There's something extremely satisfying about cooking with fire.
After all, it's in our DNA. Anthropologists think our early ancestors started cooking over an open flame nearly 2 million years ago and for most of human history, it's been the primary way to prepare food.
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In the “Descent of Man,” Charles Darwin regards language to be the most important step in human development, with the mastery of a fire a close second: “Man in the rudest state in which he now exists is the most dominant animal that has ever appeared on this earth. … He has discovered the art of making fire, by which hard and stringy roots can be rendered digestible, and poisonous roots or herbs innocuous. This discovery of fire, probably the greatest ever made by man, excepting language, dates from before the dawn of history.”
If cavemen could master cooking with fire, so can you, especially with help from a master griller. James Nunez, the owner of Texas Cattle and Beef Co. at 1101 W. Third St., shares these tips.
1.) PREHEAT YOUR GRILL to at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but 400 to 450 degrees is best.
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2.) CLEAN YOUR GRILL with a wire brush to get rust and other debris off your cooking surface.
3.) USE AN OIL on your food or you can even brush your cooking grate.
4.) USE CAST IRON ware on your grill for foods like vegetables that can sauté while your meats get a sear.
5.) LEAVE YOUR MEATS on long enough to cook one full side. It will be less likely to stick use a spatula to loosen it gently, then flip just once and repeat.
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6.) ALWAYS COOK CHICKEN alone by itself and well done.
7.) A MARINADE OR DRY RUB is great for keeping your meats from absorbing harmful carcinogenic compounds like HCAs Heterocyclic amines.
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8.) USE A HIGH-QUALITY food thermometer.
9.) DON'T ALLOW FLARE-UPS. The burning grease produces carcinogenic hydrocarbons.
10.) AFTER YOUR MEATS have cooked, remove them from the grill and let them rest a few minutes.