When To Grill With The Lid Open or Closed
If you've ever had trouble getting your grilled food to come out just right, and trying to figure out the intricacies of whether or not you should have the lid up or down feels more like rocket surgery, then this is the blog for you.
It may seem like something that requires an advanced degree, but knowing when it's alright to keep the lid open or closed when cooking on the grill isn't that complicated. There are a few factors that will change the way you need to cook your food on the barbecue, and they will dictate whether or not to keep the grill lid up or down.
Cut of meat
If you are working with thin cuts of meat, then it may be best to leave the lid open. The heat doesn't build up and intensify the way it would if the lid was down. Thin pork chops, shrimp, and burgers tend to cook quickly. Leaving the grill lid up will slow the cooking process by reducing the temperature around the meat. For thicker cuts, you want to close the lid to keep the temperature high and even. Large steaks, chicken, and roasts have much more depth for the heat to penetrate, and closing the lid will give the heat time to sink in and cook the meat through in much the same way an oven does.
Type of grill
If you have a charcoal burning grill, then you want to keep the lid closed while you cook. The purpose of the charcoal is to emit heat that will circulate within and around the meat or vegetables that you cook. When you open the lid, this heat escapes and the meat takes longer to cook, often drying out thanks to the temperature fluctuations.
Preparation of the meat
No matter the type of grill, flare-ups can occur and alter the cooking of your meat. When fat onto the flames, they ignite or flare. These flare-ups add bursts of intense heat that will add that smoky flavor that you crave from grilling - if there are moderate amounts of them. Too much fat on your meat and these flare-ups occur too often overcooking your meat on the outside. Leaving the grill lid closed can reduce the amount of flare because there is less venting to ignite the fat drippings.
Like the Dalai Lama said, "Know the rules so you can break them effectively," and the same goes for grilling. If you know the general rules that your meat and your personal barbecue follow (because every grill has its own personality) then you can make an educated decision on whether or not the lid should stay up or down. It all depends on what you are grilling; you can always use your big gas grill for something low and slow and use your charcoal grill for searing some delicious shrimp, even if everyone else does it the other way around.
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