What The Fork Are You Doing???

Thermometer ForkImage by _ES via Flickr

All too often I talk to people who seem misguided about grilling. Apparently they never read the 10 Rules of Grilling. For example, I know a guy who insists on marinating all of his steaks in Italian dressing. Maybe this is okay for a cheap cut of meat but it’s a huge “maybe”. Even worse than that is when I suggested trying a simple dry rub, he scoffed.

Another thing that far too many people are misguided about are grilling utensils. Believe it or not my favorite tool is a $2 pair of tongs I got from Wal-mart. I like them so much that I bought another pair just in case. However there is one tool I despise. It’s the one grilling utensil that I do own but never plan to use. The monstrosity that we call the carving fork.

I’m sure the carving fork enthusiasts are probably screaming at their monitors wondering why I would discourage the use of a standard in American cooking. To appease them, I will agree that if you are cooking a huge piece of meat that will need to be carved, the fork is probably a necessity. However for turning your meats, the fork is pointless. Unless you find yourself needing to carve your meat, harpoon a shark or shank a fan of the rival team just leave that thing at home.

Poking your steaks, brats, burgers, dogs or whatever you are grilling can be compared to stabbing your leg. Before you go and actually stab yourself, let me explain. Jabbing a fork into a warm piece of meat will only do one thing, let out the juices. Those juices are a majority of the flavor and they were meant to stay in there. The problem is that when you get juices hot they want to run. Giving them a exit point only facilitates your eventual grilling misery. Oh, and don’t blame me when you undoubtedly hear those four awful words, “It’s kind of dry.” If you find yourself asking how can you avoid the shame, well it’s rather simple. Stop stabbing your meat before it’s time to eat!

Will this simple fix cure all your problems? Probably not, but you can bet it won’t hurt. If your temptation to resist change is too great, just ask yourself, “What the fork am I doing?” In all seriousness though consider leaving that carving fork at home. I’m guessing you can use something else and you’ll be happier that you did.