I am a big proponent of two main principles of cooking at home:
- Your food should be healthy
- Your food should be flavorful and delicious
Having a grill allows me to deliver on both. Following those two basic principles has never led me astray and has gotten me a plethora of compliments on some of my favorite staples. Cooking for other people and having them genuinely enjoy a meal provides a very deeply-satisfying sense of fulfillment while serving as a testament to your cooking skills.
Grilling is my hands-down favorite method of cooking because with some practice and a few simple tips, you can become a true master and craft delicious food very easily. No pots, no pans, just a well-oiled, charcoal-based grill and you can cook up a feast for a large crowd or a simple dinner for two.
I do prefer charcoal because I feel that it imparts much better deeper flavors than a gas grill. Yes, it’s not as efficient, but it’s certainly worth the extra effort.
If you’re still not convinced or are hesitating purchasing a grill, here are my top three reasons you absolutely need to own one:
- So you can cook food quickly
Because the heat given off can reach from 300-500 degrees Fahrenheit, your food cooks much faster than in any other cooking method – what does that mean? That means you can sear the outside quickly, which will create a barrier for the moisture to stay in and prevent your food from drying up – this is true for anything, meat, veggies, fish. This means juicy deliciousness.
An important thing to keep in mind here – don’t eat the charred parts. I know, those are the best bits of a perfectly-grilled steak for example, but numerous studies have found that these charred parts actually contain carcinogens (like PAH and HCA) that are of course, not good for you. This happens as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs at the high cooking temperature of over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be mitigated my some key ingredients in your marinade like garlic, oils high in Vitamin E, honey, and rosemary.
2. So you can cook flavorful food easily
Speaking of marinade, it is key in this cooking method. Proper marination times and techniques are essential for grilling success and are quite easy to achieve. Every marinade should have three basic components:
- An oil – I tend to use olive oil (having worked in the olive oil industry) My favorite one to use is a garlic-flavored one since it adds an extra layer of flavor to anything that I grill. Oil will add flavor and serve as a binding agent for any herbs and spices you add to the marinade. It will also prevent your food from sticking to the grill.
- An acid – this can be vinegar, lime or lemon juice, and/or wine. Acid will tenderize proteins like meat and fish by breaking down the fibers, thus resulting in juicier, more tender dishes.
- Herbs and spices – this is your main flavor component so choose wisely. Don’t overdo it either – basic salt and pepper with one to three different spices or herbs is all you need to create a simple flavor profile. Make sure you pair wisely – the herbs and spices should enhance the natural flavors of whatever you’re cooking.
3. So you can entertain like a pro
Grilling, believe it or not, is a fun social activity. I tend to think that this stems from our primal times when we used to gather around a fire to eat and/or celebrate special occasions. It brings people together and creates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that all the smells wafting around really wet everyone’s appetite.
There is absolutely no excuse for you not to own a simple charcoal grill. They are inexpensive and very easy to maintain. The only exception would be if you live in an apartment where you’re not allowed to have one. In that case, you should definitely invest in a grill pan because trust me, it will make a tremendous difference in your cooking.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes using a grill pan – Easy Shrimp Fajitas
Want me to share some of my favorite staple marinades?
Let me know in the comments!