Lean meat, in particular, stays lean because fat drips away as it cooks. By trimming any visible fat from the meat before cooking, you can reduce total fat per serving by almost 50%.
Many recipes call for rubs and marinades to add low-fat flavor to grilled foods. Rubs are blends of dried herbs and spices worked into the surface of the meat or seafood. A rub should sit for at least 30 minutes on delicate entrees like fish or boneless chicken breasts, and from 3 hours to overnight for roasts and other large cuts of meat.
Marinades—made with herbs, spices, oil and an acidic liquid such as vinegar or citrus juice—can tenderize and add moisture as well as flavor when foods are soaked in them. The oil can also prevent the meat from sticking to the grill as it cooks.
Most marinades call for a fair amount of oil; however, only 1-2 tablespoons are necessary to help enhance the flavor of the meat. When using 1-2 tablespoons of oil, coat the cool grill top with nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Follow these additional tips for preparing flavorful—and healthy—grilled foods:
- Marinate meats in the refrigerator and discard the liquid after use. If you need marinade for basting, reserve some of the liquid before soaking the meat.
- When basting meat with a brush, be sure to baste only cooked, not raw, meat surfaces. Don't allow cooked food to come in contact with plates and utensils that held raw meat.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to check that meat is cooked thoroughly and to avoid overcooking or charring food.
- Use a drip pan to avoid flare-ups caused by fat dripping onto the heat source.