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Grilling Myths and the Truth

Marinade longer to tenderize the meat

We’ve all heard of it – the longer you marinate your meat, the better it penetrates the meat for flavour and the more tender your meat will be. It’s not entirely true, though. It may work for thin cuts of meat, but for usual cuts such as chicken breast or regular pork chops, marinades are just treatment for the surface. While salt can penetrate deep into the meat, other spices (like garlic and pepper) have huge molecules and can only penetrate up to 1/8 inch of the meat’s surface even when marinated overnight.

To prevent food from sticking, oil your grill grates first

This is probably one of the most common tips you’ll encounter when you first read about grilling. Honestly, it does work sometimes – but the chances that it won’t are bigger. Oiling the grates below smoking point may work (doing so above smoking point will definitely make your food stick), but the better option is to oil your food, not the grates.

The more you check, the longer your food will cook on the grill

Surely you’ve read a tip about this – they usually advise against checking on your food too much because it lengthens cooking time. Some even say that you add 15 minutes of cooking time to long cooks (like beef brisket) every time you peek. The truth is, no matter how many times you check your food, it doesn’t make much of an impact on the temperature, let alone the cooking time. According to Boston University’s Professor Greg Blonder, a food scientist and physicist, opening the lid drastically makes little or no impact on the temperatures of the meat’s surface and center, therefore not changing its cooking time.