Grilling Season

koreanbbqChef Grilling Tips

As promised grilling tips from our Executive Chef. Here are some added tips to help with a healthful grilling season.

Always make sure your grill is as hot as possible before beginning the cooking process. Heat can be reduced during actual grilling.

If using charcoal bricks add a few pieces of food safe hardwood for better flavor and if you soak the hardwood in water much less wood is needed.

If you are using propane place the wood chips in an old vegetable can and let it sit on the grates with the food for the same effect once it is smoking.

This may also be done in an oven but is more effective when the chips are wrapped in foil so that flames never begin.

Are you being exposed to carcinogens, substances that are increased during grilling?

Grilled meat acquires a distinctive roast aroma and flavor from a chemical process called the Maillard reaction.  This reaction only occurs when foods reach temperatures in excess of 310°degrees Fahrenheit.  Direct heat grilling can expose food to temperatures often in excess of 500 °degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking meats at high temperatures can lead to the formation of carcinogens such as HCA’s and PAH’s lets discuss what these letters stand for:

  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when proteins, sugars, and other properties, found in muscle tissue that reacts to high heat.
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed are created when protein fat and juices drip onto a grill and cause it to flame. The flames contain PAHs, which are then deposited back into the meat.

Here are several steps you can take to minimize your exposure:

  • Marinating proteins may reduce the formation of these compounds.
  • Cooking leaner meats (flank steak, sirloin eye round, tenderloin or extra lean ground beef), fish and poultry can help reduce fat drippings and reduce carcinogens.
  • Work the entire surface of the grill to reduce hot spots and higher flames.
  • Cleaning the grill before and after cooking can help too

Never use pan spray over open flames as long as you like your eyebrows!

A paper towel dipped in oil and then rubbed on the grates is a lot more effective and safe.

Avoid using lighter fluid or propane torch to start your fire when using charcoal or wood for better flavor and safety.

If you use a traditional charcoal grill, then a charcoal chimney is an excellent investment for starting charcoal and cuts the time in half or more. In this method, you can use paper stuffed in the bottom to start your fire.  I personally use a propane torch and the charcoal chimney to start my fires. Lighting from the bottom of the chimney and allowing good air circulation can help too.

Click this link to determine what kinds of meats need either direct or indirect cooking methods for success. Cooking Light: Grilling (video)

Websites to check out:

Here are some terms and explanations about Korean Grilling along with a helpful Korean BBQ marinade.

With Korean cooking, one term to know is Bulgogi which means “fire meat”. Known asgui (Korean-style grilled or roasted dish) made of thin, marinated slices of beef or pork, grilled on a barbecue or on a stovetop griddle. You can try it as a stir-fry on your stovetop.

Try using sirloin, rib eye or brisket choices when creating this kind of dish. Whole cloves of garlic, sliced onions and chopped green peppers are often grilled or fried with the meat. Wrapping meat in lettuce after cooking is a common way to eat Bulgogi.

Websites for more facts about Korean Cooking:

Korean BBQ Sauce

Yield: 1 Qt
(This is a lot of sauce, share with your friends or freeze the extra for later use.)


2 c       Water
2 c       Low-sodium soy sauce (Chinese)
2 c       Sugar granulated
6 ea    Garlic cloves, minced

2 T      Ginger, minced
4 T      Sesame seed oil
3 T      Black pepper
1 ea    White onion, grated


  1. Whisk all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves and pour marinade over meat of choice.

Note:  Marinate red meats overnight. Poultry needs only a few hours to marinate.  Seafood as well as precooked meats require less marinating time; they need about 1 hour only.  The BBQ flavors will develop on the proteins as they cook.

Looking for a lighter Korean option. Try a bowl:

Executive Chef: Dewey McMurray, Hospitality Services at Texas Tech University
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD 


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