“You eat with your eyes”… you’ve heard it a million times. Here in this article, our focus isn’t on making things pretty, it’s on making things that taste good. However, we do have a soft spot when it comes to grill marks… a very soft spot, in fact. Grill marks are very manly and to laymen, very impressive. There is nothing girly about executing perfect grill marks, and it is a tell-tale sign to everyone around you that you have indeed dominated your grill.
The secret to perfect grill marks is in following an exact set of steps. If you follow this pattern, you too can have beautiful grill marks that will have your guests drooling at first sight.
Screaming Hot Grates
The first thing you need to know about perfect grill marks is that they come from the grates. Those perfect hash marked lines are created by the pent up heat in those grates of yours. So, before you throw your steaks on there, get them squeaky clean.
Once the grates are clean, turn on your grill and crank up the heat. Give your grates a good 15 minutes of medium to high heat to get them really, really hot.
Lay Your Meat at an Angle
Once you have your grates nice and hot, you can cut back on the heat and toss your steaks on the grill. For purely aesthetic reasons, lay your steaks at a slight angle to your grates. If your grates run up and down, don’t lay your steak or chicken straight up and down. While this has little impact on the actual taste of the finished product, it looks much nicer if your marks are at an angle on the meat.
Here’s an easy way to remember this: think of your grill as a clock, with the grates run from 12 to 6. Take your meat and lay it at an angle, so that the meat is laying from 2 to 8. This will give the steaks some nice visual interest and it also sets up the base grill marks that will make up the perfect diamond hash marks.
A Quarter Turn 90 Seconds Before Flipping
So your meat is near ready to turn and you haven’t fiddled with it up to this point. What you are now going to execute is a quarter turn of your meat. Turning it approximately 45 degrees will create a nice diamond pattern. This second set of grill marks you are creating by turning it will take a minute-and-a-half to two minutes to set in, so make sure to execute it just before you are ready to flip.
Using the clock analogy for this step, you are turning your meat from where it was previously (2 to 8) to 10 to 4. Turn the meat counterclockwise to this new position. This sets up those diamonds that are oh-so-impressive.
Does this all sounds really simple? Its because it is. Don’t let expensive steak houses fool you… there is no magic to perfect grill marks. Following this simple process allows you to consistently produce restaurant quality (looking) steaks from your home grill.