The key to good grilling is in the heat, a Duncansville meat market manager said.
And, with the summer quickly approaching, the temperature is about to rise, making it the ideal time for tying on your "Kiss the Grill Master" apron and taking up a barbecue spatula that reflects the glint of glee in your eye.
Of course, Holland Brothers Meats Manager Brock Holland was referring to the temperature one should raise their grill to before slapping down a few T-bones, hamburger patties or sausages this picnic season.
"I prefer searing, yeah. Get the grill good and hot - 400 degrees," he said. "It locks in the flavor, the juices, when you sear on both sides."
That goes for mostly steaks, but it works for "pretty much anything," he said.
Not fussing with the steaks while they're grilling is great advice, he said. "If you know your grill, you should know what to expect," he said.
Recommended internal temperatures for meats
* Ground beef hamburgers, 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking ground beef until the pink is gone is not always an indicator of thorough cooking as it can still be pink inside and cooked to a safe temperature. Color is not always a true indicator.
* Ground and whole poultry, 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Chops, steaks and roasts from beef, veal or lamb, 145 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare, 160 degrees Fahrenheit for medium and 170 degrees Fahrenheit for well done.
* Pork chops and roast, 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Fin fish, 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Shrimp, lobster and crabs, cook until the flesh is pearly and opaque.
Source: Giant Food Stores and Martin's Food Markets
Holland likes to let the meat's flavor be the main attraction.
"And as far as a marinade goes, I like to keep it simple with marinade. Sometimes a little zesty Italian dressing, a little salt and pepper. Keep it simple."
He personally likes "the zesty Italian dressing because it's got a little bit of a zip to it," he said. "I like doing that with my chicken and some of my steaks too, but mainly a little salt and pepper."
The grill isn't just for meat, said a press release from Giant Food Stores and Martin's Food Markets.
"The heat of the grill caramelizes the natural sugars, resulting in loads of flavor without the need for added sugar, salt or fat," it said.
The stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, with headquarters in Carlisle, will offer produce from nearby farms, the release said.
Giant Food Stores and Martin's Food Markets has served up a side of food preparation safety tips this season to go with your grilling menu.
* Rinse fresh fruit and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Use a separate cutting board for fresh produce to avoid cross-contamination.
* Keep marinating meat in the refrigerator. Set aside some marinade before placing any raw meat, poultry or seafood in it, if you intend to use it as a sauce later. The sauce used to marinate a protein should be discarded and not reused.
* Food partially cooked in the microwave before grilling should be grilled immediately. Insert a meat thermometer halfway into the thickest part of the meat to check if it has reached a hot enough temperature to avoid harmful bacteria such as E. coli. The thermometer should take about 15 to 20 seconds to give a reading.
* Wash your hands, cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water after working with raw proteins such as meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. Use clean plates and utensils to serve food.
* Refrigerate leftovers within two hours after cooking. Refrigerators should be set to maintain a product temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. When the temperature outside reaches above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave food out more than hour. When in doubt, throw it out. Reheat leftovers until steaming.
"It's just the same as cooking, but sometimes grilling can be deceiving, said John MacDonald, director of marketing and communications for the Giant and Martin stores. "It's about the temperature that the meat gets to and not really about how you perceive the color of doneness. So we always emphasize to our customers and just as a reminder to them as grilling season comes in that they should take the temperature of the meat so that they know that it's done and it's safe to eat."
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.