If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue or a family gathering, you’ll probably be cooking more than one type of meat at a time. If you’re new to the world of pellet grilling, you may be wondering how to cook different types of meat without under- or over-cooking some pieces.
Here’s what you need to know about cooking multiple pieces of meat on your pellet grill:
- Prepare for Cooking
- Strategically Place Your Meats on the Grill
- Temperature Control is Key
- Monitor Food Temperatures
- Two Final Tips
Prepare for Cooking
Before you can begin focusing on your meats directly, you need to do a little prep work. Two tips before starting are:
- Clean off your grill and make sure that it’s primed and ready for your meats.
- Place all of your ingredients on separate plates and platters to ensure that there’s no cross contamination occurring.
Now, you’re ready for a few additional tips.
Strategically Place Your Meats on the Grill
You have a few meats that you want to cook, and if you have more than two types of meat, be sure to strategically place them on the grill. Make a chart for placement so that you allow:
- Ample room for meats
- Easy identification of which meats need to be removed fast to avoid charring
You also want to be sure that your meats don’t touch. One or two inches between meats is ideal.
After you’ve placed your meats properly, you need to focus on temperature control.
Temperature Control is Key
When you're cooking multiple pieces of meat at the same time, it's important to keep your grill's temperature in mind. Some meats need to be cooked low and slow . Others need to be cooked fast and hot.
If you're cooking a smaller piece of meat, like a steak, you'll need to keep the grill's temperature relatively high. This helps sear the meat and locks in the juices. When you're cooking larger pieces of meat, like a pork butt or a brisket, you'll need to keep the temperature at a lower setting. This will give you a longer cooking time and will allow the meat to cook more evenly.
Controlling and maintaining the right temperature inside of the grill will help you successfully cook each piece to just the right temperature.
Your pellet grill likely has a temperature gauge built-in, but for best results, use a temperature probe. If you’re cooking more than one piece of meat, you may want to have a few probes:
- One for measuring the internal temperature of the grill
- At least one more for measuring the internal temperature of the meat
Why? Grilling experts rely heavily on precision temperatures, and two probes is the best way to ensure accuracy.
Maintaining the right temperature is crucial because this will help you better time your cook. If you’re cooking different types of meat and you’re hoping to have most pieces done around the same time, you’ll need to estimate your cooking times. In order to do that, you’ll need to make sure that your grill maintains the same temperature throughout the cook.
Monitor Food Temperatures
You know the importance of measuring and maintaining your grill’s temperature, but it’s also important (arguably most important) to make sure that you’re monitoring food temperatures.
Ultimately, the internal temperature of the meat will determine when it’s done – not the clock. Yes, you can estimate when a piece of meat may be done based on the grill’s temperature, but times can still vary based on the thickness of the meat and other environmental factors.
Your digital thermometer will be your best friend here. It will help you know when each piece of meat is done, so you don’t have to worry about under- or over-cooking your food.
If you’re grilling for multiple people and they like meat to be cooked rare, medium-rare or well-done, thermometers are going to be one of your best investments. Thermometers allow you to remove meats at just the right time so that they retain their juices and flavor.
Two Final Tips
Two finals tips to help make cooking multiple meats at once a success are:
- Clean off utensils often or use multiple utensils to preserve the flavor or each meat
- Be sure to baste clean marinades on to your meats – keep re-basting as necessary