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Cooking Methods Part 1 : Dry Heat

Grilling

Two steaks on a grill

Steaks ready to grill

Perfect for smaller cuts like chops, breast fillets and sausages, grilling applies a direct, high heat to one side of the food as it sits on a rack either directly above or below the source.

Because the applied heat isn’t uniform (as it is with roasting), the meat must be turned periodically to produce a consistent result.

Excess fat is cooked out during the process and drips through the rack away from the meat, making grilling one of the healthiest methods of cooking.

Broiling

What we in Britain call “grilling” (placing food beneath the heat), Americans know as “broiling”, reserving the term “grilling” for food cooked over the heat source.

If a recipe calls for a piece to be broiled, in most cases you’re fine using the grill unit in your oven – just don’t forget to leave the door open to let excess heat escape, otherwise you’ll end up baking the food instead!

Barbecuing

A national pastime throughout summer, barbecuing is a method of slowly cooking food on a rack over an indirect heat.

This indirect heat is what separates barbecuing from grilling (the American definition). The heat comes either from the opposite side of the grill or from the embers after the flames have subsided.

Cooking while the wood or charcoal is still burning (making it a direct heat) is known as “flame grilling” – you may even have bought burger-shaped patties done in this style (we all know they’re not real burgers!).

It seems strange, but the biggest risk at an average barbecue is cooking while the embers are too hot. This can lead to the meat burning on the outside while remaining undercooked in the middle.

Unless you are an experienced barbecuer, we recommend part-cooking any meat – and especially poultry – slowly before finishing off on the barbecue. You’ll still get that great smoky flavour without spending the next day off work!

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