Chefs and the cooks who know their way around a kitchen (or a grill) know how meat feels when it's raw and when it's cooked. The only way to learn this is to basically poke the steaks at different stages of cooking. Raw meat is almost squishy, rare meat is quite soft, medium rare meat resists your poking a bit, and medium meat springs back. Once meat feels firm, it's at least well done, if not completely overdone. Gently press a finger onto your steaks—being careful not to burn yourself—to teach yourself the difference.

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.

Outdoor grilling is a great way to get together with family and friends and enjoy tasty food. However, the outdoor fun is only possible with a grill that is cleaned and maintained throughout the year. There are a few simple cleaning steps that you can do after every time you grill, along with deeper, semi-annual cleaning steps to keep your grill working its best for years to come. An outdoor grill that is kept clean and maintained will stay in good working order and will ensure that the food you cook on it always tastes great.
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