There’s no better way to celebrate summer than by firing up the grill for fresh garden veggies paired with favorite meats. Take it one step further with the addition of fresh herbs, and your foods are sure to be even more delicious and flavorful. Another great thing about grilling is that you don’t have to heat up the house, and it also makes clean-up a breeze.
There are a number of ways to use herbs when grilling. You can add them to marinades or place them inside foil packets. You can soak whole bunches of herbs in water for a few minutes, and then place them over the ashen coals, which will give a smoky flavor to foods. Another option is to place a bunch of fresh herbs directly on the grill’s grate, and then place your meat and/or vegetables directly on top of the herbs. Cooking foods, even simple burgers or sliced potatoes, directly over herbs allows the flavor from the herbs to rise and infuse the meat and veggies for an unforgettable meal.
The best way to make sure meats are cooked through is to use an instant-read thermometer. The thermometer should be inserted through the side of the meat, with the tip in the center, away from any bone or fat. Remove the meat from the grill when the thermometer registers an internal temperature 5 degrees lower than the desired doneness, as the temperature of the meat will continue to increase during the resting period, which should be no less than three to five minutes.
Safe minimum internal temperatures for a variety of meats, according to recommendations from the USDA (1.usa.gov/1vzvrV4), are as follows:
• Beef, pork, veal and lamb (steaks, chops, roasts): 145 F.
• Ground meats: 160 F.
• All poultry (whole birds, breasts, thighs, legs, wings, and also ground poultry): 165 F.
• Fish: 145 F.
Editor’s Note: An internal temperature of 145 F for steaks is medium doneness, while 150 F is medium-well. Many people prefer their steaks less done, and therefore tend to cook them between 125 F for rare and 135 F for medium-rare, although the USDA does not recommend it.