Grill Smart; Hands-on Learning Great Grilling

– Stan Smith and Garth Ruff, OSU Extension

The next summer get-together is just around the corner.

Family, friends, or old classmates will be in town.

It’s the perfect time for inviting them over to grill out for dinner . . . or is it?

Few things can satisfy or impress family and friends like the aroma, tenderness, juiciness, and deep rich flavor of a steak or chop grilled to perfection. However, there may not be anything that strikes as much apprehension and fear into the hearts of a dinner host, as that of failing to correctly select, prepare and grill the perfect steak. If you’ve ever struggled with the angst of whether you can pull off that perfect meal and eating experience of dinner originating from your grill, then the Grill Smart class is designed for you.

Grill Smart is a program adapted by Henry County OSU Extension Educator, Garth Ruff from the Barbecue Science class that is taught annually on campus at The Ohio State University. The program, funded in part by grants from the Ohio Beef Council and the Ohio Poultry Association, Grill Smart takes participants all the way from meat selection to properly serving a perfectly grilled masterpiece.

Grill Smart, a hands-on opportunity to learn the art of perfect grilling!

More specifically, during the 3-and-a-half-hour Grill Smart course, participants learn to match the appropriate cooking methodology with a particular muscle or cut, gain an understanding of how or why different muscles are typically merchandised as steaks or roasts, and which cuts to select for various types of entertainment functions. Furthermore, those in attendance will become more familiar with terminology associated with the meat industry, and learn about potential food safety issues when preparing meat and other food products.

Participants will gain experience with various cuts of beef, turkey, and pork chops. Seasoning and the use of spices and oils will be explored along with cooking temperatures and determining doneness. Lighting the grill and properly cleaning it, all in the name of food safety and eating experience, will also be covered. In order acquire a general understanding of sensory evaluation, participants will get to sample the end product of each learning objective, a highlight of the program for many.

When it comes to meat, a satisfactory eating experience is directly related not only to the selection at the meat case, but also the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the cooked product. Regardless if you’re entertaining and feeding family, friends, or long lost classmates, your success on the grill will always set the tone for the entire event. Don’t let your anxiety over whether you’re doing it right ruin your evening.

Currently scheduled, OSU Extension in Licking County will be hosting Grill Smart on June 21 at 5 p.m. at their office in Newark, and OSU Extension in Morrow County is hosting a session in their Mt. Gilead office on July 24. Contact your local OSU Extension office and ask when they will be offering the opportunity for you to become Grill Smart . . . after all, no one ever invites friends over to microwave!