(ARA) - From the way the charcoal briquettes are arranged to finding that perfect set of tongs, every home grilling expert has his or her secrets. For many, grilling goes beyond just a practical warm-weather cooking method and it becomes more of an art form.
But to become a true grilling great, it's important to compare your tips with other experts. Because she wants everyone to have the perfect grilling experience this summer, Elizabeth Karmel, author of "Taming the Flame" and executive chef at New York's Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Chicken, is sharing some of her grilling secrets.
In partnership with Weber Sauces & Seasonings, Karmel shares 10 of her secrets for grilling success:
1. Oil the food, not the grates. If you wipe oil on your grates, you are essentially gluing your food to them. The oil burns quickly on the hot cooking grates and becomes sticky, "gluing" uncoated food to the grates. When you oil the food, it keeps the juices inside the food, promotes caramelization and prevents sticking.
2. "Stop-and-go" tongs. Prevent cross contamination (raw meat with cooked meat) by using red duct tape on raw food tongs and green duct tape on the cooked food tongs.
3. Swollen Belly Syndrome. Avoid a burger that looks like a hockey puck with a swollen belly by making a small depression in the middle of the uncooked burger before you grill. This indentation will prevent the burgers from swelling up and rounding out while cooking.
4. The juicy details. Using juice as a marinade can add a blast of fresh and juicy flavor. Weber Just Add Juice is the first and only marinade mix formulated to blend spices with a variety of juices.
5. Steakhouse look. Crosshatch marks on steak are easier to achieve than they look. Just before turning the steak, rotate it a quarter turn to the right and grill for about two minutes. Rotate another quarter turn for two more minutes.
6. Patience prevents stickage. Raw meat naturally sticks to the grate when you first put it on. Be patient and walk away for a few minutes. It naturally releases itself.
7. Plastic bag trick. Combine juice with your favorite Weber Just Add Juice marinade mix and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Add food, close the bag and massage it through the bag. It locks the flavor in and makes it much easier to store in your refrigerator.
8. Tongs as a juicer. If you want to get all the juice out of citrus quickly and easily, try this: Cut a piece of citrus in half and place it on the back half of chef's tongs. Hold on to both the front and back of the tongs, and squeeze into a bowl. The leverage and strength of the steel turns tongs into a great juicer.
9. Visual clues for checking doneness. It's not always possible to use a meat thermometer. Look for visual clues to check doneness. For example: Ribs are done when the meat has shrunk back from the bones and the bones are dry. If the chicken juice is clear, then you know it's done. Salmon is done when the translucent strips in the fish turn opaque. Shrimp is done when it turns pink and curls up.
10. Finish it steakhouse style. Bring your food up a notch by using a finishing element such as extra virgin olive oil, a compound butter, the new Weber all-natural BBQ Sauce made with real molasses, fresh herbs or flavored vinaigrette.
Karmel and the Weber Sauces and Seasonings brand hope that by revealing their grilling secrets, Americans will be inspired to share their flavor findings in a new nationwide "Grilling Secrets" Facebook contest. To share your secrets and learn from others, visit www.facebook.com/WeberSeasonings.