dont’s

We are in the midst of football tailgating season and while chowing down on your favorite meats and sausages is strongly encouraged there are some tailgating rules you should be aware of. 

We’ve broken down a list of tailgating dos and don’ts. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 

Bring a camp chair and skip squatting on the lid of a cooler regardless of whether it can hold your weight. This is particularly annoying for anyone that is trying to crack a cold one. Plus, it puts the person just trying to enjoy a beer in a position to apologize for asking you to move your butt out of the way. 

Don’t show up empty-handed. Tailgaiting is a communal experience and showing up with two single beers for yourself or nothing at all is considered a slight. Especially if a decent bottle of booze is passed around. 

If you are grabbing a beer from that cooler be polite and ask if anyone else would want one as well. You know, sandbox rules. 

Bring some decent meats to grill and share and be careful not to bash someone else’s ribs or wings. This is not the time for a grill-off unless that was pre-planned. 

If you have food allergies don’t make a big deal out of it. Just pack up your pre-portioned meal or snacks and casually mention that you have an allergy to XYZ if offered any other foods. If you DON’T have an allergy and someone wants you to sample all the glory of their grilling skills accept a taste gracefully even if you don’t’ like peppers. 

Clean up after yourself and especially if you didn’t put in the hard work of grilling up those meats. That goes a long way to being invited back for more tailgating shenanigans. 

Be nice. Let’s say you were there cheering on the opposing team and they happen to be the visiting team…singing a rendition of Queen’s We Are the Champions is a big NO-NO. Be humble to your hosts. 

Stay with your crew. It’s cool to hop to different tailgates where you know other people but be sure and return to the crew that invited you. 

Safety first. It shouldn’t have to be said but practice safety. After all, you are dealing with Sterno cans and hot coals all mixed in with beer and other spirits. Here is a handy guide on tailgating safety tips

Last but not least….don’t forget the bottle opener! 

What is Spatchcocking and Why You Should Do it to Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

What is Spatchcocking and Why You Should Do it to Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

What the heck is spatchcock and what does it have to do with Thanksgiving? Turns out, quite a bit and you will want to do it this upcoming holiday season. Spatchcock or spatchcocking is a term that your local butcher or meat shop has known for some time.  Simply put, it’s a meat cutting technique used for splitting open a whole chicken, duck or turkey for grilling. 

One of the many benefits of spatchcocking your chosen fowl is less cooking time, crispy outer skin and a juicier bird. Not only that, it has that wow effect when presented at your Thanksgiving table. 

Here is a step-by-step on how to spatchcock your turkey: 

Step 1:  Before you even get started, be sure to spend the money on a decent pair of poultry shears. If you do decide to do it yourself you will want a solid cutting board. Place your bird breast side down. Begin by cutting both sides along the backbone. (Discard or better yet, keep the backbone for gravy-making purposes.) 

Step 2:  Flip the bird over and pull or fold it apart. If you have done it right, you will be able to snap the bone by pushing on it with your hands. 

Step 3:  Pull the thighs of the bird apart which will allow it to flatten out even more. Using those poultry shears, cut off the wingtips.

Step 4:  Put your recently-spatchcocked turkey into a baking tray. If you plan on prepping the night before, cover and refrigerate. However, if you are doing it the day of cooking it will need to sit at least 30 minutes before you cook it. Brush it with olive oil or butter and your favorite herbs. 

Step 5:  A typical turkey can take up to 90 minutes to cook but a good rule of thumb is to cook until the skin gets brown and crispy (which is the best part.) 

If this seems a bit too much work you can always reach out to your local meat and butcher shop to do it for you. Good luck and you can thank us later for this crowd-pleasing turkey!